Many are the brewers and brewery personnel whose passion for music rivals their fervor for fermentation, but when analyzing the degree to which the musical bug has sunk its teeth into an entire business, no local operation is as afflicted as Amplified Ale Works. From the day it opened within its Pacific Beach kebaberie home, head brewer Cy Henley (you might not know it, but you’ve definitely shared space with him at a local live-music venue numerous times in your life) and company have driven home their love of aurally conveyed entertainment via beer names, apparel, graphics and more. So it’s no wonder that, when the estate of famed Motörhead front-man, Lemmy, sought a business to brew a beer commemorating the metal legend, they hit up Amplified.
Brewery owner and co-founder Alex Pierson was approached by a licensing firm last year. At first, he wasn’t 100% sold on the legitimacy of the company’s request, but when he ventured to an L.A. hotspot to meet with an entertainment exec, and that man was greeted with a knowing wave by star and recent Nobel laureate Bob Dylan, that gesture bolstered his faith level significantly. The two came to terms quickly, leading to Born to Lose IPA, a Citra-heavy India pale ale in the mid-6% ABV (alcohol-by-volume) range that takes cues from the recipe for Amplified’s Pig Nose Pale Ale. A prototype of the beer was on-tap at a Christmas Eve (its honoree’s birthday) release-party at famous West Hollywood live-music venue and Lemmy haunt, the Rainbow Bar & Grill, which now includes features a life-sized statue of Lemmy. A refined version of the beer is scheduled to come out in cans in February or March of this year, and a bourbon barrel-aged version of Amplified’s Belgian-style quadrupel is aging in bourbon barrels, waiting for its own Christmas Eve coming-out party later this year and a date with a bottling machine. That creation will be called Ace of Spades.
On the reunion tour front, Henley, Pierson and director of brewery operations Jeff Campbell spent a day collaborating at their Miramar brewhouse with Amplified co-founder JC Hill. Hill who now calls the coastal city of Monterey home and spends his time on the larger project he’s since moved on to, Alvarado Street Brewery. The fruits of the foursome’s enjoyable labors, Trois Cabrones (a name inspired by a classic album by The Melvins), will go on-tap at Amplified’s Miramar tasting room tomorrow, Thursday, January 12. The beer is a “hazy IPA” that had Summer and Nelson Sauvin hops added in the kettle, followed by Nelson and Mosaic in the whirlpool. It incorporates a combination of wheat, rice hulls and oats in its malt bill and was designed to smell and taste of big hops…and look like custard. The quartet admits this collaboration should have happened a long time ago. In an effort to make up for lost time, the Amplified crew will travel to north the last week of this month to brew the beer again at Alvarado Street, where it will be canned as well.
Thank God for the Internet. Thank God for WordPress. Well…thank God for the Internet, anyway. Were it not for the real-time publishing capabilities of the web, I wouldn’t have been able to turn on a dime and provide you a sneak-peek of Amplified Ale Works’ new Miramar brewery-tasting room facility (9030 Kenamar Drive, Suite 309, Miramar). All necessary governmental agency red-tape was finally sliced through yesterday, allowing the business to open at 3 p.m. TODAY.
Fans of Amplified’s live-music thematic will appreciate that the almighty Marshall amp is as respected as ever. Future tap-handles will come in the form of Marshall stacks with Amplified’s iconic “A” logo on top, and a giant Marshall amp façade frames the flat-screen beer-board, which features a dozen different offerings, including standards like Electrocution IPA, Electro-Lite session IPA, Bearded Guard Belian-style biere de garde and Sellout light lager. Also on tap is a new American wheat ale called Whammy Bar Wheat, which will debut right along with the new spot, and Centerpointe, a 4% alcohol-by-volume Belgian pale ale brewed collaboratively with next-door neighbors, Pure Project Brewing. And head brewer Cy Henley is now brewing with newly-hired director of brewery operations and Rip Current Brewing Company alum, Jeff Campbell.
Amplified and Pure Project’s facilities are mirror-images of each other, separated only by their interior design. Such is the concept behind H.G. Fenton’s Brewery Igniter model, which leases ready-to-brew spaces equipped with brewhouses, cellars, cold-storage and customizable tasting rooms. Amplified further brings in its musical devotion with guitar-shaped taster-flight holders, vintage concert posters, black-and-white photos of rock-and-roll acts, and a projector that will play live music performances as well as the occasional Padres game (or Chargers for as long as we have them).
The primary reason Amplified ownership invested in the Brewery Igniter space was to up the amount of beer it has to sell at its Pacific Beach brewpub and increase the amount of beer it can distribute to outside accounts. Fortunately, the Amplified put plenty of thought into this space as an outlet for reaching people and providing comfort as well as a taste of a taste of its beers. There is plenty of seating along the bar and each wall, plus a long, high-table in the center of the room. It’s more seating than I’d have thought the space would afford. See for yourself starting this afternoon!
Amplified Ale Work’s Miramar tasting room will be open Monday-Thursday from 3 to 9 p.m., Friday-Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. An official grand-opening event is planned for May 13.