The first time I strolled into Best Damn Beer Shop in downtown San Diego, I swear there was almost a swath of heavenly light and angelic sounds when I saw the incredible collection of beer in front of me. Two hundred dollars later, I realized I had found a personal mothership for my craft beer obsession. This week I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and sharing delicious beers with Manager Sadeer Mikhail. Gifted with an impressive palate and extensive knowledge of beer, Sid is leading the retail charge for the appreciation of craft beer. If you haven't been, I am telling you, GO.
I caught up with Sid to share a few beers (Jolly Pumpkin La Roja and Oud Beersel Gueuze) and ask him about his shop:
How did you get the name Best Damn Beer Shop?
From the Best Damn Sports Show on Fox Sports Net.
How long have you been around?
Over 25 years. Super JR Market is a family-run business. We have always had beer, but remodeled to allow for the current selection.(note to reader: Best Damn Beer Shop is INSIDE of Super JR Market)
When did you start loving craft beer?
About 2 years ago. From my friend Joey Bachova at South Bay Drugs. He has been like a mentor to me. All the credit is his.
What was the first beer to turn your head, and make you have that "craft beer moment"?
Alpine Pure Hoppiness.
What is your favorite style of beer?
Gueze. Without a doubt.
Cantillon, Drie Fontenein, and Russian River, especially Beatification!
Is there a favorite customer style?
Alot of people start with IPA's then move into Bourbon Barrel-aged beers. Honestly, I am seeing a trend toward sours.
It's amazing, actually. People fly in from other states to shop here. They call and have me hold beers they can't find where they are.
So how many beers do you currently stock?
We are up to 700 craft beers.
Absolutely. We will be selecting over 10 breweries to feature and offer 25% off of those during the week.
Ok, I'll be coming to shop for sure...AND spreading the word to other craft beer lovers!
At this point, the beers are completely capturing our attention...
Jolly Pumpkin La Roja (Flanders Red) 7.2% Literally translating as "Red", Jolly Pumpkin declares this deeeelicious brew to be made in the Flanders style. Smooth, welcoming nose of caramel and warm baking spices mingled with subtle sour cherry notes and mild earthiness. Some phenolics and oak present in both the nose and palate. Smooth and balanced, I could drink alot of this one.
When we returned to La Roja after it warmed, Sid remarked, "It smells a little like Consecration." Which, of course, spawned a veritable verbal love fest championing Russian River's incredible beer. Sid: "Let's go swimming in Consecration." (hearty chuckle) Amen to that!
Oud Beersel Gueuze: 6% ABV: A gentle, easy-going gueuze. More mild even than the Fond Tradition I found last week to be a good intro gueuze. Hay, wet earth, and clean stable/barnyard aromas. You want to drink this chilled by the pool on a hot day. A summer gueuze, if you will. If you know a wine drinker who enjoys champagne and sparkling wine, this might be a beer for them.
Thank you Sid, for the delicious beers, entertaining company, and interview. Keep up the incredible work.