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.
The satellite tasting room model continues to thrive in San Diego County, providing brewing companies greater geographical reach than ever before. The next business to go this route will be Iron Fist Brewing Company. The Vista-based, hop and Belgian ale enthusiasts are close to opening the doors to a tasting room in Barrio Logan that will be a sudsy cornerstone of the neighborhood’s new Mercado del Barrio mixed-use development.
Located at 1985 National Avenue, with apartment units directly above it and retail spaces below, the tasting room will offer 3,000 square feet of interior space as well as an additional 800 square feet on an outdoor patio. More than 30 taps will dispense Iron Fist’s core beers plus as many specialties and one-offs as the Vista brewery can brew. Those offerings figure to rotate regularly to keep the tasting experience interesting for patrons.
Outfitted with an industrial thematic punched up by textured treatments applied by Iron Fist co-owner Greg Sieminski (a painter by trade), the tasting room will be equipped with a large bar, plentiful seating and a room that can be rented out for special events. That unit has a ceiling built from reclaimed barrel wood and will remain accessible to the public whenever it is not being rented out. The kid- and dog-friendly space will also be used to host art shows and fundraisers and, though Iron Fist can’t book live entertainment during its first year of operation, The Mercado’s nearby outdoor stage can and will offer music.
The opportunity to snag this space came when Shea Properties approached Iron Fist. Knowing little about Barrio Logan, the brewery’s owners had initial reservations, but as they studied the area, they say they recognized the opportunity this venture presents, both for their company and the community. Key among the space’s plusses are the fact there is ample public parking and transportation, and it is only a few blocks from Petco Park, the San Diego Convention Center and the Gaslamp Quarter. Also close by is Mishmash Gourmet, a mobile culinary operation that will be installing a brick-and-mortar restaurant next door to Iron Fist.
The Barrio Logan tasting room’s grand opening is scheduled for July 24. Also in the works for Iron Fist is a venue at the all-artisanal, farm-to-table North 40 development in Carlsbad. A long-contemplated tasting room in Santaluz is still in the company’s plans but admittedly on the back-burner. On the beer side, 2016 will see the launch of Iron Fist’s Velvet Glove Series, which will see brewmaster Brandon Sieminski infusing the company’s oatmeal imperial stout with different ingredients to produce vanilla-and-ghost-chile and coffee crème brûlée versions. Also on deck are more releases from the Ken Schmidt Aloha Brews Series based on beers from the local homebrewer of the same name. Up next will be his very popular coconut, macadamia nut and coffee imperial porter, which was first professionally brewed by Stone Brewing Co. in 2009.