The collection of artisanal producers in the pair of business parks near the corner of Miralani Drive and Camino Ruiz in Miramar already interact like partners. Home to four breweries, two wineries and a sake brewery, this is the most craft-saturated ultra-micro locale in all of San Diego County. And soon it will welcome its first actual partnership—a trio of businesses sharing a 3,500-square-foot space with a collective mindset and completely unique, hand-forged consumables. Lost Cause Meadery, Serpentine Cider and The Good Seed Food Company comprise this hand-in-hand threesome, all of which are on pace to open at different points within the month of October at 8665 Miralani Drive, Suite 100.
While they were searching for a site for their meadery, Lost Cause founders Billy and Suzanna Beltz met and hit it off with Serpentine headman Sean Harris at a brewery event. The entrepreneurs stayed in touch and, two months later, Harris asked if the Beltzes would like to join him and chef Chuy De La Torre as a third tenant in the space they intended to share. The marrieds followed in the footsteps of De La Torre, formerly the chef at Rancho Bernardo’s Urge Gastropub, and signed on. To a person, the quartet believe they are in the perfect geographical situation. This pertains to their individual facility, where all of their wares will appeal to artisanal-minded locavores, as well as their immediate surroundings.
The closest similar business to the shared space is Thunderhawk Alements, and the Beltzes say its owners have been extremely helpful. It’s the “Miralani Makers District”’s tangible colleagues-versus-competitors vibe that continues to lure so many small businesses to the area. A distillery is also en route for the area. It is reminiscent of San Diego’s roots from a brewery perspective and, in some ways, evokes memories of simpler times for that industry.
The Beltzes like the prospect of leveraging cider and, to some extent, beer, wine, sake and spirits from neighbors to attract cross-drinkers who might not specifically seek out mead, but will be more than happy to try it during an expansive tasting expedition. They realize mead is not as popular or understood as other beverages and aim to do a great deal of educating rom their tasting room (Serpentine will have its own sampling bar within the space, as well).
Lost Cause’s meads will be produced in 20- and 15-barrel batches located near the entrance to their tasting room. Billy has earned more than 35 medals for his meads in the past three years alone, and the Beltz’s research and techniques have been published in the American Homebrewer’s Association‘s Zymurgy Magazine and American Mead Maker, the official journal of the American Mead Maker Association. An integral part of their production process is a technique which allows them to control a slow, steady, healthy fermentation that retains extremely delicate honey flavors and aromas as alcohol builds.
Lost Cause’s initial line-up will all come in at 11% alcohol-by-volume and include:
The aesthetic of the shared facility will pay homage to Southern California and the Southwest region as a whole care of shared plants and furniture. For more information on each of the businesses’ debuts, follow each on social media.
From the Beer Writer: Much like saisons, I enjoy biere de garde because there’s a good amount of leeway, stylistically, meaning few taste exactly alike. The unpredictability of this more free-form French beer style is what gets me excited whenever I see one available at a local brewery. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen all that often, so when Booze Brothers Brewing Company (2545 Progress Street, Vista) asked what type of beer I might like to see them brew for my Beer to the Rescue charity campaign, I not only went in this direction, but took a detour, asking if they might be able to create a version that was deep brown or black in color, yet not overly roasty. This was what they came up with. Given its dark appearance and the fact a portion of proceeds will go toward fighting lupus, I felt the name Lights Out, Lupus was appropriate. Ditto the fact it produces the acronym, LOL, as I like the thought of guffawing at this auto-immune disease as I help to hopefully put a nail in its eventual coffin.
From the Brewer: “All of us at Booze Brothers think lupus is pretty lame, so we thought we’d brew a beer to combat it. Lights Out Lupus is a 7.7% alcohol-by-volume, funky, black biere de garde spiked with Brettanomyces. The idea was to brew a dark but not roasty, tart but not sour, fruity and malty yet dry, French-style ale without the douchery. We used dark roasted wheat late in the mash to make it dark, and the Brett with a touch of acidulated malt for acidity and complexity. We’re quite happy with the result. In the light, the beer shines a deep, ruby red from its variety of dark, caramelized malts; otherwise the beer looks black. The esters from the yeast remind me of raisins, blackberries, dried plums, guava and perhaps a touch of banana. The beer has a wine-like consistency and the flavor flows uninterrupted from start to finish in a way where the malt and fruit are almost indistinguishable from one another.”—Donny Firth, Co-owner & Brewer, Booze Brothers Brewing Company
Oceanside’s rapid renaissance as a center for artisanal food and drink has been remarkable. From exotic eateries to boutique shops and craft breweries, the county’s northernmost coastal municipality has a lot going for it and more going in all the time. Come this fall, Midnight Jack Brewing Company figures to come into the Oside fold when it opens the doors to its inland facility.
Last week, founder and brewmaster John Scheri signed off on a lease for an industrial space at 3801 Oceanic Drive. If that address sounds familiar, it’s because it’s one number different from the site that housed the community’s first brewery, Oceanside Ale Works. Scheri actually got his first taste of pro brewing volunteering on brew days at that interest. This came after years of homebrewing during which he collected some awards, including making the top three of the western regionals for the Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Competition with his IPA in 2008.
After OAW, Scheri (an automotive technician by trade) landed the head brewer job at Murrieta’s BullDog Brewery, where he kept up on production of roughly 15 varied house beers. The beer line-up figures to be just as diverse at Midnight Jack, where Scheri will utilize a 15-barrel, direct-fire system to produce a number of India pale ales, lagers, stouts, brown ales and more. He is particularly proud of his toasted coconut porter and looking forward to taking on barrel-aging and sour beer at some point. If all goes as planned, Midnight Jack will produce 1,100 barrels of beer in Year One and double that the following year. Unlike many new breweries, Scheri and company will start out packaging beer, beginning with 22-ounce bottles.
When asked why he chose to build his business in Oceanside, Scheri gives the same answer as he does when asked why he chose to live there, saying it reminds he and his wife, Kathy (the marketing and business development arm of Midnight Jack), of their previous digs on the Jersey Shore. Everything they or their customers could want—restaurants, bars, shopping, the beach—is just five short minutes away. They are excited to be a part of such a booming area, and appreciate that their facility will allow them to grow when the time to expand comes.
Scheri intends to outfit Midnight Jack’s tasting room with reclaimed wood while keeping it true to its manufacturing roots, describing the projected motif as “modern light industrial meets vintage warehouse.” Once open, he hopes to also use the sampling area as a classroom for homebrew instructional sessions, so anyone interested in learning about brewing can catch the bug that ultimately fueled his career change.