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Posts Tagged university heights

Best San Diego Beer Futures: South

May 31

A mock-up for University Heights’ upcoming TapRoom Beer Co. brewpub

This is the last of a four-part series of posts noting some of the most promising future brewing projects currently under construction in San Diego County. So far, we’ve tackled the eastern, western and northern communities. Today, we’ll delve into the southerly portions of the county, where a great deal is going on of late.

TapRoom Beer Co., University Heights: Earlier this month, news broke that former AleSmith Brewing and Mikkeller Brewing San Diego brewer Bill Batten had signed on to help the owners of SD TapRoom bring a two-story brewpub concept to life on El Cajon Boulevard. Brewing and restaurant experience plus a shared devotion to local beer make this a project to watch. Batten plans to brew a mix of traditional and avant-garde beers.
Click here to read more about this project

Thr3e Punk Ales Brewing Co., Chula Vista: This business started out borrowing beer space from Finest Made Ales before securing a three-story building in the heart of the downtown Village area. A rock-themed tasting room will have stainless steel vessels jutting up from the basement and serve beers that, leading up to this point, have been well received by local craft-beer enthusiasts, all with a view of cross-street neighbors Chula Vista Brewery.
Click here to read more about this project

Coronado Brewing Co., Imperial Beach: CBC opened Imperial Beach’s first brewery-owned venue in 2014, but it’s about to upgrade after securing one of two twin buildings at the upcoming Bikeway Village. In addition to installing a brewpub with a 10-barrel brewhouse, distilling is also in the plans. While the project is under construction, CBC will setup a temporary outdoor tasting room accessible by a rotating fleet of mobile food vendors.
Click here to read more about this project

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SD TapRoom teaming with veteran brewer on brewery project

May 2

SD TapRoom celebrated its tenth anniversary in February. The bar and restaurant was one of the first businesses to champion the charge of craft beer in its home community of Pacific Beach. That area has a big reputation as a party-town fueled by happy hours and discount brews, so trying to adapt mostly young, non-affluent locals and college-age visitors to the glories of a higher-priced but abundantly superior artisan ales was challenging, but fraternal owners Kevin and Kyle Conover stuck with it and gained the respect of the brewing community and the drinkers it caters to in the process. Now, that duo is ready to take things a step further via a new project: TapRoom Beer Company.

Equipped with a seven-barrel brewhouse and 50 taps, this brewpub will be located at 2000 El Cajon Boulevard, on the corner of El Cajon and Florida Street in University Heights. The Conovers have wanted to get into brewing for some time. It took a year to select and secure the spot they have. It was important that they find a location that was right for a brewpub as they were not interested in running a production brewery. The Conovers aim to keep this business true to the spirit of their flagship, citing a focus on community as an attribute that will carry over from PB.

But what about the beer? That will be the charge of local brewing-industry veteran Bill Batten. Batten resigned from his post as head brewer at Miramar’s Mikkeller Brewing San Diego in March. He opened that operation after transitioning over from AleSmith Brewing Company, the interest he worked for from 2002 to 2016. AleSmith owners Peter and Vicky Zien hold a minority ownership stake in Mikkeller SD, so entrusting that business’ brewing operations to Batten was a logical step, making it all the more surprising that he would voluntarily walk away after 15 years of loyalty.

Batten cited creative differences with majority owner Mikkel Borg Bjergsø when announcing his departure, but the likelihood of encountering those at TapRoom Beer seems slim. The Conovers say they are looking forward to Batten unleashing his skill and creativity, and are excited to see the direction he takes their brewpub. According to the team, the venue’s beers will run the gamut from a style standpoint. Classic English-style extra special bitters to San Diego-style hop-bombs and a variety of experimental beers will all be explored, but creating a mix of traditional and innovative ales and lagers is the goal.

Key features of the two-story project include a beer-cellar that will be located on a top-level mezzanine that is visible to customers. Half of the total space’s 5,000 total square feet is outdoors, providing opportunities to enjoy San Diego beer in tandem with its amicable trademark weather. Beers will primarily be available on draft, with occasional releases of bottles and/or cans. TapRoom Brewing is slated for a December 2017 or January 2018 opening.

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November Events Sampler Flight: Best of Beer Week

Nov 1

sdbw_logoIf ever there were a month made for craft-beer revelry, November is it. San Diego Beer Week takes place from November 4-13 and includes literally hundreds of events throughout the county. They range from pint-nights to full-on festivals. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure of sorts, allowing beer-fans to tailor these ten days to their personal tastes. I urge everyone to have it your way, but in an effort to guide those looking for a good time as I see it, I’ve listed my dream Beer Week scenario below. Enjoy the hoppiest time of the year, but don’t forget there are plenty of other awesome events taking place before and after Beer Week. For the most comprehensive list of local events around, consult the constantly updated West Coaster events calendar.

Friday, November 4

  • Rare Beer Breakfast, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Escondido
  • 4-Year Anniversary & Barrel-Aged Bottle Release, Amplified Ale Works, Pacific Beach
  • VIP Brewer’s Takeover, Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier, Downtown

Saturday, November 5

  • Beer for Breakfast with Abnormal Beer Co., Small Bar, University Heights
  • San Diego Brewers Guild Festival, Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier, Downtown
  • Fall Brewing 2nd Anniversary with The Creepy Creeps, Casbah San Diego, Little Italy

Sunday, November 6

  • Modern Times Vegan Brunch, Churchill’s Pub & Grille, San Marcos
  • Barrel-Aged Vanilla Storm Bottle Release, Rip Current Brewing Company, North Park
  • The Bruery Beer Dinner, George’s at the Cove, La Jolla

Monday, November 7

  • Fishing with the Brewers; Fathom Bistro, Bail & Tackle; Shelter Island
  • Pink Boots Society Special Release, Rock Bottom, La Jolla
  • Brew, Views & Chews, Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, Harbor Island

Tuesday, November 8

  • Table Beer Tap Takeover, Benchmark Brewing Company, Grantville
  • Beer to the Rescue Bad Hombre Release, White Labs, Miramar
  • Chicks for Beer with Laura Ulrich, The High Dive, Bay Park

Wednesday, November 9

  • Sour Beer Fest, Intergalactic Brewing Company, Miramar
  • Speedway Grand Prix, AleSmith Brewing Company, Miramar
  • Tyson’s Big Ass Barrel Night, O’Brien’s Pub, Kearny Mesa

Thursday, November 10

  • San Diego County Beer Week Frisbee Golf Tourney, Morley Field & Hamilton’s Tavern, South Park
  • The New Kids Brewing & Distilling Festival, Marina Village, Mission Bay
  • Paradox Beer Dinner, The Bellows, San Marcos

Friday, November 11

  • We Got the Funk, Pizza Port, Ocean Beach
  • Battle of the Guilds, Toronado, North Park
  • Roll Out the Barrels, North Park Beer Co., North Park

Saturday, November 12

  • Stone AHA Rally, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Liberty Station
  • Carnitas’ Snack Shack Beer Brunch Buffet, Thorn St. Brewery, North Park
  • 2nd Anniversary Celebration, O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company, Scripps Ranch

Sunday, November 13

  • Danksauce & Dog Show, The Quartyard, East Village
  • Garage Sale with Garage Project, Sessions Public, Ocean Beach
  • Beer Garden, The Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla

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City shuts down Small Bar patio indefinitely

Sep 6
Small Bar owner Karen Barnett

Small Bar owner Karen Barnett

As its name suggests, popular local watering hole Small Bar (4628 Park Boulevard, University Heights) is, well…small. But al fresco relief from a tightly packed but enjoyably raucous interior is available on the outdoor patio. Or at least it used to be. Though the venue has offered patio-space to patrons since opening seven years ago, the City of San Diego has seen fit to have owner Karen Barnett shut it down completely, stating it was never permitted—despite City officials having conducted numerous inspections of the property before and after Small Bar opened and failing to note this. Adding to the oddity of it all, the City inspector who brought the patio-issue to light wasn’t even there to address this issue; they came to investigate an issue with the restaurant’s exhaust system after a neighbor complained about a wafting hamburger scent. That issue has since been fixed. Barnett wishes correcting the permitting issue was as easy, but despite her efforts to expeditiously submit permit applications, the City is requiring a hearing that they have yet to set a date for, and requiring the patio be closed until said hearing and approval. Many regular patrons and casual fans of Small Bar find this excessive and unreasonable. Supporters of Barnett and her business have gone so far as to launch an online petition to reopen the patio via and a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe to help with permitting fees and fines. To find out more about this complicated development, we sat down with Barnett to get her side of the issue.

What has the City required of you and what is the time-table for this issue being resolved?
Karen Barnett: The supervisor of the main contact for the case called me last Monday saying that neighbors were emailing photos of people on the patio, which was against their Civil Penalty Notice that I was issued in late-June. I was, apparently, incurring daily fines for staying open and not immediately shutting down, and in less than 75 days had accrued $30,000 in fines. That number would scare anyone, and I instructed the staff to shut the patio down. Friday morning I received an email from Code Enforcement informing me that a hearing is being scheduled, but no date has been set. I have no idea how drawn-out this process will be, but I hope to have all that is required of me [including permits and an initial deposit of roughly $3,000] submitted to the City this week.

What sort of permitting are you applying for?
KB: There are a couple of different things I’m going for. A “Sidewalk Café Permit” will simply allow customers to occupy the patio. I’m also seeking a “Neighborhood Use Permit”, which would allow customers to smoke on the patio, just as they’ve been doing for years. My ultimate goal is to expand into the space behind the building, creating a larger patio area with a second bar, allowing smokers and dogs. If I can accomplish that, then I will prohibit smoking on the front-patio to appease those who don’t like to walk past smokers or allow smoke to waft into the main bar.

What about this do you deem excessive or hurtful to your business?
KB: When you set out to build or construct anything, it is absolutely your responsibility to ensure you are up-to-code and following all rules. This patio was built at least five-to-seven years before I occupied the space. It was used by two businesses prior to Small Bar. Nobody goes into a home or business purchase, looks around and says, “Hey, I should call a City official to see if I owe them some money.” That’s crazy. Further, when you open a business, an inspector already has to come out to walk the site and make sure you are OK to open. So, with Small Bar and the previous business, at least two different inspectors could have looked at the site then and said, “Hey, there’s no permit on file for this patio.” We would have made sure we were in code from the get-go. Now, we’ve built this business over the years where regulars who live in the neighborhood visit my patio every day. It might sound silly to say they’re suffering because their local bar lost their patio, but they are. And I employ 30 people. With the patio down, I lose business. If I lose business that means the bar is slower and I need to cut shifts early, including kitchen hours. Therefore, staff across-the-board is losing money. We all have rent, some have children and families to support, and it’s a financial burden to us all. This is a huge hit to us all.

You’ve been outspoken about this development on social media. What exactly are you looking for from the City?
KB: All I’m asking for from the City is to be reasonable with our situation. They weren’t called out to Small Bar because someone fell of the patio or was injured due to poor construction or installation. They came out because some anonymous person who is hiding behind their telephone and computer can’t come meet with me like an adult and give me the chance to address their concerns. I should be allowed to operate just as I have for the past seven years, and go through all the paperwork and plan drawings, and pay fees to get in code. It should be noted that when I contacted the woman who is handling my case in Code Enforcement, who sent me the list of things I needed to correct, she flat-out refused to help me. I had questions about paperwork and what applied to my situation—some of the paperwork asks for names of contractors who performed the work and when it was worked on…which I have zero way of knowing—and her response was that it was not her job to understand it, just to ensure I turned it all in and adhered to their demands. She literally directed me to the website I had just told her I read and needed help with. It’s quite clear that the City does not care about me or my staff. They just want money. I pay my taxes. The entire situation is so disheartening.

On a more positive note, how has it been to have so much unsolicited support from the public?
KB: The support received has been absolutely overwhelming. While I have a Small Bar’s manager, Louis Mello, for operations support, I go home to an empty house and struggle alone with the challenges that a small-business owner faces every day. This entire situation has had me stressed out and full of anxiety. Reading the supportive comments on the petition, GoFundMe and Facebook pages from friends, people I’ve never even met, local business competitors, people from all over the world who have visited my little business, has brought me to tears multiple times. A thank-you doesn’t seem like enough.

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September Events Sampler Flight

Sep 1

golfIt’s another big month of beer festivals, brewery and bar anniversaries. Though we’ve assembled some of the higher-profile, better bets, there are far too many quality goings-on to get them all into one sampler flight. Luckily, you can keep up on all of the beery happenings on a continual event via West Coaster’s Events Page.

September 2-4 | Anniversaries Galore: You can get back to San Diego’s roots with The Roots at Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits’ 20th soiree at the Del Mar Racetrack, celebrate the first 12 months of RB brewery Second Chance Beer Company’s short-but-meaningful lifespan or hit up Toolbox Brewing Company in Vista and toast two years of fermentation with wild ales! | Various Locations, Dates & Times Vary

September 10 | Peter Reeves Memorial Sour Fest: As much as we want to remember loved ones who pass on, you can be sure they want such remembrance to be joyous rather than sorrowful. That’s the goal behind this annual event at Churchill’s Pub & Grille, which offers more than 50 sour beers in the name and memory of a dearly loved and missed friend. | Churchill’s Pub & Grille, 887 West San Marcos Boulevard, San Marcos, 11 a.m.

September 13-19 | 7th Anniversary Week: Full details are still being hammered out for Small Bar‘s seven-day celebration, but an Amplified Ale Works beer dinner featuring a playful menu stocked with ears both pig and frog will take place on the 13th as a lead-up to a 7th anniversary party that will be chock full of rare beers, including some stellar cellared sours. | Small Bar, 4628 Park Boulevard, University Heights, Times Vary

September 16 | San Diego Brewers Guild Golf Tournament: The guild representing San Diego’s long list of breweries does a great deal to advocate for them, and this is a fun way to help ensure the SDBG has the funds necessary to do the best job at that as possible. Spend a Friday on the greens drinking green (i.e., hoppy) beers and really regretting that whole calling-in-sick thing. | Rancho Bernardo Inn, 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive, Rancho Bernardo, 10 a.m.

September 24 | Hop Heads & Dreads: Craft beer and reggae are coming together at Harrah’s Resort Southern California. The musical-stylings of Stick Figure and RDGLDGRN will be on display along with a plethora of beers. Hops are both related to and smell a lot like certain other little green buds, so perhaps this is an even more natural pairing than one might at first think. | Harrah’s Resort Southern California, 777 Harrah’s Rincon Way, Valley Center, 2 p.m.

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