party thorn brewing

Party On: Thorn Private Events

‘Tis the season of holiday office parties, family gatherings, and holiday shenanigans. Whether you are tasked with planning your office’s party or just interested in a laid-back spot to host your next event, we’ve got you covered. We recently opened up a beautiful mezzanine at our Barrio Logan location that is available for parties and gatherings but we also have the back room at Thorn North Park available for both large and small parties. Here’s a little more info on each spot, but don’t hesitate to reach out to us at for more information on each location.

Thorn Barrio Logan Mezzanine

Thorn Brewing’s event space in Barrio Logan was just opened up at the end of October and dates are already filling fast. This mezzanine space overlooks the whole brewery, highlighting the 30-barrel brew system allowing guests to get an insider’s view of a working brewery. With a bar and seating for any large group, this room is ideal for holiday gatherings, birthday parties, weddings, receptions and more. Hosting your event at a brewery creates a relaxed environment for your guests, allowing for maximum enjoyment. This space holds anywhere from 60-80 people seated and more with some people standing. All the tables and bars are cocktail height so guests can easily mingle between tables and won’t feel confined to one seat.

There are four taps upstairs that will be stocked with your favorite beers and for private parties, we can serve both our beer and wine which we source from local vineyards and offer a white and a red option. You are allowed to bring in your own food for your event or if you need suggestions on vendors or food trucks, we’ve got you covered.

If your party is expected to be larger than the upstairs mezzanine, there are buy-out options for the whole brewery so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.


Thorn North Park Back Room

Thorn North Park’s back room has been the hot spot for parties both casual and formal over the last six years. The room has an open-air ceiling and A/V capabilities with two TVs and a projector. It seats up to 60 people but has room for more with some standing for a total of 75-85. There’s a 30 person minimum to reserve the back room at Thorn Street but if you are planning a smaller gathering, we can always reserve a couple of tables for your group to get started out at and then take it from there.

Like Thorn Barrio Logan, we can serve wine as well as beer for private parties and also, like the Barrio Logan facility, you get to see the whole brewhouse from the main room. The seven-barrel system is a lot smaller than the production facility but allows you to be up close and personal with tanks where Thorn beer was first brewed. We have nine beers on tap in the back room for private parties, but your guests are welcome to head downstairs to grab beers if one of the 16 beers we have on tap down there sparks their interest.

For information on either space, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Cheers!

SDBW: It’s the Most Wonderful Week of the Year!

San Diego Beer week is almost here and that means, fun events, delicious food, good friends and of course, craft beer! Here at Thorn Brewing, not only do we have a full schedule of events at our two tasting rooms, but we also are participating in tons of exciting beer-centric events throughout San Diego. Here’s what we have coming up between 11/2 and 11/11 so get out your calendar and get some of our rad events on your schedule for SDBW 2018!

North Park Tasting Room Events

Nomad Donuts & Beer Pairing

Sat Nov 03rd | 12:30-2pm
(Click here for tickets)*

We have done pairings with Nomad Donuts for the last four years and every time they up their game. This time around, we are doing a 3×3 pairing with three of their artisan donuts with three of our craft beers for $18. The pairing starts at 12:30 and goes in order so make sure to get here at the start of the event. This one always sells out so make sure and get your tickets ASAP if you want to take part in this sweet beer week event!

Venissimo Cheese & Beer Pairing

Tue Nov 06th | 6pm
(Click here for tickets)*

It wouldn’t be San Diego Beer Week without a cheese and beer pairing with our good friends at Venissimo Cheese! Cheese and beer together are one of life’s greatest pleasures. Taste the marvelous medley that these two bring out in each other while getting a chance to talk to the experts. Rob Graff, cheese expert from Venissimo, and Eric O’Connor, Thorn’s brewmaster, will be taking guests through this delectable journey with five kinds of gourmet cheese paired with five of our beers.

Learn about the different styles of cheese, why the specific beers and cheeses pair well together as well as craft beer and the brewing process. It’s the perfect way to spend a Tuesday night!

$35 for five cheese courses and five 8-oz beers

Beer Trivia

Come and test your beer knowledge on Wednesday, November 7th at 7 pm. You don’t have to be a beer expert to play, however, as there are questions in all categories, just all pertaining to the greatest elixir, beer!

Wed Nov 07th | 7pm

IPA Lounge

Fri Nov 09th | 6pm

IPAs have helped put San Diego on the craft beer map and to honor their kick-ass hoppiness we are stocking our back bar with nine IPAs from brand new IPAs to fan-favorites. Stop by Friday, November 9th at 6 pm at Thorn North Park and imbibe in:

  • Relay IPA
  • Mystic Gnome IPA
  • Sticky Henderson IPA
  • Dank Rizzo IPA
  • Hopster Pot Hazy IPA
  • Plus surprise IPAs!

No tickets necessary, just come in and enjoy the IPA Lounge!

Barrio Logan Tasting Room Events

Service Pig IPA Can Release

Fri Nov 3rd | 2 pm

We are kicking off San Diego Beer Week with a new limited release can! Stop by the Barrio Logan tasting room on Friday, November 2nd, for a pint and a six-pack of this brand new IPA. This beer is a throwback to the classic West Coast IPA inspired by an old Temecula brewery’s IPA that helped put San Diego on the craft beer map. This recipe was originally brewed in collaboration with Toronado SD for their 10th anniversary and this can is a nod to their inclusivity of all service animals, no matter what kind. This 6.4% IPA is bursting with notes of tangerine, grapefruit, Meyer lemon, summer melon, and pine, with a solid malt backbone to balance it all out.

Releases at Thorn Barrio Logan on Friday, 11/2 at 2 pm and then at Thorn North Park on Saturday, 11/3 at 2 pm after the Nomad Donuts & Beer Pairing event.

Camino De La Cerveza

Sat Nov 03rd | 4pm at Thorn
If you haven’t been to all of the awesome breweries in Barrio Logan yet, this is your chance! On Saturday, November 3rd, starting at 4 pm take a stroll around historic Barrio Logan having a beer at each brewery location! Meet new friends or bring a slew of your own, it’s going to be a fun evening no matter what! Here’s how it’s all going to go down…

4 pm – Meet at Thorn Brewing (1745 National Ave) to meet up with other brewery crawlers and hosts.
4:45 – Iron Fist Brewing San Diego (1985 National Ave)
5:30 – Attitude Brewing Company (1985 National Ave too)
6:15 – Altabrewingsd (1983 Julian Ave)
7:00 – Border X Brewing (2181 Logan Ave)

Don’t worry if you can’t make it for the beginning, just catch up with us along the way at the designated times!

The Pioneer BBQ & Beer

Sun Nov 04th | 1-4pm
(Click here for tickets)*

We are super excited to for this San Diego Beer Week event…BBQ and Beer with Pioneer Barbecue! Chef Hanis Cavin, owner/operator of the famed Carnitas’ Snack Shack(s) is behind this smokin’ BBQ spot and we are excited to kick off beer week at Thorn Barrio Logan with a collaboration with them. His food is amazing and the portions are awesome, so definitely make this one of your beer week events. Here are the details:

Sunday, 11/4, 1-4 pm at Thorn Barrio Logan

Tickets – $22 (plus ticketing fees) for a large plate of the following PLUS a Thorn beer of your choice. Suggested pairings will be available on the day of the event…

Dry rubbed smoked ribs
Smoked spicy pork cheddar sausage
Beer brined and smoked chicken wings

Sauces: St. Louis BBQ, Carolina BBQ, Ivan’s spicy BBQ

Mac n cheese – bacon topped
Smoked pork belly baked beans

Plates will be a combo of all!

Fede & Shannon Guest Bartending from Hoppy Beer Hoppy Life

Mon Nov 05th | 5-11pm

Stop by the brewery on our Industry Night and chat it up with our guest bartenders, Fede and Shannon from Hoppy Beer Hoppy Life!

Barrel-Aged Beer Night

Wed Nov 07th | 2-10pm

Join us on Wednesday, November 7th at Thorn Barrio Logan, for a special San Diego Beer Week edition of our Barrel-Aged Beer Night! We will be pouring:

  • Barrel Inception (Dark Tsar infused with coffee)
  • BA Abbey Roof Belgian Ale
  • BA Dark Tsar Russian Imperial Stout
  • BA Dark Tsar Russian Imperial Stout Uncut

Enjoy specials on barrel-aged bottles and glasses too!

Sour Beer Night and I Bless The Grains Beer Release

Fri Nov 09th | 2-10pm

Whether you love sour beers already or have never tasted one before, this event is for you! We have a full list of Thorn sours that will excite your taste buds with their delightful tartness and effervescence.

We are also releasing I Bless The Grains, a Sour Brut IPA hopped with all South African hops in collaboration with Thr3e Punk Ales Brewing Co. This 6.66% beer is pale yellow in color with a thin white head, effervescent with hints of pineapple, Meyer lemon, tangerine, guava, grapefruit, pear, and subtle grassiness. You can expect a nice puckering tartness with a clean, dry finish laced with citrus and tropical fruit flavors from the hops. The hops that were used are African Queen, Southern Passion, and Experimental XJA/436.

Beer list:
To Blave Hoppy Sour Pale Ale
I Bless the Grains Sour Brut
Rustic Ralph Peach – Brett Saison aged in chardonnay barrels
Rustic Ralph Blackberry – Brett Saison aged in chardonnay barrels
Cherry Sour
Plum Sour

All the Hops

Sat Nov 10th | 12-11pm
Why only taste some of the hops when you can have all the hops? All day, on November 10th at Thorn Barrio Logan, we will be serving all our hoppiest beers for your bitter-palate-pleasure. Stop by for a pint or taste your way through them all!
10 IPAs on tap including:

  • Relay IPA
  • Wedding Bliss Pale Ale
  • Mystic Gnome IPA
  • Hopster Pot Hazy IPA
  • Menace IIPA
  • Rock the Pale Ale

and more…

That’s it for Thorn tasting room events, but we also are taking part in a bunch of events around town. For more information on these events go to our “Events Around Town” page and check out the exciting stuff we have planned.

donuts and beer tasters

Donut and Beer Pairings: The Hole Truth

Donuts and beer?? Yes, please! While some might scratch their heads at pairing beer with sweet treats like donuts, it has turned out to be an incredibly winning combination here at Thorn Street Brewery. It helps that we collaborate with the best donut spot in San Diego, Nomad Donuts, a shop that puts out an impressive array of incredibly creative donuts. On any given day, you can get inspired donut creations like Brown Butter Popcorn, Watermelon Tamarind Chili, and Blood Orange Creamsicle. The chef behind this donut madness is Kristianna Zabala, a pastry chef who took the leap from restaurant to donut shop and has never looked back.

The first pairing we did with Nomad was in April 2015 and it sold out quickly. We ended up doing two sessions to accommodate the incredible response and we learned two things from that first pairing. The first was that people loved donuts and beer together and the second thing was two sessions meant a 7-hour event for our staff and Brad Keiller, the owner of Nomad Donuts, which was just too long. We decided to do one session per future event and have the pairings a few times a year to spread out the donut-love and are now on our 6th pairing together.

One of the coolest things about pairing with these guys is the process and thought that goes into each donut. It all starts out with the week before the event. Kristianna comes into TSB with her boyfriend and food partner, Fernando Alatorre, a chef from Mr. A’s, which incidentally is where the two met. Her son, Kingston, never misses a planning session either, always excited to eat BBQ and drink some house-made root beer. While Kristianna has been making waves in the dessert world for some time, including a win on Sugar Showdown earlier this year, she is also an accomplished chef outside of desserts. Recently, she has participated in a Filipino Flavors dinner at Jsix, was the guest chef on Meatless Monday at Cueva Bar and took part in a multi-chef collab dinner at Council Brewing.

When asked, Kristanna actually says this is her favorite part of her job. “Collaborating is the best part. You get to work with different flavor profiles and different styles, whether it be beer or product that we are using or collaborating with another chef.”

We all sit down with two full tasting trays full of whatever 14-16 beers we have on tap, some BBQ from Grand Ole BBQ Y Asado, next door, and then the fun begins…

tasters of beer to prepare for nomad donut pairing

Working their way through the beers, Kristianna and Fernando are in turns both hilarious and deep thinkers when it comes to planning the pairings. They rapidly discuss their ideas, taking into consideration not only what’s happening in the food world at the moment but also seasonal flavors and local ingredients.

“I always bounce off ideas off of him,” Kristianna says “He’s my counterpart for all my beer pairings; helping balance flavors and pair the beers.”

First, she figures out which beers she wants to use in the donuts and then they discuss which beers go best with that donut. But what’s the hardest part?

“After trying so many beers, it gets hard, the palate gets tired,” Kristianna explains. “The hardest part is pairing something that is not as sweet and trying to bring out the flavor of the beer with the sweetness of the donut.” In fact, the tired palate dilemma is easily solved with a trip to the BBQ joint next door since the smoky, savory meats really help to clear up any leftover taste in between beers.

The two chefs are intense. They take the pairings seriously and push each other on their ideas, talking fully through every flavor note and taste that comes from the beers and how it will affect the donut combination. At one point in the night, Kristianna looked over at Fernando and says,

“Listen to this…I know you are going to be like, why are you doing this to yourself, but maybe we should do a mini Scotch egg.”

The idea is bomb, but the work and finesse it will take to pull off 100 quail Scotch eggs is no joke. After some discussion on logistics and where to source eggs from, Kristanna states, “Well, I’m fucking doing it!”

Fernando laughs, unsurprised, and wonders aloud how much he will be helping out early Sunday morning. After the three pairings are set, it’s time to wrap up this party. It’s 9 pm and we have been talking, planning and laughing for 2 hours straight.

“Are you ready for this?” Fernando asks Kristianna with a twinkle in his eye.

She shoots back with supreme confidence,”Are you ready? I’m ready for anything.”

Want to taste the magic? There are still a few tickets left to this pairing coming up this Sunday at 12:30 pm through Eventbrite.




sam adams big beer

Too Big For Craft Beer?

Boston Beer Co. is having a rough week. The “Pappy” of craft beer has been seeing a slowdown in their growth for the last couple of years, but the course-corrections that they employed seemed to have fallen short.  According to the Boston Globe, they just announced that their yearly profits fell 12%, from $156.2 million in 2015 to only bringing in $137.6 million on 2016. Furthermore, their depletions (the sales of their products to retailers from distributors) fell by 5%. To make matters worse, depletions in the first 6 weeks of 2017 have been down 15% from this same time last year.

Jim Koch, the founder and CEO of Boston Beer Company, tried to make sense of it to his investors as well as the media who have been watching the decline of one of the founding fathers of craft beer.

“New craft brewers continue to enter the market and existing craft brewers are expanding their distribution and tap rooms, with the result that drinkers are seeing more choices, including a wave of new beers in all markets,” He stated. “I’ve heard speculation from a couple of retailers that perhaps the fact that there were too many choices has, in fact, turned consumers away from craft with its extraordinary variety and category clutter and confusion and pushed them to something simple,”

Too Many Choices?

While “too many choices” could be an issue for people just turning to craft beer (and that very well might be a barrier to entry for some macro-beer drinkers) this issue doesn’t translate into why the sale of Sam Adams has slumped. Sam Adams isn’t on the decline because there are too many choices in the beer cooler. That would mean that people who had bought Sam Adams in the past were walking into the stores now, feeling overwhelmed with the “category clutter” and doing what? Walking out without buying anything? Buying more clutter craft beer? Buying macro beer? It just doesn’t make sense. What’s more likely is that craft beer drinkers don’t think Sam Adams is “craft” anymore and are buying different craft beer. Sam Adams is losing customers from the very base that they helped build.

Big Craft Beer

While Boston Beer Co. is still considered a craft beer based upon their ownership (at least 75% ownership by a craft brewer) as well as the number of barrels they brew (less than 6 million), they are still a giant company compared to most of the craft beer market. It appears as if their success and growth is now the issue, but they aren’t alone in this situation.

Along with Boston Beer Company, four out of the top five craft beer brands (in production volume) saw declines this last year. Fortune reported that Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Craft Brewer’s Alliance (owns Redhook, Kona Brewing and more) all ceded share last year, with only Lagunitas seeing a slight growth. Lagunitas is 50% owned by Heineken which brings up an interesting angle.

It seems like there is a widening gap in the craft beer industry. On one side you have the hyper-local breweries and on the other side, you have craft breweries that are owned by big beer and therefore backed by big-beer-money. The little guys are considered “cool” and are heavily supported by their local communities and the bought out breweries have the resources. In fact, two craft breweries that were bought out by big beer, Ballast Point and Goose Island both saw growth this last year while many other breweries of their size didn’t. There may be a multitude of reasons for their growth but it’s hard to ignore the fact that once big-beer-money is behind a brewery there is an ability to spend millions on marketing as well as lower their price point on kegs and even in stores (except Sculpin…Ballast has locked that beer in a premium category where they can charge an insane $17-$18 a six pack on the East Coast).

This would leave the middle guys (big craft breweries but not “big beer”) in an awkward position. They aren’t as cool as the thousands of small breweries popping up in neighborhoods every year and they don’t have the cash to (pay to) play with the big dogs.

Local, Local, Local…

This past year in San Diego, we have heard two larger breweries describe “hyper-local” craft beer as one of the reasons for their slower than expected growth. Stone and Green Flash both talked about the increased competition from hyper-local breweries being a factor in their less-than-expected growth and subsequent layoffs this past year. While both of these brands are highly respected within the industry, maybe they are hitting that “middle zone.” Stone and Green Flash are big dogs in San Diego but still small when it comes to the overall beer market and it’s hard for them to compete with the cheaper kegs, giant distribution channels and million dollar marketing budgets of big beer. Add in the increased competition from super local brands and it’s understandable why it can be hard being stuck in the middle.

Expanding the area where your beer is available raises an interesting issue. For example, expanding into Orange County and Northern California are goals for many small San Diego breweries, but our local brands are outsiders beyond the borders of San Diego. What happens when after beating the “drink local” drum for years, your beer is no longer “local?” Thorn Street, along with numerous other smaller breweries that are poised to move beyond San Diego county distribution, are about to find out.

Stone and Green Flash made a savvy move with the opening of breweries in Virginia (Richmond and Virginia Beach respectively). Along with all of the other reasons that it makes sense to open up breweries across the country, they have to win over craft beer consumers in their local area and it’s much easier to do that when your beer is “brewed locally.”

Where Does Boston Beer Go From Here?

Who knows what will bring Boston Beer Co. back to their former glory. Will it be by focusing on their classic brands like Sam Adams Boston Lager and Rebel IPA? Maybe instead of focusing on recapturing the consumers who are already craft beer drinkers and have moved on to “craftier” beers, they should focus on bringing macro-beer drinkers over to the “dark side.” Their beers are easy-drinkers that paved the way for many craft beer palates. With such a huge market of macro-beer drinkers out there, the pool to pull from is huge. Craft beer is still only 21% of the overall beer market. Maybe it’s up to Sam Adams and all craft breweries, really, to figure out a way to convert just some of the other 80%. The beer drinking market is there for the taking, we just have to find a way to tap into it.




russian Imperial Family sitting for a photograph in black and white

The Royal Beginnings of Imperial Beer

Imperial Ales have been popping up on beer menus across the U.S. with more and more frequency. One question we get asked a lot here at Thorn Street is, “What’s an imperial beer?” Whether you are ordering an imperial stout, an imperial IPA or an imperial red ale, it all means one thing: more. More hops, more malt and more ABV. Before we get into exactly what this beer style is, let’s take a look at where it all began.

Peter The Great Big Lush

Imperial style beers came into this world after a trip that Russian Czar, Peter the Great, took to England in 1698. He fell in love with the roasted, malty quality of the Porters that were popular in London at the time and decided he couldn’t live without it. After he returned to Russia, he sent for some porter to be shipped to the Russian Imperial Court, but by the time the beer arrived, it had spoiled. Never ones to give up, London brewers decided to up the hops and ABV in the next barrels of beer they sent over in the hopes that they would keep over the 1000 mile voyage.

Thankfully, it worked and the beer arrived in Russia in all its dark and complex glory. The beer was an immediate sensation in the Russian Imperial Court, which is how it became known as ‘Imperial Russian Stout.’ Stout, at the time, was just a stronger style of porter, hence the use of the term in the naming of this style of beer.

San Diego-Style Imperials

While the imperial style started out as a porter, the craft brew renaissance has brought about imperial versions of almost every style. Perhaps the most common style here in San Diego is the imperial IPA. From Green Flash’s West Coast IIPA to Alpine’s Pure Hoppiness, San Diego breweries have helped to define what an imperial IPA is.  Here at TSB, we have our own imperial IPA called The Menace, which truly is a menace in that it’s an incredibly easy to drink 10% beer. We also have a Russian Imperial Stout, called Dark Tsar that is 10.4% and Alpenglow, an Imperial red ale which won a silver medal at the World Beer Cup in 2016.

Imperials vs. Doubles

Another question we get a lot here at TSB is, “Are imperial ales and doubles the same thing?” The answer is yes, double and even triple IPAs are simply ways to say “more hops, more malts, and more alcohol.” The terms are pretty interchangeable, though double/triple is most often used in terms of IPAs here in the states. Furthermore, the U.S. craft beer movement is heavily influenced by Belgian beer where there are dubbels, trippels, and quads. They also refer to the beer being a bigger version itself, with more hops, malts, and increased ABV. Their origins, like most beer history, are somewhat murky but one theory is that it has to do with Trappist Monks marking two, three and four X’s on a bottle of beer to denote how strong it was and what number of beer it was that they made of a series.

So now you guys don’t have to wonder! Imperial IPAs are the same as double IPAs and it’s all thanks to Peter the Great…or is it the Trappist Monks? One thing is for certain, beer has a rich and complex history, much like the taste of a delicious Russian Imperial Stout.

a choice of 5 different beers

A Matter of Choice

A Matter of Choice

With the recent reports that craft beer sales are slowing, many are left wondering if the golden bubble is finally bursting. No industry could keep the year over year growth that craft beer has seen these last ten years. If you look closer at the numbers, the picture becomes a bit clearer as to why sales numbers are down from what they were projected to be, based on previous years. Here’s the numbers from 2015, and while 12.8% growth is nothing to sneeze at, that number is down from 18% volume growth in 2014. Recent reports from the biggest craft breweries like Samuel Adams, Craft Beer Alliance, and New Belgium show less-than-projected growth for the 2016 year.

chart showing craft beer growth for 2015

Too Much Choice?

Ironically, even AB InBev has an opinion on the recent slowdown of craft beer growth. CEO Carlos Britos was explaining the beer giant’s less than expected growth in the 3rd quarter and remarked about the lower than expected numbers.

“Our customers are thinking, ‘how much more of an assortment can you carry?'” Brito said. Turning to consumers, Brito said they were “a bit tired of choice and go for fewer brands”.

This comment is rich coming from a company that actively has tried to decrease choice for craft beer consumers through their (now defunct) incentive-based programs to their distributors. It’s like they are trying to will their wish for the future into existence.

I disagree wholeheartedly that craft beer consumers are sick of the amount of choices they see at a bar and beer store. In fact, while Brito is talking about choice in terms of brands of beer, if you look closer at the idea of choice, it appears that consumers are choosing the brands that offer MORE choices in styles and beers.

A Closer Look

Yes, the numbers have fallen, but a lot of that decline is because the biggest breweries which carry more weight in those figures have seen the biggest decline in volume. Maybe this volume decrease is because more and more craft beer drinkers are turning to hyper-local breweries? Smaller breweries have the ability to create a constantly innovative line-up of beers. In a way, Boston Beer Company is a victim of its own success. It’s such a pioneer in the industry and has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. However, with that level of growth comes the hindrance of big business. Also, the bigger Sam Adams gets, the perception of them being a craft beer seems to decrease. When there is so much choice at any given bar or brewery people are often turning to the newer, smaller brands.

Here at Thorn Street, we have a constant rotation of 15 beers on tap including many one-offs that will be later brewed on a bigger system, while others never will return. When people come and drink in our tasting room, as well as the hundreds of tasting rooms across San Diego, they are literally sipping the cutting edge of craft beer. Small breweries can think up a beer and have it brewed the next day. They can delve into unusual styles like Brett and Gose. There are fewer people to get approval from when trying new ideas. This leads to innovation because brewers are given more autonomy to brew their hearts’ desires.

So, no, Carlos Brito, craft beer drinkers are not sick of choice. They are moving on to more choice and are becoming savvier consumers. They are able to spot his comments as wishful thinking from a company who would love nothing more than to cut down the amount of craft beer choices available to people.


three beers sitting on a wooden table in pint glasses

San Diego Beer Week is Here!!

The best week for San Diego craft beer is finally here!! In its 7th year, San Diego Beer Week is a celebration of San Diego’s rich craft beer culture. This week is a time for breweries, bars, and restaurants to pull out all the stops with events, tap takeovers, head-to-head competitions and more. With more than 130 breweries in San Diego putting on hundreds of beer events throughout the ten-day beer-fiesta, there is definitely something for everyone.

This is our favorite week of the year, here at Thorn Street Brewery. We get to pull out all the stops on events both inside the taproom as well as at bars and restaurants throughout San Diego county.

Events At Thorn Street Brewery

  • Sat 11/5 Venissimo Cheese and Beer Pairing – 1 pm – $30 – 5 by 5 pairing with discussion and Q&A with Brew Master Eric O’Connor and cheese expert Rob Graff from Venissimo.
  • Sun 11/6 Nomad Donuts and Beer Pairing – 11 am – $20 – 3 by 3 pairing with entry into a raffle for exclusive merch from both places. Here’s the planned menu:
    FOREPLAY – paired with Caramelized Pear Jam / FORNICATION Goat Cheese / Toasted Walnuts
    PROFESSOR XPA – paired with Carnitas Snack Shack Carnitas, Corn, and Cheddar Meat Pie / BARRIO LAGER Jalapeno Glaze
    COCONUT PORTER – paired with Banana Custard / 007 PALE Caramel Glaze

    This event is now sold out, but we do have a few tickets available to buy on the day-of, so if you missed out on presale tickets, get down here by 11 am on Sunday to claim a walk-in ticket!

  • Mon 11/7 Truffle and Beer Pairing– 4-8 pm – $11 – 2 by 2 pairing featuring Abbey Wall Belgian Dubbel with an Apple Pie Truffle and Castaway Coconut Porter paired with a rum, coconut, and caramel truffle.
  • Tues 11/8 Belgian Beer Night – 5 pm – no ticket needed – 6 Belgians on tap along with a sour blend.
  • Thurs 11/10 IPA Lounge – 5:30 pm – no ticket needed – 10 IPAs on tap up in the back including a new series for single hop IPAs, Got Galaxy?, Got Amarillo? and Got Simcoe? and you can mix the IPAs to make-your-own- IPA blend!
  • Sat 11/12 Carnitas’ Snack Shack Beer Brunch – 11-2 pm – $35  – Seven courses of heaven along with 2 pints or 4 half-pints that are suggested pairings with the different items.

1. Bacon and Housemade Sausage
2. Fried Chicken Biscuit and Gravy – pair with Tropic Daze IPA
3. Churro French Toast with Boozy Whipped Cream and Fruit – pair with Coconut Porter
4. Breakfast Enchiladas Suizas – pair with Smuggler’s Cove Amber
5. Hash cake
6. Smoked Pork with Apple Slaw
7. Spicy Steak Scramble with tomato, pickled serrano peppers, and chipotle aioli – pair with Relay IPA

Events Around San Diego

We have more than 10 events out and about in San Diego so make sure to carve out some time for these events:

Fri – Nov 4th – Crushed – Thorn St vs. Duck Foot
Thorn Street and Duck Foot are Battling Head to Head in a Blind Taste Test where YOU decide who has the better beer!

Sun – Nov 6th – OB Noodle House Bar 1502 – 6 pm – Meet the Brewer

Sun – Nov 6th – The Holding Company OB – Afroman w/ Pat Hilton performing – 8 pm

Mon – Nov 7th – FootGolf Tournament – Mission Bay Golf Course – $30 per twosome

Tues – Nov 8th – West Coast BBQ – Tap Takeover and Meet the Brewer 6 pm

Wed – Nov 9th – OB Noodle House & Sake Bar – Tap Takeover and Meet the Brewer

Wed – Nov 9th – Glow Ball Tournament at Loma Club with Kings of the North IPA Tasting – $35 – North Park vs. North County!

Wed – Nov 9th – Kona Kai Resort Five Course Beer Dinner – Meet the Brewer

Call for reservations – 619-221-8000

Thurs – Nov 10th – Hamilton’s Fling (Sold out)

Thurs – Nov 10th – Main Tap Tavern Cask Night – 7 pm

Fri – Nov 11th – Regal Beagle Burger Night – $11 for a TSB beer and delicious burger

Sun – Nov 13th – Beer Garden at the Lodge at Torrey Pines – The beer event to end all beer events. Tickets still available for $85 and it’s totally worth it!


girl in red shirt pouring beer into a taster glass at the GABF

GABF…Here we come!

GABF…Here we come!

Denver better be ready for a massive influx of of beer, beards and breweries, because this weekend marks one of the most exciting craft beer events of the year. The Great American Beer Festival, also known as GABF, is the ultimate craft beer weekend with more than 3,800 different beers being poured by 780 breweries and attendance expecting to top 60,000.

hundreds of beer festival attendees at the great american beer fest

Luckily, Denver is ready and waiting. Now that the festival is in its 10th year, it sells out within an hour of offering up tickets to the public and is buoyed by more than 200 local events leading up to this beer-soaked weekend. No ticket? No problem, because tons of people travel to Denver this weekend and enjoy events without tickets to the fest at all. Eater Denver recently outlined 10 must-attend events that don’t require a GABF tickets including high-end beer dinners, a barrel aged beer competition and an annual Beer Drinker of the Year contest where the winner can win free beer for life at Wynkoop Brewery. Joining all of our brewers and sales team this year are the winners of our first ever GABF giveaway, Toni and Terri! We couldn’t be more excited to share the experience with them and look to hear from them about their take on the fest in a future blog piece.

The Competition

GABF is not only the ultimate tasting experience for attendees, but it’s also one of the most prestigious beer competitions in the nation. The World Beer Cup is the only beer competition that holds a candle to the GABF here in the states, though it’s every other year and includes international breweries. A medal at GABF is a huge accomplishment for any brewery, yet San Diego breweries cleaned up at last year’s competition. We are so proud of our SD homies who took home a cool 14 medals last year and our North Park tasting room neighbor, Rip Current, even won Very Small Brewing Company and Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year.


Our Beer Entries

Like all the breweries competing this year, TSB is hoping for a medal while also enjoying the opportunity to hang out with like-minded beer geeks. We sent off samples of our beers to be judged by their panel and will wait for the results at the awards ceremony on Saturday morning. We entered five beers into the competition; North Park Pale Ale, Smuggler’s Cove Agave Amber, Foreplay Belgian Blonde, Barrel Aged Dark Tsar and a special, American Brett Saison made with peaches, called Joe Pesch Brett. A lot goes into deciding which beer to send and what category to enter it in, but ultimately, we are really happy with the beers that we sent.


Good Vibes from Denver

We were recently featured in a write-up from the Denver Post as one of the Top Beer Picks from the Pacific Region. Here’s what they had to say…

On a recent weekend spent in the beer-Nirvana of San Diego, we hit the big names veterans like AleSmith, the beer-geek favorites like Societe, and the up-and-coming hot spots like Council Brewing, but the beer that left the most lasting impression on me was from a tiny neighborhood spot that I hadn’t heard of. After a couple days of pummeling my palate with IPAs, inky imperial stouts and acidic sour beers, it was the simple pils and a session IPA from Thorn Street Brewery that I remember most fondly. The latter brew was so sticky and dank it made my eyes water, and I couldn’t get enough.”

We will be live streaming the awards from TSB this Saturday at 10 am at the brewery. So, wish us luck this weekend, and look for our blog piece next week with the wrap-up from the festival.


Can’t-Miss October Events in San Diego

Can’t Miss October Events

While we always have a full calendar of events here at the brewery, we also spend a lot of time out and about in San Diego participating in events that support the local community. October is chocked full of outside events and so we thought we would share a few of our upcoming favorites, to make sure you can take full advantage of all the fun brewing this month.

Bier Oktoberfest


This ultimate Oktoberfest celebration is packed full of beer, food and fun events! Featuring 11 local, San Diego, breweries pouring all German style beers, live music, food from The Brew Project like Bavarian Pretzels and hand-crafted sausages. Also, they have packed this event full of fun contests like stein holding and beer chugging contests!

Where: Hard Rock Hotel – 207 5th Ave San Diego

When: 10/8/16, 12 pm- 6 pm

Tickets: $10-$45 (depending) Available here

Beers By the Bay


Coronado’s annual beer fest is a beautiful event featuring 15 local breweries, live music, wine and craft food. Enjoy the beautiful view of Downtown San Diego as you sip and eat your way throughout the afternoon. Drink for a good cause because this event benefits One More Wave, the Stephan J. Wampler Foundation as well as the Coronado Schools Foundation.

Where: Coronado Ferry Landing

When: 10/8/16, 1 pm- 6 pm

Tickets: $40-$50 Available here

EVA Awards at the Un-Gala


The second annual 2016 EVA Awards at the UN-Gala showcases the East Village community with comedian/emcee Mal Hall, awards, live entertainment, a silent auction and raffle, food sampling, beverages, and more. No suit or tie required and no chicken dinner. Find out who snags the EVA award for “Most Pet-friendly business,” “@EastVillageSD caught on Instagram” or “Social Media” champ!

Where: Fault Line Park, 1433 Island Avenue, East Village

When: 10/20/16, 5:30 pm

Tickets: $35 Available Here

Hallo-Wine Fest


A fun-filled afternoon festival with a fantastic array of boutique wines, hand-crafted beers, local spirits, and gourmet hors d’oeuvres to sample. Live entertainment, a silent auction, and fantastic wine and craft beer, complete the festivities. All proceeds raised will provide critical assistance to San Diego’s most vulnerable children and families through Home Start’s programs.

Where: A beautiful exclusive private estate in Marston Hills near Balboa Park

When: 10/22/16, 3 pm-6:30 pm

Tickets: $50-$75 Available Here

Ye ScallyWag Fest


This music festival, put on by 91X, not only offers craft beer, wine and food, but also the legendary NOFX, Bad Religion, Goldfinger, Against Me!, Real Big Fish, and Wakrat! This is one is going to go down in the record books so make sure and get your tickets so you don’t miss out. With part of the proceeds going to Fight ALD, it’s the perfect afternoon to get your let your inner pirate out!

Where: Waterfront Park, Downtown San Diego

When: 10/22/16, 12-3 pm beer and wine tasting with music until 7 pm

Tickets: $55-$199 Available Here



picture of two carnitas tacos with guacamole and pico de gallo

Carnitas’ Snack Shack: Pork Heaven in North Park

Carnitas’ Snack Shack: Pork Heaven in North Park

Few restaurants revel in pork-fueled-fare like North Park’s, Carnitas’ Snack Shack. This pork-centric spot has been featured in magazines and on TV shows, both locally and nationally. Owners, Hanis Cavin and Sara Stroud, opened the doors in 2011, in an unassuming area of West-North Park. Named after their beloved, pot-bellied pig, Carnitas, their restaurant had a loyal following pretty much as soon as they opened their doors. They feature menu items like their famous carnitas tacos, pork belly, and a killer of a pork sandwich (carnitas, schnitzel AND bacon!).

triple threat pork sandwich with bacon, carnitas and schnitzel and a side of corn salad

With their die-hard, devotion to quality, craft food, a line out their door is a regular site. Get there when they open to miss the line of devotees.

Today, there are three Carnitas’ Snack Shack locations offering up some truly inspiring and creative pork-themed dishes. Del Mar Highlands was graced with their pork-presence a few years ago. Recently, they just opened up another bustling spot on San Diego Harbor’s Embarcadero. The downtown location is especially exciting because it really hits the touristy spot in San Diego, and what better way to be introduced to San Diego cuisine than with Carnitas’ Snack Shack!

While beer is a natural pairing to such rich and savory food, Chef Hanis is always up for doing special events outside of the walls of his restaurants. In fact, we love working with all of the Carnitas’ people and couldn’t be more excited to have them for the upcoming Carnitas’ Snack Shack Beer Brunch! This Sunday, 11 am to 1:30 pm get ready for all of this pork-glory to rain down on TSB.

The beer brunches here at TSB are famous for an abundance of delicious food as well as Hanis’ engaging presence, working and hanging for a beer with patrons.

This brunch is planned to have seven meat-tastic courses including:

  • Rib-eye and tomato, spinach Benedict
  • Bacon-chocolate pancakes with real maple syrup
  • Hash brown cakes
  • House-made breakfast sausage and bacon
  • Carnitas’ Machaca with fresh tortillas
  • Smoked pork loin with buttermilk mash potatoes
  • Roasted cauliflower “salad” (here’s your dose of veggies)

We don’t want you to miss out on the insanely delicious, Sunday brunch, so get your tickets today! Only $35 for all you can eat and two TSB beers of your choice!


Here’s a sneak peek at what the food looked like at a past beer brunch at TSB:

Picture of Carnitas' Snack Shack brunch plate including potatoes, pork loin, sausage and benedicts