Those who’ve sampled beer within its friendly confines know that Home Brewing Company (2911 El Cajon Boulevard, North Park) has a lot going for it. Simple in its construct and easygoing in mood, it effectively accomplishes its mission—exposing Home’s clientele to a plethora of exploratory beer styles and, in the best of cases, sparking an interest in taking up brewing. The latter is a bonus and, while converting imbibers to recreational fermentationists certainly benefits owner George Thornton—Home Brewing is connected to next-door parent business, The Homebrewer—the brewery and tasting room are a product of passion versus capitalist aspirations. And the space feels that way, but Thornton has wanted to change it for some time and that day is drawing nigh.
Come June, construction is scheduled to start on an expansion of the tasting room that’s been in the works for three years. (A lack of funds kept it from happening sooner (so maybe Thornton would benefit from employing a little more capitalism.) The goal of the project is to make Home even more homey, opening up the space and make it evocative of a living room or reading room. Bookshelves stocked with accessible written materials and framed photos will be installed to convey that, but rather than make things too domestic, Thornton will balance out those design elements with the bar and what’s positioned behind it.
Jet-black quartz counter-tops will be installed over the existing bar, and give way to a “shrine-like” tap-wall with a bronze, tinted mirror behind it. The goal is to create a sense of transition between production space, a shrine to process and a living area, all within Home Brewing’s humble, 500-square-foot space. Adding a patio area with a fold-up door opening onto El Cajon Boulevard will expand the space by 150 square feet and free up interior space. With any luck, the project will be completed before summer is up.
Those with less examining eyes might think little has changed with San Diego Brewing Company over its 23-year history…but those people would be wrong. On the more obvious side, the Mission Valley brewpub completed an overhaul of a redesign in 2013, the same year it brought aboard head brewer Jeff Drum to replace longtime headman Dean Rouleau (who departed to open his current venture, Prodigy Brewing Company). These were important on-the-surface changes, but on a subdermal level, Drum has added numerous new beers to the company’s offerings, including barrel-aged sours. The company also produced the winning entry in the hotly contested India pale ale category at this year’s San Diego International Beer Festival competition for its San Diego IPA (a name it has smartly trademarked). It’s no wonder SDBC’s Lee Doxtader feels they’re making the best beer they ever had.
The above items have SDBC poised for even more, and that’s why ownership has decided to take the county’s second longest tenured brewing operation to the next level. Doxtader and company have signed on as the third and final tenant of upcoming CRAFT by Brewery Igniter, a trio of brewery-tasting room facilities in North Park near the intersection of El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street. Billed as the only place in San Diego where beer-fans will be able to visit three breweries under one roof, the project (which is scheduled to open to the public in a matter of a month or two) will also be home to J&L Eppig Brewing and Pariah Brewing Co. All three interests will brew using identical 10-barrel Premier Stainless brewing systems and feature their own aesthetically customized tasting room.
Doxtader says to expect the same relaxing, easygoing atmosphere he and his team have worked to build at the original brewpub, and looks forward to reaching new people. It’s one of the biggest reasons he’s wanted to increase production for quite some time—something signing on with Brewery Igniter (a program from local developer H.G. Fenton) will allow SDBC to do. In his words, he wants to “get outside the pubisphere” and check out the demand for SDBC’s beers beyond their birthplace. Doxtader expects SDBC’s North Park offshoot to debut in the next two or three months. Meanwhile, it will be business as usual at the Mission Valley brewpub.