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Posts Tagged Mike Hess

San Diego’s satellite tasting room projects

Apr 19

The future home of Little Miss Brewing’s tasting room in OB (three doors down from Culture Brewing’s satellite)

Breweries make the best margin by far when selling their beer in their taprooms. With a county expansive as San Diego, getting customers to a single location can be a challenge, but the satellite tasting room model—one where a brewery opens a non-brewing sampling space in a geographically removed community—has proven quite successful in helping brewing companies reach new customers, move inventory and generate additional revenue. Many satellites have been sent into orbit throughout the county in recent years, and quite a few are in different states of planning at present. Here is a breakdown of such projects by the neighborhoods they may someday call home.

Bay Park: As announced earlier this week, Grantville-based Benchmark Brewing Company has signed a lease on a space. The family-run business had been exploring the prospect of opening a satellite in Oceanside, but ultimately decided to stay within the City of San Diego.

Carlsbad: A collective of artisans will someday share space with crops of produce, wine grapes and hops at the North 40 development. Numerous tenants have been reeled in over the past two years (and many have walked away), but Miramar’s AleSmith Brewing Company and Carmel Mountain’s Second Chance Beer Company are signed up, with the former hoping to sell house-made cheese with its beer.

Chula Vista: Fresh off the high of moving into Twisted Manzanita Ales’ former production brewery (and distillery) in Santee, Groundswell Brewing Company is working to open a sampling space on downtown Chula Vista’s main drag, Third Avenue…right across the street from soon-to-debut Thr3e Punk Ales Brewing Company.

Encinitas: Though a community that’s openly resisted brewery-owned venues, this beachy berg has two breweries slogging against the tide for space on Coast Highway 101: Point Loma’s Modern Times Beer Company (across from La Paloma Theatre) and Solana Beach’s Culture Brewing Company (next to Bier Garden of Encinitas).

Marina District: Developers have spent the better part of the past year curating a list of breweries to share space at The Headquarters at Seaport Village. Planned as a central courtyard surrounded by six identical yet uniquely appointed brewery tasting rooms, it has proven challenging for a variety of reasons, but would create a concept unique to San Diego.

Normal Heights: Longtime craft-beer champion Blind Lady Ale House will soon have some sudsy company in their ‘hood care of Miramar-based Little Miss Brewing, which is hard at work on two fun-and-games equipped tasting rooms within San Diego proper.

North Park: Another interest with two satellites in the works is Second Chance, who recently revealed plans to open a tasting room on 30th Street in North Park, across the street from popular beer-bar Toronado and doors down from the site of Ritual Kitchen, which announced last week that it will soon shut its doors after 10 years in business.

Ocean Beach: Little Miss Brewing’s other upcoming satellite will join the county’s most tasting room-dense community, on the same block as Belching Beaver Brewery, Culture, Helm’s Brewing Company and Kilowatt Brewing Company; and a short walk from OB Brewery and Pizza Port OB; and a quick drive from Mike Hess Brewing Company’s sampler.

Pacific Beach: Downtown’s Mission Brewery is geared to cash in on partygoers’ thirst for beer, installing a tasting room on Garnet Avenue where it intersects with Gresham Street. PB is currently without a brewery satellite after Twisted Manzanita’s closed down when the company folded last year.

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Second Chance Beer building North Park tasting room

Mar 13

Veteran brewer Marty Mendiola’s Carmel Mountain-based Second Chance Beer Company will open a satellite tasting room in North Park later this year. Coming in at 1,820 square feet with 24 taps, capacity for roughly 100 people and an outdoor patio, the venue will be located at 4045 30th Street, steps north and across the street from iconic beer bar, Toronado San Diego.

Mendiola and company are excited to be a part of one of San Diego’s most vibrant and beer-centric communities. When asked about the potential challenges of competing in a neighborhood that’s home to ten breweries and brewpubs (Barn Brewery, Eppig Brewing, Fall Brewing, Home Brewing, Mike Hess Brewing, North Park Beer, Pariah Brewing, Poor House Brewing, San Diego Brewing, Thorn St. Brewery), and four tasting room-only facilities (Belching Beaver Brewing, ChuckAlek Independent Brewers, Modern Times Beer and Rip Current Brewing), they respond with a list of counter-balancing advantages.

The Second Chance team selected North Park over other brewery-dense areas like Miramar because it’s a more attractive and user-friendly destination. In addition to beer producers and sampling spaces, there are multiple craft beer bars such as the aforementioned Toronado, and many restaurants that support local breweries. North Park’s walkability makes it easy for patrons to visit multiple spots. Perhaps the only thing Mendiola is worried about is fracturing solid relationships Second Chance has with bars and eateries who might view their sampling space as competition.

“We are very thankful to the pioneers who established craft beer-centered bars and restaurants in the area. We have always enjoyed frequenting them,” says Mendiola’s wife and Second Chance chief legal officer Virginia Morrison. “In fact, mine and Marty’s first date was at The Ritual. We will continue to recommend them and work to make our tap-room a complimentary addition to North Park.”

The opportunity to reach a large new group of potential customers skewing to wildly different demographics than those in Carmel Mountain is the prime motivation in joining the North Park fold. Serving their clientele at the source is a key part of Second Chance’s philosophy. They are currently awaiting progress on the North 40 project that will provide the company a third venue in Carlsbad. Delays in that collective farm-to-table initiative allowed Second Chance the opportunity to explore additional expansion options.

The North Park tasting room will likely open to the public in August or September. Like its Carmel Mountain predecessor, it will offer a second chance at glory to previously used, reclaimed materials. The company intends to retain the services of an interior designer to further ensure the new spot sports a look that will appeal to North Park’s mix of residents and visitors.

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32 North adds Fall Brewing talent

Jul 19

32-North-Logo1Though small and not widely known just yet, 32 North Brewing Company (8655 Production Avenue, Miramar) is looking to push above its below-the-radar position in the San Diego brewing scene. The company has steadily upped its draft accounts over the past several months and, in May, debuted a satellite tasting-bar inside Liberty Station’s new Moniker General collective. But owner Steve Peterson wasn’t done there. In the past week, he picked up two known industry vets like an NBA GM sifting through the free-agent market.

First came Mike Mellow, a long-time local beer-sales force who recently left his post at North Park’s Fall Brewing Company. A mutual friend reached out to Peterson to tell him of Mellow’s availability. Over a four-day span, the pair hammered out an employment agreement. During those negotiations, Mellow shared with Peterson that Fall’s head brewer, Nick Ceniceros, was on the lookout for new opportunities as well. A meeting was scheduled and now Ceniceros will be in charge of 32 North’s brewing program.

Mellow is a San Diego veteran who held lead sales roles for Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Mission Brewery, Saint Archer Brewery and Mike Hess Brewing Company prior to Fall. Prior to Fall, Ceniceros worked as an assistant brewer with Green Flash Brewing Company after getting his start on the bottling line at Ballast Point. He will step onto a brew-deck vacated by former head-brewer Will Gallaspy, who took over for original 32 North brewer John Hunter, who is now with Bay Ho’s Bitter Brothers Brewing Company.

Additional fermentation tanks are currently on order as 32 North poises itself for increased production. Peterson is also readying for the introduction of three beers in 12-ounce cans. Those aluminum receptacles will be filled via a recently purchased in-house canning line.

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July Events Sampler Flight

Jun 30

hopconWhen the summer-sun and temperatures are both high, the time is right for quenching one’s thirst for both beer and good times. There’s no shortage of either to partake in this month, so take a gander at some of these premier events, then search our full events page for even more sudsy fun in the sun.

July 20 | Hop-Con 4.0: It’s a bird, it’s a plane…no, it’s nerds of all types (but mostly the comic, sci-fi and beer variety) will descend on the outdoor portion of Stone Brewing’s Liberty Station brewpub. Some will don capes, tights, masks and other Comic-Con-esque regalia, but all will indulge in special beers (including this year’s high-ABV w00tstout), food pairings, retro-arcade games and orations from celebrity guests. | Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, 2816 Historic Decatur Road, #116, Point Loma, 8 p.m.

July 23 | Christmas in July: The monastic theme of San Marcos’ The Lost Abbey extends to the generosity of the souls within. Each year, the brewery releases bourbon barrel-aged versions of its imperial stout, Santa’s Little Helper, pitch a “giving-tree” and hold a toy-drive benefiting underprivileged kids. Stock up on nice-insurance then visit the on-site Santa with your wish-list. | The Lost Abbey, 155 Mata Way, Suite 104, San Marcos, 11 a.m.

July 23 | Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival: Apparently, dressing up like comic-book and blockbuster movie characters is the thing to do come July, because this is the second beer-festival (see Hop-Con above) where it’s part of the game-plan. Come ready to rid the festival site of ales and lagers from more than 40 different breweries. Then consult the true heroes—Uber drivers.  | Waterfront Park; 1600 Pacific Highway; Downtown; 2:30 p.m., General Admission: 3:30 p.m.

July 23 | San Diego Brew Fest: Six years in and this fest is still Cushing it. Forgive and (hopefully) forget this terrible pun based on the street upon which this event will take place, and head out to yet another Liberty Station-based suds rally featuring dozens of beers ranging in origin from ultra-local to international. A variety of food-trucks will be on hand to lend extra locavorian appeal. | Ingram Plaza at Liberty Station, 2640 Cushing Rd., Point Loma, 12 p.m.

July 30 | Hess Fest: Mike Hess of—you guessed it—Mike Hess Brewing Company has lots of friends in the beer-biz. Rather than horde them and their wares to himself, every year he invites them to set up tents and pour for his patrons at an epic block-party that doesn’t disappoint. Make a day of it and enjoy brews spanning from SoCal out to the Arizona Wilderness. (Get it?) | Mike Hess Brewing Company, 3812 Grim Avenue, North Park; VIP: 12:30 p.m., General Admission: 1 p.m.

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Beer of the Week: Mike Hess Grapefruit Solis

Apr 29
Mike Hess Brewing's Grapefruit Solis IPA (photo courtesy Mike Hess Brewing)

Mike Hess Brewing’s Grapefruit Solis IPA (photo courtesy Mike Hess Brewing)

From the Beer Writer: Fruited beers are en vogue…again. In past iterations of this trend, which comes and goes, gaining more and more traction each time around, fruits have mostly appeared in lighter-bodied, lower-alcohol beers-styles such as blonde ales, wits and assorted lagers. Darker beers such as porters and stouts also get their fair share of fruiting, mostly with berries. This time around, it’s all about the IPA. (But seriously, when isn’t it all about the IPA?) IPAs packed with hops exhibiting citrus and tropical fruit flavors are being further amplified in those respects by actual citrus and tropical fruits. This week’s featured beer, Mike Hess Grapefruit Solis IPA, started off with grapefruit picked in a backyard. Such was the popularity of this beer at Mike Hess Brewing Company‘s trio of tasting bars, a domestic plot will no longer suffice. So, the grapefruits are sourced then processed at the North Park production brewery, which on days when the brew crew are zesting away, smells more like an orchard than a manufacturing site. All that aroma and flavor come through in the finished product, a fresh batch of which recently made it back out onto the market.

From the Brewer: “Seven years ago, Mike Hess was trying to convince his mother to try an IPA over her preferred stout. In an effort to persuade her, he suggested thinking of an IPA as carbonated grapefruit juice, and lo and behold, she is now an IPA enthusiast. Fast-forward to the summer of 2015 when Mike was solicited by a local business to create a specialty craft beer and it dawned on him he could create a grapefruit IPA using his flagship Solis recipe and adding fresh grapefruit from the backyard of his home in La Mesa. After picking hundreds of grapefruits from his tree with his children, Mike and his family hand-zested and squeezed the grapefruit to add to Solis #46. After perfecting the recipe, Grapefruit Solis was added to Mike Hess Brewing’s menu as a flagship beer using a combination of Nugget, Cascade and Citra hops with two-row, melanoidin and Vienna malts. Grapefruit Solis takes the best out of a traditional San Diego IPA and combines it with a well-rounded flavor profile brought out by the citrus in the grapefruit. This recipe is the perfect example of fruit-infused beer. We pack our hop-back with grapefruit zest just before fermentation and then, prior to packaging, we add in a dose of real grapefruit juice, doubling down for flavor-town. Light in color and dry in taste, this beer has a subtle malt component and a clean yeast profile. It’s like getting sacked in the face with a bag of grapefruit.”—Jason Stockberger, Head Brewer, Mike Hess Brewing Company

From the Bottle: Grapefruit Solis kicks it up a notch by taking our awesome San Diego style IPA and pumping it full of citrusy grapefruit goodness. No artificial flavors either—we’re talking real fruit. The hops are carefully selected to play off the zestiness, and the malt is subtle in the background. The result is dry, crisp and deliciously refreshing.

Edit: This post has been shortened to focus on The Beer of the Week.

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