For a taste of San Diego craft brews, pop into a local pub.
But for “Taste of San Diego Craft Brews,” pop into your local history museum on Feb. 16. Sound strange? Then you haven’t been paying attention to recent liquid developments in Balboa Park.
San Diego’s crown jewel may lack a true pub — The Prado restaurant’s bar is attractive, but its beer selection is only fair — but this libation is enjoying a banner year in the park. This month, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center explored brewing during its “Science on the Rocks” social gathering. In the fall, look for a beer exhibit at the Museum of Man.
But those institutions are following the San Diego History Center’s lead. Or is that Virginia Morrison’s lead? Four years ago, this lawyer proposed that the history center build a fundraiser around local beers. Morrison was the right person to make this happen — then a history center board member, she was dating Marty Mendiola, the brewmaster at La Jolla’s Rock Bottom.
That fundraiser was such a success, it became an annual affair.
“This has always been a popular event,” said Matthew Schiff, the history center’s marketing director. “It’s raised more and more money every year.”
This year’s party will also preview “Bottled & Kegged: San Diego’s Craft Brew Culture,” an exhibit that will open April 5 and run through Jan. 20. Besides photos and vintage bottles, the show will feature a 500-gallon brewhouse, a hop smell-and-touch station, a “guess-the-beer-glass” quiz, a timeline of local brewing milestones and more.
A refreshing subject, no doubt, but is it suitable for the full-blown museum treatment?
“At the History Center,” Schiff said, “our job is to explain how things in San Diego and San Diego itself fit into the greater conversation — to explain San Diego to the masses. And here we have this organic, homegrown industry that has quite a character of its own.”
That character is quite romantic. Just ask Morrison. No longer a member of the museum board, she is helping to organize the beer-related fundraiser and the beer-related exhibit.
She’s been assisted by Mendiola, now her beer-related husband.