I feel like I'm playing an arcade video game - and losing. Every time I read about a new brewery, I remember that I haven't tried beers from all the breweries that opened last year. I've reached the point where I realize that the onslaught of new breweries is moving too fast and I am not able to keep them all straight. According to West Coaster magazine, in San Diego there are forty-eight existing breweries and eighteen in the planning stage. Over the past week alone The San Diego Union, has run three separate articles on new brewers (here, here and here, note there is duplication in the articles). I am waiting for the "Game Over" sign to flash.
Some of the new brewery names sound similar - Amplified and Automatic; Rip Current, Rough Draft and Wet 'N Reckless - making distinction difficult without a beer tasting. Throw in the expansion of existing breweries, like Coronado Brewing Company, New English and Green Flash, and all the new craft beer bars and restaurants, and tracking the local craft beer scene gets more complex.
There a few resources I use to follow all the local beer activity, and these include West Coaster magazine, writer Brandon Hernandez and San Diego Beer Blog. West Coaster magazine, which covers San Diego's craft beer industry, has a good blog, and last week put out a current, definitive list of all the local brewers. Brandon Hernandez is a local food reporter who writes for several local publications, including West Coaster, and he seems to focus on craft beer. (He doesn't pull punches on new brewers he thinks stink.) I follow Brandon on Twitter and he links to all his articles. San Diego Beer Blog has slowed down lately, but is still worth checking out. (The author of San Diego Beer Blog also writes for West Coaster.)
Societe Brewing, which is scheduled to open its new Kearney Mesa brewery in May, is one new brewery I am watching closely. Its founders are former brewers at Russian River and The Bruery. I believe sour beers will be Societe's focus, which alone sets it apart from so many of the other new breweries. It already has a cult following, even if it's a cult of one.
I wrote a post last January about too many brewers in San Diego. I said then that there was still room for growth. I still believe this, as too many restaurants still don't carry a wide selection of local beers. The new brewers are facing greater competition, which should, hopefully, lead to better beers. The new brewers need to make good beer, and if they do, there will be a market for their beer.