Really Paying it Forward – Thank you

Just part of the delicious line up!

Just part of the delicious line up!

I didn’t set out to go so nuts with this birthday party. But the idea of bringing together so many people I’ve had the chance to meet and get to know in one place was really exciting.  And then to find a way to turn all of our fun and good fortune into a concrete way to help others while we celebrate just seemed like something not to pass up. Then my friends in the craft beer community and responsible, local food scene showed why they are such amazing people and, well, here we are.  Let’s talk about how…

Helping organizations who help real people is important to me.  And it’s important to alot of businesses I know, too. One of these is Automatic Brewing Co., owned and brewed by the people who graced us with Blind Lady Ale House and Tiger!Tiger!

Brewed by people who care about good beer and the community they brew in

Brewed by people who care about good beer and the community they brew in

I reached out to them about this and not only did they donate a keg AND brew me my very own birthday “IPA-it-Forward”, they are even rolling through to help serve it on this

The most awesome jockey box ever (and not a bad brewer, either)!

The most awesome jockey box ever (and not a bad brewer, either)!

Aside: My friend Sam Ollinger at Bike San Diego is helping change our city and this photo of Lee on a bike reminded me of that. Check out BikeSD, a local advocate for non-motorized transportation, here.

Automatic isn’t alone.  In fact, the first brewery to come through on my idea to help three great causes was Coronado Brewing Company.  I profiled Shawn DeWitt here.  And this is the great beer they brew.

One of my favorite Coronado Beers

One of my favorite Coronado Brewing Co. Beers

Then, when picking up my keg I had a chance to chat with Owner Ron Chapman.  A very nice man who sees both the economic and community importance of his company.  One of the most impressive things Ron told me is that having some degree is not as important as working hard and having passion for what you do at his company. A-freakin-men! This is not to say I don’t value education, just an explicit acknowledgement that not all education has to come in a classroom.  Great job, Ron!

Craft beer even connected me with a guy named Ben who created a company to make it easier to give! No, I am not kidding.  His company, Givalike, is helping me raise money for the three charities with an online/credit card donation. It’s here. And it’s allowing us to support Promises-2-Kids (foster and abused children), The Front Burner Fund (medical emergencies for line cooks and other lower paid back of house workers) and even the San Diego Public Market (soon enough, people will be like “Pike what?”)!

You can donate by clicking this handy button

Give Now with Givalike!

$10 $20 $50 $100

What I’ve found, living in the community of North Park, is that neighbors and businesses have really grown together in a way that doesn’t always happen.  At a community meeting recently I saw the owner of Blue Foot Bar & Lounge make a presentation to increase his permit together with a neighbor who had completely sworn off the bar for some of the problems of the past.  It’s a testament to neighbors and business owners willing to see their relationship as one of mutual respect.  Both sides gave, and the community is all the better for it.  This type of spirit–wanting to be a good neighbor–is what one of my favorite brewers is bringing to North Park.

Not the traditional photo of beer - a reminder that brewers are people - often very good people

Not the traditional photo of beer – a reminder that brewers are people – often very good people

I am thrilled for Mike Hess of Hess Brewing Co. to open his facility and tasting room on Grim Street in North Park. And excited to have the Vienna Cream ale and Robustus Porter.  North Park is turning out to be a great place for craft beer and people with great compassion for the needs of the people around them.  The owner of Thorn Street Brewery actually volunteered to help when he heard about the causes

The owners of Thorn Street Brewery, an impressive location that is walkable for many in North Park

The owners of Thorn Street Brewery, an impressive location that is walkable for many in North Park

Dennis O’Connor has operated the type of place he can be proud of and that the neighbors have already been able to see is an asset, not a liability, to the neighborhood.  I was just there last week and can personally verify that they are brewing some very, very tasty beer.  Excited to have his help.

I’m celebrating a birthday with people I am happy to know.  But I am also asking my friends and family to help lots of people we don’t know through the three charities I mentioned above.  I have a personal connection to each of them and am glad so many people are willing to help.  As mentioned before, we are also benefiting from the good graces of a guy named Nate Squillace, who I met while he was selling some of the tastiest beer I’ve ever had.  Dark & Stormy from Airdale was in a class all its own and I hope the owner Tony Clarke knows how significant his contribution to the craft beer community was.  In any case, Nate now works for Redlands brewery Hangar 24, and despite not being in San Diego, they were super willing to help out!

hangar 24 barrel

The good vibe that is the craft beer community isn’t limited to our cozy little confines in San Diego.  In fact, I reached out to my new favorite east county brewery, Manzanita Brewing Company, and with no more than a mention of helping those in need, they chipped in with an assortment of quality beer.

The handles at this relaxing tasting room in Santee

The handles at this relaxing tasting room in Santee

The most recent brewery to add their support is a relatively young effort of two guys–and their kick ass team–at Societe Brewing.  I have had all their beer and never a bad one.  I know, surprising and rare, but true.  It’s up in Kearny Mesa, if you are looking for a place to visit.  Here are the guys (and the team) behind the goodness.

One of several very cool photos I found on their Facebook page

One of several very cool photos I found on their Facebook page

Before I put sign off, I really need to point out that there is a restaurant down in South Park (a neighborhood in Golden Hill) whose owners are really just tremendous human beings.  I say that about alot of people, and maybe that’s because I meet alot of people who really genuinely care about more than themselves.  But in this case the owners of Alchemy Restaurant are really above and beyond.  It’s not just great food.  It’s their work to promote childhood nutrition and food security in San Diego

Chef Ricardo teaching youngsters how to prepare healthy food

Chef Ricardo teaching youngsters how to prepare healthy food

What I didn’t know about Alchemy until I started planning for my party and fundraiser is that they also cater. And talk about an outfit that handles EVERYTHING, I mean, if you’ve ever tried to plan anything for a lot of people you know how bat sh@$t crazy things get.  Well, having Ron set us down, run things down, and just let us know everything was handled was better than a huge weight just falling off our shoulders.

Co-owner Ron Troyano of Alchemy Restaurant. A guy with a big heart who really delivered for us on the catering  front.

Co-owner Ron Troyano of Alchemy Restaurant. A guy with a big heart who really delivered for us on the catering front.

We’ve never had a party with 400 people before, and with the help of donations from Suzie’s Farm, the artistry of Chef Hanis and Max at Carnitas’ Snack Shack, and guys like Ron Troyano above to keep it all together I’m thrilled about the whole process.  It’s a great day to Pay-it-Forward.

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