Twice a year, I assess the work-in-progress brewing-company-owned projects throughout San Diego County and offer my thoughts on those that appear to have the most promise. This is the first post in a series of four, broken down by geography. This time around we’ll start with the southern part of the county, which for the first time since I began this bi-annual practice, is home to the most interesting trio of under-development venues anywhere.
TapRoom Beer Company | 2000 El Cajon Boulevard, North Park: The brothers behind Pacific Beach craft-beer-bar stalwart SD TapRoom will go from procuring and slinging ales and lagers to manufacturing them once their two-story North Park brewpub is constructed. That structure will have a fully visible brewhouse as well as a wealth of outdoor seating, but what gives it its best shot at instant success is the fact Bill Batten, a veteran of AleSmith Brewing Company and Mikkeller Brewing San Diego, will be in charge of beermaking operations.
Coronado Brewing Company | 535 Florence Street, Imperial Beach: As if acquiring Monkey Paw Brewing, helping its ex-head brewer launch SouthNorte Brewing and installing a kitchen at its Bay Park headquarters weren’t enough irons to have in the proverbial fire, CBC is constructing a brewpub within its half of IB’s Bikeway Village development. Proven brewing prowess and a prime location that will turn the heads of local and tourist pedestrians and bike-riders are big positives this veteran brewery operation should be able to build on.
Kairoa Brewing | 4601 Park Boulevard, University Heights: The team of New Zealanders behind Red House Pizza has taken over a neighboring building on the corner of Park and Madison Avenue and is in the process of converting it to a two-story brewpub that will serve a wide range of beer styles alongside cuisine with Kiwi appeal (think meat pies and sausage rolls) plus vegetarian and vegan fare. Though home to numerous watering holes, this will be University Heights’ first source for beer made within the neighborhood.
Those who’ve taken notice of the notice on the old Mueller building at the corner of Park Boulevard and Madison Avenue in University Heights have attempted to learn more about a work-in-progress brewing interest by the name of Long Cloud Brewing. For the most part, such fact-finding missions have been fruitless. There’s a good reason. There is no Long Cloud Brewing. There is, however, Kairoa Brewing Company. Turns out there was a business out there with a moniker similar enough that the team of family and friends behind Kairoa opted to rename their brewpub project while staying entirely true to their original vision.
In addition to all residing in University Heights, every member of Kairoa’s ownership hails from New Zealand. The Long Cloud name referred to the Maori (the country’s indigenous people) word for New Zealand, Aotearoa, which translates to “land of the long white cloud.” The new handle combines the names of two small towns on the country’s South Island: Kaikoura and Akaroa. But that’s not the only way they intend to sprinkle some of their shared heritage into the business. Ingredients native to New Zealand will be used in both the brewing (numerous hops and Manuka wood-smoked malt) and kitchen (lamb, green-lip mussels) operations.
Planned as a brewpub that will cater to families as well as beer enthusiast “without cramping eithers’ style,” the 4,500-square-foot, two-story venue will be outfitted with ground-level and rooftop bars. The latter will include a game area. Both will offer house beers from Kairoa’s 10-barrel brewhouse as well as its one-barrel pilot system. Those setups will be manned by Joe Peach, who has been brewing for 10 years and has local experience at Lightning Brewery and Bitter Brothers Brewing Company.
Beers brewed on the larger system will be mostly to-style, while small-batch creations will be more experimental. “New Zealand-inspired” takes on Pilsners, pale ales, smoked stouts and brown ales are part of the game plan, as are India pale ales, barrel-aged stouts and quality versions of lesser-appreciated styles. The Kairoa team projects it will produce between 400 and 600 barrels of beer in its first year, with most being sold across their own counters plus limited self-distribution.
Oliver Peach, who heads culinary operations at the group’s original business directly next-door, Red House Pizza, will also oversee the kitchen at Kairoa. His aim is to elevate standard bar food, including Kiwi classics such as meat pies, sausage rolls, and fish and chips. Realizing the diverse dietary needs of locals, he plans to make vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available as well.
The Kairoa team is excited to bring a family- and community-friendly concept to a historic site that has seen better days. They are currently awaiting approval of their plans from the City of San Diego, but if all goes as planned, they expect to open sometime in mid-2018.
From the Beer Writer: One goal of the West Coaster Beer of the Week is to help people discover special, high-quality beers they might not otherwise come across (and in some cases sadly find out about after they tap out). In the case of this week’s featured beer, there were plenty of people in the know and willing to point me in its direction. The day I was headed to the East Village’s Half Door Brewing Company, I shared my eventual destination with a pair of beer drinkers. Their eyes lit up as they blurted out the same thing: “Buzzwords!” It was the beer I was en route to sample. Nothing like finding out you’re on the right track. If you haven’t yet heard of this beer (or been keyed in by the aforementioned boisterous brew fans), allow me to introduce you to Half Door #Buzzwords. This highly-hopped pale ale revels in its en vogue nature (i.e., it’s hazy, bro). Pop-culture adjectives like “juicy” and “dank” fully apply, as the beer comes across more like grapefruit juice or a mimosa on the front-end, before a pleasant punch of pine finishes things out, reminding you that you are, in fact, enjoying a beer, and a delicious one at that. #Buzzwords revels in appealing to craft fans’ current tastes while staying true to traditional flavors from household-name hops.
From the Brewers: “#Buzzwords is our super-dank, 8.7% (alcohol-by-volume) India pale ale. It was the first hazy double IPA that we made, using a simple grain bill of Pilsner malt and flaked wheat. We use hops throughout the hot and cold side starting with mash-hopping, first wort hops and a generous dose in the whirlpool. On the cold side, depending on scheduling with yeast, we will either do one or two dry hops and the beer finishes around two-and-a-half to three pounds per barrel total. We ferment #Buzzwords with London Ale 3 yeast and adjust the water profile to a 2.5 to 1 ratio of chloride to sulfate. We mix as many hops as we have on hand but make sure to go heavy with Chinook or Simcoe, then balance using numerous hops of New Zealand origin, mostly Southern Cross and Motueka. The result is a beer with notes of tropical fruit…mostly pineapple and mango…plus some lingering pine and grapefruit citrus in the finish.”—Daniel Drayne, Head Brewer, Half Door Brewing Company
From the Beer Writer: You know that feeling when you arrive at a bar or a friend’s house and, before you can even say a word, you’re handed a beverage that you hastily take a sip of and instantly find yourself completely blown away by? Of course you do. It’s one of those magic moments beer-lovers live for: the exciting discovery of something brand new and exquisite. That happened to me last weekend at Dos Desperados Brewery. I arrived at that San Marcos establishment to help staff one of my Beer to the Rescue fundraising events and was greeted by a full pour of a lovely golden beer with a fluffy white head, Dos Desperados Nelson Lager. Happy to be there and off State Route 78, I dove right in…and fell in love. It was the perfect beer for the sunny day I was in the midst of—light in body yet big on hop and lager-yeast character in the nose and on the palate. The limestone and floral notes from the yeast dovetailed beautifully with vinous flavors from the Nelson Sauvin making up the beer’s entire hop-bill. It was simple yet special, so much that I could have spent hours drinking pint after pint, something that wouldn’t have been too tough given the beer’s 4.9% alcohol-by-volume stat. The recipe for this all-day pleaser (which, as good as it was, is only in its R&D phase) was developed with fellow San Marcos operation, Prodigy Brewing Company, with assistance from a noted lager expert at Mission Valley’s Gordon Biersch brewpub. I’m glad to report it will be on-tap and helping Beer to the Rescue tomorrow, and soon become a staple in Dos Desperados’ year-round portfolio.
From the Brewer: “Our Nelson Lager is a Prodigy Brewing, Gordon Biersch and Dos Desperados Brewery collaboration for Beer to the Rescue that benefits the Lupus Foundation of Southern California. A special thanks goes out to Dean Rouleau and Doug Hasker for this Czech-style lager with rich, crisp maltiness and freshly crushed gooseberry flavor—think Sauvignon Blanc grapes from New Zealand, which come care of the Nelson Sauvin hops we used.”—Steve Munson, Owner & Brewmaster, Dos Desperados Brewery