South Bay, home to some of the county’s poorest and most diverse neighborhoods, hardly sounded like prime pickings to the pioneers of the local craft beer boom. By the end of 2015, just two of 114 area breweries and brewpubs had opened in the region.
Brewers and distributors, it seems, just assumed that the residents preferred their beer to be in non-elite cans and bottles instead of growlers — Bud Light, Corona, Dos Equis, that kind of thing.
But things are changing as brewers have flocked to Chula Vista, National City and Imperial Beach. It’s a “mini craft beer boom,” writes VOSD contributor Jonah Valdez, who explores the suddenly-suds situation in a new story.
Many of the business owners behind the new openings resent the assumptions that have held craft beer back in the South Bay.
“The biggest hurdle has been the perception that the South Bay either didn’t want [craft beer], wasn’t ready for it, or didn’t have the market for it,” Eddie Trejo, co-owner of Machete Beer House in National City told Valez. “All these misguided perceptions: It’s low-income; there is mostly Mexicans and Filipinos; they don’t want [craft beer].”
• No, New York Times, we don’t call it “the Pacific Beach,” and it sounds weird to describe Miramar as a “neighborhood.” Other than that, thanks for the shout-out from the Frugal Traveler about our sights and suds: In addition to great beer, he writes, we’re also home to “great nightlife, scenic cliffside hikes, and boardwalks and beaches as welcoming as you will find anywhere in the country.” (Where are the unwelcoming beaches and boardwalks? Spill, NYT!)
The writer heard Trump fans chat it up at a local bar, listened to his cousin complain about “the aggressive men who don’t respect women” in the Gaslamp Quarter, and visited North Park where “the glut of beer and breweries is almost overwhelming.” (Almost?) He also met an ancient parrot named Dry Rot in Pacific Beach and saw a 1970s-era mural in Chicano Park with modern relevance: “Varrio si, yonkes no!” (Neighborhood yes, junkyards no!)
Picture It: Socceravaganza!
Hey look, we have an artist’s renderings (you know, those drawings where the sky always looks magnificent) of the proposed Soccer City project in Mission Valley. This time, the wind is attractively blowing clouds around.
• The latest episode of Kept Faith, the local sports podcast that’s part of the VOSD podcast network, features a chat with the Union-Tribune’s Abby Hamblin about the Padres, the World Baseball Classic in our fair city and the NCAA Tournament.
Also: A look back at 1994’s “Angels in the Outfield,” which did not (thankfully) include Gary Coleman portraying the kid manager of the Padres. That was a different movie, one on TV back in 1979.
Fun Fact: According to the book “100 Things Padres Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die,” the Padres hired sportscaster Jerry “You Can Hang a Star on That One, Baby!” Coleman the day after “The Kid from Left Field” aired in 1979. One wit joked that then-Padres owner Ray Kroc had been misunderstood when he demanded that Gary Coleman be hired.
Dems Won’t Boot Union Leader
Powerful local union leader Mickey Kasparian, who’s facing widespread criticism amid a series of lawsuits alleging workplace and sexual misconduct, will remain on the local Democratic Party’s Central Committee. According to Times of San Diego, the committee’s 11-member executive board couldn’t reach the two-thirds vote needed to remove him.
“Last month, close to four dozen Democrats and activists sent a letter to the local and state Democratic Party and two labor groups calling for an investigation of Kasparian and having him step aside in the interim,” Times of S.D. reports.
We’ve examined the allegations against Kasparian, an important and influential power player in local Democratic politics.
Politics Roundup: No Pot to Buy?
The County Board of Supervisors will vote today on whether to ban the commercial farming and sale of marijuana in unincorporated areas, a huge if not especially well-populated swath of the county. Unincorporated areas include towns like Ramona, Bonsall, Fallbrook, Lakeside and many others. About 492,000 of the county’s 3.2 million people live in these areas, according to 2013 numbers.
• Federal investigators are trying to figure out where $400,000 in campaign funds went during Democrat Doug Applegate’s nearly successful bid to topple Rep. Darrell Issa in North County. (U-T)
• State Sen. Pat Bates is perhaps the most obscure local legislator, no surprise considering she mostly represents a chunk of Orange County and only a sliver of our North County. But now she has a larger profile: She’s been elected as the new leader of the state Senate’s Republican members — all 13 of them. The Dems have 27. (Sacramento Bee)
Culture Report: Chronicling the Re-Rise of Meth
San Diego, the onetime meth capital of the nation, still has a major meth problem. Now, a new play tries to bring home the message that the drug isn’t just a problem for other folks. “We have this perception that it only affected certain types of people and it kind of stayed in the East County, but now it really is everywhere and used by all kinds of people,” the play’s creator tells our arts editor Kinsee Morlan in this week’s VOSD Culture Report.
“She said the interviews taught her that younger people who missed the more fervent anti-meth campaigns of past decades don’t think the drug is as gross and disgusting as older people do,” Morlan writes. “She also learned that a play directed at current meth users would be pointless — everyone she interviewed told her she had to target it toward kids who’d yet to even touch the drug.”
Also in the Culture Report: Inside binational lives, an end of an era for Space 4 Art (although it’s working on its next act), sonic experimentation and San Diego’s Jewish history. Plus: The San Diego Central Library allowed patrons to “check out” humans for 15-minute chats. I didn’t have a chance to borrow one and forget to bring it back for 35 years.
• After much hullabaloo, the Don Diego clock tower at the Del Mar Fairgrounds is saved! (NBC 7)
Quick News Hits: Indigestion Alert
• Three City Council members are going to look into how the city appears to be ignoring a law mandating extreme openness — “full and complete disclosure of the name and identity of any and all persons involved … and the precise nature” — regarding anyone who does business with San Diego. inewsource reports that “instead, the city today rarely knows who is behind billions of dollars of land sales, purchases, leases, franchise rights and contracts.”
• A new report says San Diego is the second-worst rental market in the nation, behind only Miami. “Analysts factored in San Diego’s monthly apartment rent ($1,748), vacancy rate (3.1 percent), annual rent increase (4.8 percent) and the portion of income spent on rent (30 percent),” the U-T reports.
• An L.A. hot dog stand has named a chili cheese dog after the Chargers. Beware, Angelenos: If it’s anything like the team, it’ll give you a nasty case of heartburn long after it’s gone.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.