Restaurants unify resources in celebration of craft beers
by Kai Oliver-Kurtin
Published - 09/19/12 - 04:13 PM | 8797 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Abel Kaase, owner of Sessions Public, is helping to unite Point Loma and Ocean Beach merchants in promoting local craft brews across the Peninsula.                                         Courtesy photo
Abel Kaase, owner of Sessions Public, is helping to unite Point Loma and Ocean Beach merchants in promoting local craft brews across the Peninsula. Courtesy photo
National Drink Beer Day is on tap Sept. 28 and there’s no doubt San Diego is at the forefront of the craft-beer movement. But there’s even better news. Point Loma and Ocean Beach locals don’t have to look any further than their own backyards to find a heady brew community and a team effort working hard to quench the thirst of beerlovers.

The local craft-beer movement is a collaboration between multiple local restaurants that has conjoined two communities on opposite sides of the Peninsula.

Leading this barley-filled friendship is Abel Kaase, owner of Sessions Public, located at 4204 Voltaire St. During his time working in real estate, Kaase witnessed the burgeoning of North Park businesses and was inspired by that community’s rapid expansion of brewpubs.

“I said, ‘We should have that here’… a little closer to home,” said Kaase, who grew up along Sunset Cliffs.

Once he saw other nearby bars and restaurants focusing on quality craft beers, Kaase organized “Drink the Point,” a free monthly series that shuttles patrons to various local businesses, encouraging them to try new neighborhood hotspots. Similar to North Park and South Park’s “DrinkAbout,” “Drink the Point” takes the risk and hassle out of bar hopping with scheduled transportation and pre-planned stops.

Occurring on the second Wednesday of every month, “Drink the Point” drops guests off at Sessions Public, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, The Pearl Hotel, Harbor Town Pub, Newport Pizza & Ale House, Raglan Public House and Slater’s 50/50.

“Honestly, I wish we could’ve done it sooner,” said Kaase, “but there weren’t enough places to participate.”

Sessions Public continuously rotates craft beer among its 20 taps and often seeks out more obscure local breweries to give those labels some recognition. Sessions Public also incorporates beers into several dishes on its menu, like the IPA bratwurst and beer-braised duck tacos. For those who enjoy a cocktail with brunch, Sessions Public offers “beer cocktails,” blending lambic with champagne and blonde ale with rye.

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Pizza Port Ocean Beach, located at 1956 Bacon St., a popular neighborhood hangout, is also known for its large selection of craft beers. This year, to celebrate Ocean Beach’s 125th anniversary, Pizza Port created a limited-edition pale ale to be sold in restaurants and bars throughout OB.

“Pizza Port loves being a part of the OB community,” said general manager Steve Brown. “Most of our employees live and work in OB. Everyone who works here [at Pizza Port] hangs out at all the other businesses involved with Drink the Point,” said Brown. “We don’t view them as competition since everyone knows each other.”

Pizza Port takes an active role in the community through its involvement with the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association and San Diego Brewers Guild. It has received local, national and international recognition for its beer at the San Diego International Beer Festival at the San Diego County Fair, Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup.

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For those in need of a place to crash after imbibing craft beer across the peninsula, The Pearl Hotel, located at 1410 Rosecrans St., doubles as a contemporary restaurant and chic hotel. The Pearl rotates its 10 beer tap handles between local favorites, offering popular San Diego and Southern California labels.

“It’s all about hospitality,” said owner Greg Strangman. “It’s really cool to be able to offer guests — both hotel guests and locals — beer that’s more indigenous to our region. Our restaurant serves seasonal, local food and we feel the same way about beer.”

The Pearl holds monthly “Meet the Brewer” events to create a more intimate dining service between diners and various local brewers. The restaurant has also hosted “Beer for Breakfast” brunch pairings, and will soon hold a “Bike for Beer” event and “Hops and Heels” night for women, featuring beer and dessert pairings from Azucar.

“’Drink the Point’ really connects the two communities of Point Loma and OB,” said Strangman, an Ocean Beach resident. “There are lots of great restaurants here that people should be aware of.”

To show its dedication to locals, The Pearl offers a discounted accommodation rate to residents from both 92106 and 92107 ZIP codes.

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