Last month I met with David White, partner and brew master of Hillcrest Brewing Company. The brewpub, currently under construction, is located on the corner of Normal and University. It will be the newest addition to the Shaw Group/Mo’s Universe. The group also runs the restaurant/bars Urban Mo’s, Gossip Grill, and Baja Betty’s – all within the Hillcrest neighborhood.
This is White’s first foray into professional brewing. Previously, he worked as a tiger trainer in Las Vegas until the economy crashed. After losing his career, he wrote up a business plan upon returning to his hometown Escondido. With seven years of homebrewering experience, he’s also a professional welder / contractor (before our meeting, he was welding together what will become rentalable kegerators). Seeing a neighborhood in need of a brewpub and possessing the wherewithal to make it happen, White took his business plan to Chris Shaw – the restaurantuer behind Mo’s Universe. Mo’s agreed to handle the restaurant/bar side of the business, with Joey Arruda from Baja Betty’s joining the project as partner and General Manager. White will be in charge of the small brewery within. White smiles when I remark on the awesomeness of his situation, happily admitting: “It is a dream come true.”
24 taps will consist of 4-12 house beers by way of 5-barrel brewhouse with four 7-barrel fermentation tanks. The remaining ~12 taps will be guest taps. And the beer names? Brain Lubricant American Strong, Crotch Rocket Red, Pearl Necklace Pale Ale, and Eighth Day IPA*.
One of his beers, Lucy’s Red, was named for his pet raccoon, Lucy. After becoming terminally ill, David presented Lucy with a grain buffet. She picked her favorites from the variety of grains, and her hodgepodge selection forged the recipie he now brews in her honor.
White cites Stone, Dogfish Head, Aztec, and AleSmith as inspirations for his recipes, and beer will be served in Honest Pints. There are plans to bottle, eventually. First, HBC hopes to get beers on tap at other bars in Hillcrest. The food will consist of fired pizza from stone/brick ovens along with salads. The soft opening is May 22nd, a VIP Opening Reception will be June 11th (benefitting Being Alive) and the grand opening will be on June 12th. The brewery will be located at 1458 University Avenue in Hillcrest.