Profile of Chad Berkey, Aero Club Bar Manager

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We are so proud to have Chad Berkey as our bar manager at Aero Club.  He is very passionate about the bar, whiskey and crafting cocktails.  When Chad isn’t working at the bar, or being a new dad, he also runs his own business called Tin Play: http://www.tinplay.com/. We use his products at Aero Club!

Oh did we mention that Chad is also an author?  His new book, The North American Whiskey Guide From Behind The Bar is available now on Amazon – Hard Cover & Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/North-American-Whiskey-Guide-Behind/dp/1624140769

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Here’s a blog post about the Guide: http://agentlemansword.com/2014/12/the-north-american-whiskey-guide-from-behind-the-bar/

New at Aero Club: The BenRiach Scotch Whisky

We are proud to carry The BenRiach Single Malt Scotch Whisky.  Since 1898, The BenRiach has been distilling some of the finest whisky in “ ’Heart of Speyside’, between the village of Rothes and the town of Elgin, in the North-East of Scotland.”

What makes BenRiach stand apart from the “other Spey Valley distilleries, the traditional floor maltings with their distinctive pagoda style chimneys can produce peated, malted barley, enabling the distillery to capture the defining taste of peat reek in a few of their special bottlings.”

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Currently (as of 6/24/14), we have these BenRiach whiskys in stock.

  • Single Malt Limited Release 2000 (bottle 558 of 619) “Oloruso Sherry Finish”
  • Single Malt Aged 12 Years
  • Single Malt Aged 12 Years, “Horizons”, triple distilled
  • Single Malt Aged 16 Years
  • Single Malt Aged 17 Years “Solstice”, heavily peated Port Finish
  • Single Malt Aged 25 Years “Authentics”, peated
  • Single Malt Aged 17 Years “Septendecim” peated

We are also planning an upcoming The BenRiach tasting at Aero Club.   Contact us at the bar for further details

Barbara

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Name:  Barbara

Where are you originally from? Upstate New York

How long have you worked for Aero Club? Eight Years

What shifts do you usually work? Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Sundays – Early shift

What’s the Best Part of Your Job? Meeting cool people that I get to hang out with for a few hours . And talking smack with them. I get to be myself here since it isn’t a corporate environment

Favorite cocktail? Tramp Cocktail – Bourbon, Amaretto, Muddled Lemon, Splash of 7

Favorite Beer?  Racer 5

Favorite whiskey?  Laphroaig 10 – nice smoky and peaty

Favorite spirit? Whiskey

When you are off, where do you like to hang out? Go hiking and camping.

Do you have any tattoos? NONE!

From the Archives: San Diego Beer Insider

Last year, Shawn from San Diego Beer Insider did a story about Aero Club and the Regal Beagle down the street.

Here is the part where he talks about Aero:
“The 1st noteworthy stop is the Aero Club. The Aero Club is a San Diego Institution and is a throw back to the days when San Diego was a world leader in the aerospace industry.

I have a sentimental attachment to this bar as well. Several years ago I was on a date with a hot girl. We had been on a few dates and I really dug her, but this one wasn’t going my way and looked like it might be the last. I happened to live in this area at the time so  I asked if we could stop for a drink on the way back. She agreed and we wound up having a great time and discussion. We were married a couple of years later and she is still the love of my life.

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The Aero Club is a pretty small place and the pool tables in the back are so squeezed in that they have some sawed off sticks to make those difficult shots. I’m including this bar with the beer bars although they actually have turned more into a whiskey bar; a recent change since for years they were licensed for beer only. They were evidently pretty excited about the modified liquor license, they have about as huge of a spirits collection as I’ve seen.”

Check out the original story here: http://sandiegobeerinsider.com/mission-hills-aero-club-and-the-reagal-beagle/

From the Archive: San Diego Uptown News

“Dr. Ink” did a nice piece about Aero Club, in September 2012.

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“If you’re a whiskey lover, consider The Aero Club Bar your ultimate candy store. Fans of vodka and other spirits will also feel a rush when laying eyes upon Aero’s in-your-face wall of liquor boasting more than 750 bottles of booze, with about 500 of them revealing whiskeys of every genre.

Indecision strikes when leafing through a tome listing the liquid gold by category: Scottish, Irish, American, rye and “other worldly.” The pages continue endlessly while the burgeoning display of glass behind the bar will set your liver on fire.

During happy hour, shot pours are 50 cents off. They measure an ounce and a half, not counting the few extra dribbles that sneak into your rock glass. For whiskeys that begin exceeding $13 a pour, the discount may not apply.

The same price break applies to well drinks and myriad beers, which include about 20 drafts. But we came for the hard stuff and sipped gleefully to Lou Reed and David Bowie songs playing on the jukebox.

While my companions imbibed on a couple of summery Greyhounds (vodka and grapefruit juice), I zeroed in on Dalmore Single Malt Scotch, aged 12 years and served from a pretty bottle with a stag’s head stretching across the front. Priced at $8 with the discount, it was worth every cent.

“You’re going to want to try this straight up,” the knowledgeable bartender said as she discouraged me from diluting it with a splash of soda, which I commonly request when drinking the cheaper stuff at other bars. She was right. This scotch needed nothing more than an eager set of lips as the rush of light peat and orange spice began warming my throat.

It would take a whiskey connoisseur many years and mucho bucks to sample the entire list, considering that in the next few weeks, about 100 additional labels will be added to the inventory.

A number of whiskeys and other spirits dominate the wall behind Aero Club’s bar. 

“I always had this dream of a wall of liquor,” said owner Bill Lutzius, who purchased The Aero Club Bar in 2004 after running a tire shop in Orange County. “My whiskey buying was more of a compulsion that ended up to what it is today.”

Lutzius is among a string of owners who have run the joint since 1947 after it was originally founded by a female pilot. Vestiges of the aeronautical theme remain in the form of model airplanes hovering above the booze collection.

The clientele today is diversified, attracting bartenders from nearby downtown, 20- and 30-somethings escaping the club scene and occasional airport personnel that we presume do not include pilots gearing up for flight.”

The original post is here: http://sduptownnews.com/whiskey-heaven/

From the Archives: UT San Diego

Early in 2013, Keli Dailey did a whiskey bar article — we were featured in it.

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Here’s the blurb:

“Over the years it’s been a chancy place to let your guard down (nicknamed “The San Diego Gun and Knife Club” in the ‘60s), a cop bar, a long-haul driver clubhouse and a Yelp meet-up spot… The Aero Club–started by a female pilot, hence the Delta Dart aircraft on the neon sign out front–took off in 1947.

Right now it’s gloriously overrun with whiskeys.

Owner Bill Lutzius houses up to 600 brands, I’m told– those shelves are congested with bottles. I haven’t tallied up the barrel-aged bourbons, the Canadian blends, the Japanese whiskeys, the single malts, the fruity liqueurs, the peaty waters from Scotland and other styles beyond (blech! Irish whiskey). But it takes 50-plus pages to list all of Aero Club’s whiskeys (ask for this bound book at the bar).

There are tasting notes in that whiskepedia: For “spicy pepper, green wood and malt…together with a splash of rye whiskey,” find the entry from a top American distillery, Roughstock Montana Whiskey. Get their Cask Strength neat for $13.

Of note: The Aero Club has a jukebox (Johnny Cash), pool table, well-worn booths, whiskey flights, and a paper-lanterns-and-Christmas-lights sensibility. Maxim recently featured it as the magazine’s Dive Bar of the Month.”

The rest of the story is here: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/Jan/14/whiskey-bars/