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.
It’s been a work in progress for more than a year, and they already celebrate their future digs care of a Mexican-style brew called Barrio Lager, but now Thorn Street Brewery’s brewing and cellaring equipment has arrived at its satellite facility in Barrio Logan. While the brewhouse is a month or so from being put to use, this is a significant milestone and the current estimate for public-debut of the venue’s tasting room is June.
Located at 1735 National Avenue, the 10,500-square-foot brewery is equipped with a 30-barrel brew system with a mix of 30-, 60- and 120-barrel fermenters. This will significantly increase Thorn Street’s production capacity to the tune of 30,000 barrels annually, allowing the formerly small operation ensconced in the quaint, two-story shell of a former North Park homebrew-supply store to grow beyond its humble, well-received beginnings. Thorn Street has signed on with Stone Brewing’s distribution company. The plan is to focus on San Diego County before considering new territories to go after.
But the brewery is only half the story here. Thorn Street also took over an identical warehouse next-door and has big plans for it that include the potential installation of a distillery, restaurant and retail collective. That’s a lot to fit into 10,500 square feet, but installation of a 6,000-square-foot outdoor patio is planned to help make room for the aforementioned concepts that are brought to fruition.
As for the brewery and its 750-square-foot tasting room, exact plans for opening festivities have yet to be finalized, but Thorn Street hopes to do something that really celebrates the community as well as the people and businesses who call it home. Something taking place in or for Chicano Park is something they would welcome. For now, it’s all about getting through the home-stretch; producing beer, finishing interiors and joining Border X Brewing and Iron Fist Brewing (who operate tasting rooms in the neighborhood) as Barrio Logan’s local-beer representatives by bringing the community its first brewery.
Last December, La Mesa welcomed its very first craft brewing company via the second coming of Bolt Brewery. By the end of the year, the municipality (which until recently prohibited the manufacture of alcoholic beverages within city limits) will have two brewing companies to call its own…and a distillery. Scheduled to open its doors in December, Depot Springs Beer Company is a work-in-progress within a shopping center at 9176 Fletcher Parkway.
It’s a large and ambitious project. In addition to a 15-barrel brewery, Depot Springs’ 20,000-square-foot footprint will include a full-scale restaurant as well as a distillery. The trio working to breathe life into this multi-faceted interest are real estate professional Aaron Dean, brewer Stuart Long and distiller Phillip Soto Mares. Dean’s family has owned the Depot Springs property for more than 50 years. After meeting Long and Mares, they decided to put the site to use on their joint venture.
Long homebrewed for several years before getting his professional start at Port Brewing Company / The Lost Abbey. From there, he moved to Bend, Oregon to become head brewer at Silver Moon Brewing. While there, he was responsible for a number of beers that medaled at the Great American Beer Festival. While he will be chiefly responsible for brewing Depot Springs’ line of “flavor-oriented American ales,” his distilling counterpart may prove a useful conspirator.
Long and Mares previously teamed to create two styles of agave beer that earned awards at the Spirits of Mexico tasting competition. Taught how to distill by his uncle at his hacienda in Jalisco, Mexico back in 1994, Mares has gone on to amass an impressive pedigree. He is a certified Master Distiller as well as a Maestro Catador (expert tequila taster) who has consulted on production of several tequila and mescal brands currently on the open market, and also logged time distilling rum.
On the restaurant side, Depot Springs will focus on fare that is competitively priced so as not to fall into the same trappings as restaurants with higher price points that have unsuccessfully attempted to enter the La Mesa market. The eatery will feature 30 taps serving a “limited” core lineup that will allow Long to experiment with a wide variety of rotating styles that will eventually include barrel-aged beers as well as sour ales.
Depot Springs’ annual beer production target is 6,000 barrels, with the majority of that inventory being sold on-site plus a small bit of nearby distribution. As the company grows, it will explore off-site brewing options to meet capacity issues that come about as it considers increased distribution via bottled or canned beer.
But there’s more to Depot Springs than homespun consumables. If executed as planned, it will provide more entertainment options than any brewery-owned venue in San Diego County. Aiming to be family-friendly, the business will feature a game room as well as a courtyard with a capacity of 500 and a stage on which to feature local music acts, show movies and display the works of local artists.