By Karen Billing
BeerNerdz is bringing San Diego Beer Week festivities to Carmel Valley. On Friday, Nov. 11, BeerNerdz and the Pacific Athletic Club will host a craft beer tasting challenge, serving up sips of the best brews San Diego has to offer.
The event begins at 5:30 p.m.
“I thought it would be a perfect fit, most people live within a few miles of the PAC and this is way to experience San Diego Beer Week without having to travel far,” said BeerNerdz founder Eric Barajas, who has been a trainer at PAC for 10 years.
BeerNerdz and SD Beer Week (Nov. 4-13) capitalize on the burgeoning brew business in San Diego — there are currently 37 craft breweries in the county and more keep popping up.
“We are definitely are a mecca,” Barajas said. “San Diego is becoming what Napa is to wine.”
Its about more than just the quantity of San Diego craft beer brewers, it’s also the high quality. San Diego beers have won more awards than any other region at the Great American Beer Fest, a national competition. This year Pizza Port Ocean Beach and brewer Yiga Miyashiro won the small brewpub and small brewpub brewer of the year, and the awards for large brewpub and brewer of the year went to Pizza Port Carlsbad.
The Nov. 11 event will be held in BeerNerdz style — tasters will be given a scorecard with tasting notes, alcohol percentage, brewery and beer names. The goal is to match the beer descriptions such as “Pours an amber color. Big malty aroma with a slight hop smell” with what’s being tasted. Some of the breweries represented will be Ballast Point, The Beer Company, Hess, Green Flash Beer Company and Port Brewing Company. Pale ales, India pale ales (IPAs), reds and cream ales will be served by keg.
There will also be bites to eat and each attendee will leave with a souvenir glass.
Barajas’ BeerNerdz company has been around for just a few short months and is a branch of his FoodNerdz restaurant tours.
Barajas came up with the idea for the food tour after a trip last year to Seattle to see the Chargers play — he had designed a foodie’s dream itinerary for himself and his family. Experiencing all the great tastes of the city, Barajas thought there was no reason why he couldn’t start a similar adventure in San Diego and FoodNerdz tour was born. His love of beer, especially IPAs, and living in such a great craft brew town helped originate the BeerNerdz side that has really taken off.
“I haven’t even gotten to the food part yet,” Barajas admits.
With BeerNerdz tours and tastings, he wanted to create something that would be fun and challenging for a beer nerd like himself, but also something that his wife (not the biggest beer fan) would enjoy.
“A lot of women attend now shockingly, ” Barajas said. “They had no idea that beer could be like this, they’re starting to give it a try.”
At the blind tastings, Barajas also has people write down what their favorite stations were—at the end of the day they may figure out that all this time they were strictly pale ale patrons when stout wasn’t as intimidating as they thought.
BeerNerdz has hosted several tasting challenges at The Beer Company’s private downtown loft and has organized brewery tours—tasters travel by trolley to three local breweries. He hopes to conquer the corporate and tourist markets, showing visitors the beer scene that is putting San Diego on the brew master map.
“In the San Diego beer scene, everybody wants to help each other out, that’s what has made it flourish,” Barajas said.
To sign up for the tasting challenge, contact Pacific Athletic Club at (858) 369-3200 and press 1 for the membership department. For more on BeerNerdz, visit beernerdz.com. Check out more San Diego Beer Week events at sdbw.org.