Back in March, we introduced you to key personnel from Viewpoint Brewing Company (2201 San Dieguito Drive, Del Mar), Charles Koll and Gunnar Plantar. The former conceptualized the business and brought on the latter to lead the kitchen, but both are chefs with white-linen backgrounds. Over the past four months, they’ve been busy putting finishing touches on their brewpub (Del Mar’s first-ever beer manufacturer), which included hiring a head brewer. Not surprisingly, that individual, Moe Katomski, amassed years of chef experience before transitioning to the fermentation industry via a job with Vista’s Bear Roots Brewing. As soon as next week, the general public will be able to see what this trio of toques has been working on when Viewpoint opens its doors.
The opening has been a long time coming—more than three years, in fact. Having recently toured the space, that time was put to good use. Viewpoint is in a simultaneously great and not-ideal location. Located across the San Dieguito Lagoon from the Del Mar Fairgrounds, it is highly visible and should receive plenty of patronage, not only from San Diego County Fair and Del Mar Racetrack visitors, but Del Mar residents, in general, and walkers on the trail abutting Viewpoint’s shaded outdoor patio. The latter area is outfitted in a mixture of concrete and artificial turf, with live-edge, wooden communal tables and banquettes with tabletop fire features, as well as large, open, globe-shaped swings and corn-hole setups. These contemporary SoCal environs are particularly inviting and will surely inspire would-be exercisers to sit a spell and shift from calorie-burning to consumption.
Those dropping in by car might find themselves a little less enamored rolling into a parking lot that, with Viewpoint’s industrial roots fully exposed (perhaps to too great an extent, aesthetically), doesn’t appear to house a restaurant. The front door is small and inauspicious, but upon stepping through it, guests figure to be glad they did. While not as luxurious as the patio, the main dining room is neatly situated and comfortable. A zig-zagging bar gives way to two high-top communal tables and additional bar-seating bordering Viewpoint’s fermenter tanks. Roll-up garage-style doors provide access to the outdoor area as well as a pair of Skee Ball tables, further increasing the family-friendly aspect.
Viewpoint’s license allows for sale of guest beers to supplement a selection of house brews currently coming in at five. Katomski’s wares include a single-malt-and-single-hop (SMASH) beer made with Maris Otter and Chinook hops, a rye IPA with Red X malt that lends a chocolate-like character washed away by a dank finish, and a light-bodied Belgian-style saison that’s herbaceous and lemony with a hint of bubble gum. There is also a pair of pale ales. The first, Pleasant Surprise, was the initial beer run through Viewpoint’s 15-barrel system and didn’t turn out exactly as planned, but is not without its charms. Built on a Kölsch-recipe base with minimal infusion of Chinook hops for bittering, it may actually be a big hit with Del Martians. The second go at that beer is big on citrusy Mandarina Bavaria hops and a much more successful iteration in Katomski’s opinion. That recipe is now set in stone.
Drinkability and approachability were strived for and achieved with Viewpoint’s first beers, but Katomski also plans to follow some suggestions from Plantar, who regularly turns him on to exotic ingredients from the culinary world. For now, he’s fighting the urge to get “too crazy” and that seems a good game-plan for a community that has yet to have much exposure to craft beer.
With so many cooks in the kitchen, one might expect a for-chefs-by-chefs menu that’s overly extensive and out of control. Viewpoint’s is relatively brief but offers variety, including an assortment of appetizers that includes riffs on poutine and Jidori chicken wings served by the dozen with house sauces, charcuterie, salads, sandwiches, entrées (steak frites, salmon) and desserts. Beer and its ingredients make it into accoutrements such as a hop vinaigrette and milk stout demi-glace. Then there’s a rare first for the local beer scene, a beer-and-food flight wherein three of Viewpoint’s beers are served with a trio of pretzel bao buns stuffed with ingredients selected to match their liquid counterparts.
Following its debut, Viewpoint will be open seven days a week. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. it will operate as a tasting room offering light bites, before converting to a full-on restaurant from 4 to 11 p.m.
Today, Main Street in Vista’s historic village area is home to three brewery-owned businesses, including a production brewery (Wavelength Brewing Company) and brewpub (Belching Beaver Brewing Tavern and Grill). But it all started with a satellite tasting room from nearby operation Mother Earth Brew Co. Originally, that large taproom was connected to a homebrew supply store, an extension of the roots established by a retail recreational brewing goods outlet at MEBC’s brewery. That venue has since been closed in order to bring an entirely new concept to life: Mother’s Provisions.
Located at 204 Main Street, the new venue will benefit from increased square-footage and, City-willing, outdoor seating. Mother’s Provisions will serve beer, wine (on draft and from bottles stored in a “wine cave”), cider, cold-brew coffee and numerous small-plate menu items, which can be consumed onsite along with charcuterie, cheese, confections and seasonal edibles procured from a variety of local purveyors. The space will have 20 taps dispensing MEBC beer as well as a large selection of ales and lagers from guest breweries. Seating options will include tables, standing rail-bars and multiple “lounge areas.”
“We are thrilled to bring this long-anticipated concept to life,” says MEBC vice president Kevin Hopkins. “Mother Earth is already a well-known anchor and attraction to the historic downtown Vista district. It is exciting to add to what is rapidly becoming a hospitality driven area.” Mother’s Provisions is currently under construction and scheduled to open in late summer. It is one of several locally based initiatives for the multi-state brewing company.
He went from his own butchery to his own brewery, and now Rey Knight is shining up his stainless steel armor with a revised operation that fuses his culinary and fermentation passions. That business will go by the name Finest Made Ales (9962 Prospect Ave., Suite E, Santee), and aim to produce beers that are ideally suited for beer-and-food pairing.
Work is currently underway to revamp the tasting room of Knight’s former interest, Butchers Brewing Company, to a state befitting its new identity. That space will debut to the public next month during a grand opening launch party. Eventually, charcuterie plates featuring Knight’s handiwork will be available in that sampling space. Prior to delving into brewing, he founded Knight’s Salumi. It was a cult favorite among local foodies that fizzled out far before its time.
Finest Made Ales’ launch party will take place on Friday, August 19 from 4 p.m. until closing. Ten taps’ worth of beer will be available along with food (that’s pairable, one would presume) from a variety of food trucks.
From the beginning, Jeff and Chris Silver put a great deal of effort into making the tasting room at their Rough Draft Brewing Company (8830 Recho Road, Mira Mesa) more than a cold, characterless afterthought. The duo crafted communal tables capable of being wheeled around to best fit the needs of the space and fashioned a lounge area with comfy couches back when many local breweries’ sampling spaces didn’t even have chairs. Still, something was missing for the Silvers—food. They were pleased with the comfort level and had mobile food vendors to help fill the gap, but they wanted to expand their amenities to include edibles produced on-site. The result is a simple but pleasing menu from a built-in kitchen that debuted this weekend and is available during most of the tasting room’s operating hours.
While the Silvers had relationships with multiple foodtrucks, they weren’t always able to count on those roving caterers’ services. It was imperative to them that visitors be able to rely on Rough Draft offering something to eat. The part food plays in enhancing the sensory experience of beer-tasting was also key in the decision. But installing a food component is easier said than done, and the couple knew that in order to do it correctly they would need to employ the services of a culinary professional with an understanding of craft beer. For that, they turned to Brandon Brooks, executive chef at downtown’s Quad AleHouse and veteran of numerous other suds-centric eateries and beer-and-food-pairing events.
Rough Draft’s Menu is not overly complicated. Approachable and marked by carefully selected ingredients chosen for their compatibility with the brewery’s beers, it’s designed to be complimentary without distracting from the fact that customers are at a brewery tasting room since ales are the name of the game for the Silvers. Meat and cheese boards feature venison and Berkshire pork salami from Carlsbad-based Angel Salumi, prosciutto aged for 24 months, Basque aged sheep’s milk cheese, Saint Andre triple cream, and Red Dragon Cheddar flavored with ale and mustard seeds. Grilled panini sandwiches and flatbreads topped with similarly gourmet charcuterie items and produce (bacon, honey and brie make their way between two pressed slices of bread while rolled dough is topped with smoked tomato jam, sopresatta, truffled salumi, white cheddar and mizuna greens dressed in aged balsamic vinegar). The Silvers hope to extend the kitchen’s hours to include lunch service in the near future.