Q: How long have you been volunteering with San Diego Professionals Against Cancer? I worked as a Sales Representative for Alesmith when I first attended the event. This had to be about 1995 or so. I loved it so much I went (as a guest) the next year, and brought many friends. We all agree that this is the best festival in San Diego and have been going ever since. At some point a few years later, I met some of the SDPAC board members and asked them if I could help. I began by assisting the former “beer wrangler” on the day of the event. He eventually “retired” and I was able to take over recruiting the breweries to support us. I have been doing it ever since.
Q: Do you have a specific role as a volunteer? I invite the brewers to participate. Basically, if I can get contact information from them, I invite them.
Q: As the reigning volunteer of the year, what makes you so passionate about volunteering for the SDPAC? This award was a complete surprise. I was and still am honored to be recognized for what I do. This is a very large organization, and to be recognized among so many other
very successful volunteers is humbling. The reason I am so passionate about volunteering is that this event is 100% volunteer organized. Not a single sole takes a salary. 100% of all proceeds go to local cancer victims, research, and care providers. My mother was taken when I was 20 years old by this disease, and I know how helpless we all feel when someone we know and love is diagnosed. We can only provide patient care and emotional support for those we love. We may not personally be able to contribute to a cure, but together, we can all contribute to funding a cure. I like to put it this way, how many hangovers do we give ourselves every year? This is one that contributes to a cause that can make a difference.
Q: When did you first develop your love for craft beer? I have been an avid home brewer for more than 20 years. I am a founding member of a local home brewing club, and I believe that a major contributor of San Diego’s professional brewer’s successes is directly related to the passionate home brew community that is in San Diego.
Q: What’s your favorite craft beer at the moment? I would have to say that the Firestone Walker 13th anniversary is the best one I have in my cooler.
Q: How do you keep up with the ever-changing San Diego craft beer scene? My friends and I are always looking for new local breweries. It is a good thing there are more than 80 of them now in the county. The Celebrator, and the West Coaster are both publications that provide a lot of great information. Branden Hernandez commits a lot of print space to promoting new local craft breweries, so I try to keep up with his latest articles. Facebook has been a pretty good resource too. As long as you “like” a brewer’s Facebook page, they’ll update you on all of their news.
Q: What beer are you most excited about trying at this year’s festival? We may have one of the most diverse groups of local, national and international breweries that we have hosted in quite a long time. We have a couple of the big guys returning this year like Sierra Nevada, Firestone Walker, Stone, and Lagunitas. All of them have archived kegs laying around in a cooler someplace that they may bring. Some of these flavors may never get on tap anywhere else in San Diego. In addition to the breweries that see very little tap or shelf space in our local watering holes. For instance, Two Towns Cider House out of Corvallis, OR. and B-Nektar Meadery from Ferndale, MI. Last year B-Nektar brought three flavors of the best mead I have ever had. Mead is a fermented beverage made from honey. We also made a concerted effort to invite some of our newer local breweries, like Craftsman, Butchers, Barrel Harbor, and Groundswell, in addition to a couple from our neighbors in the Temecula Valley, like Black Market, and Weins. I have an old friend who just opened Hopperazzi Brewing in Anaheim. As a home brewer, Bill Sobieski made some of the best lambics, krieks and Belgian Sours I had ever tasted. Now that he has gone pro, he is coming back to the festival where he can showcase his excellent beers.