San Diego’s brewing scene is booming these days, and we in North County are lucky enough to experience the best of the boom right here in our own communities. Craft breweries, also known as microbreweries, are independently owned and produce small amounts of beer, allowing for higher quality and greater individualization than traditional breweries. Perhaps nowhere is this industry growing faster than in San Diego, which has become a beer-drinker’s dream destination – and not just for the beaches any more. Local breweries have been stepping into the international spotlight with their award-winning beers. The industry’s exhilarating growth shows no sign of slowing down. In celebration of the 6th Annual San Diego Beer Week last month, we’re excited to offer an insider’s look at the best breweries North County has to offer. The craft brewers we speak to have a huge variety of differences in technique and taste, but they all share a deep-rooted passion for their products. We invite you to read along and see what the buzz is all about.
IN THIS FEATURE:
• Local Beer Tasting Cheat Sheet
• Brewery Profiles
• San Diego Beer Industry Facts
• North County Brewery & Tap Room Directory
O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Co.
Ed O’Sullivan credits his family’s Irish heritage and California creativity for the success of O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Co. He and his brothers – Rob, Charlie, Jon, and Paul – formed the company in the spring of 2013. Ed, coming from a background in the biotech and finance industries, earned a professional brewer’s certificate at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) to prepare for running a brewery that combines science and artistry. “Our approach is to create thoughtful and cleverly constructed artisan craft ales and lagers that stimulate the palate and arouse the senses,” said Ed. “We will use science to control, monitor, and make intelligent decisions about our recipes and brewing process. We will respect tradition but pursue innovation and keep our thoughts and processes open to creativity.”
“We currently offer six beers, a wonderful refreshing West Coast pale ale, a nice delicate amber ale, a new-to-San Diego brown porter, a smoked porter, and a sweet stout,” he explained. “We are also planning to produce a red ale and an imperial stout, which will be available in January.” Further ahead, the brewery is also planning a number of special bottle releases for St. Patrick’s Day.
When asked the overall philosophy behind O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Co., Ed had only one answer: “Quality, quality, quality. In everything we do.” That quality is the result of caring and commitment from everyone involved with the company. “All our employees are part time and are passionate about brewing,” shared Ed. “Almost all of them are in the UCSD professional brewing certificate program.”
O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Co. is located at 9879 Hibert St. Suite F, San Diego, CA 92131. Visit www.osullivan-brothers.com to learn more.
Abnormal Wine Company
Have you ever been intimidated while beer or wine tasting because you’re surrounded by snooty “experts” who make you feel inferior? 92127’s Abnormal Company has built their business around dismantling that attitude. Co-Owners Matthew DeLoach, James Malone, and Elvin Lai, friends and fellow Poway High School graduates, have made their urban brew and wine industry business – which now includes a new beer brewery, restaurant, and expanded winery – approachable, friendly, and fun!
The owners are especially excited about their newly opened restaurant, The Cork & Craft. James shared, “We all love good food, and there’s nothing quite like a delicious meal paired with a glass of wine or craft beer. We are so excited that this adventure has now led us into the action-packed craft beer and restaurant worlds!”
Abnormal Company is also proud to soon bring its customers in-house produced beers focused on drinkability in addition to the extensive tap and bottle list they currently have. Their glass-enclosed brewery is expected to be up and running by the end of the year. Abnormal Company intends to brew during restaurant hours to provide customers with a sense of artistry and display of their craft. According to Co-Owner Matthew, the company’s beer will be “gluten-reduced, flavorful enough to sit gently on the palate, and will pair perfectly with fare offered by The Cork & Craft.” As The Cork & Craft’s mission is to elevate the concept of comfort food to a gourmet experience, this new brewery will encourage customers to think a little more about what they are drinking, try out new beer and food pairings, and dare to step out into the abnormal.
For more information visit www.thecorkandcraft.com.
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Karl Strauss Brewing Company has been a San Diego staple since 1986, when renowned brewery consultant Karl Strauss was approached by his cousin Chris Cramer and business partner Matt Rattner to start their own microbrewery. This was before the San Diegan craft beer renaissance we’re enjoying today. Karl’s skill and passion as master brewer drove the project to achieve incredible successes and delicious beers, and that momentum continues to this day. He assisted in all aspects and details of the project, from designing the brewery and training the brewers, to creating recipes for the very first beers. He also implemented strict and dedicated quality control practices right away. Today the company’s brewers perform twenty-five individual tests before any beer goes to market to ensure that each one stands up to those high standards. Karl Strauss Brewing Company’s attention to quality and consistency had a ripple effect across the entire San Diegan beer community, and is partly responsible for the vibrancy of today’s industry.
Karl Strauss Brewing Company hit the North County scene in 1999 with the opening of its Carlsbad location on Armada Dr. Next to Legoland and the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort, Karl Strauss Carlsbad’s on-site microbrewery provides ten rotating beers on tap, a full-service bar, and brewery tours every day for the beer enthusiast and novice alike. The location also offers Cask Night every Thursday at 5 p.m. Every week the cask master strives to showcase a new creation that highlights unique and innovative flavors while still honoring the traditional techniques first implemented by Karl. Karl Strauss Carlsbad also offers a breakfast buffet every morning from 7 to 10:30 a.m. and happy hour occurs Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. To learn more about the brewery and its story of dedication, innovation, and tradition visit www.karlstrauss.com.
Green Flash Brewing Company
With the right conditions before sunset or sunrise, a green flash can be seen on the horizon. It’s said that the green flash makes the perfect ending to the perfect day. It is this perfection and uniqueness that formed the inspiration behind Green Flash Brewing Company. Green Flash Brewing Company started from modest beginnings in 2002 when it was established by Mike and Lisa Hinkley. Today, the duo leads a talented team of like-minded craft beer enthusiasts, who have crafted a number of award-winning beers available on draft and bottled. Every batch of beer at the Green Flash Brewing Company is a labor of love and is a true Green Flash collaboration.
The brewing company is most well known for their game changing West Coast IPA, however they also offer a wide assortment of specialty craft ales that are all uniquely Green Flash. With their esteemed Brewmaster Chuck Silva and his talented brewing team, new, experimental, limited-edition and seasonal offerings are constantly developed in addition to their long list of favorite brews.
Green Flash Brewing Company’s award-winning beers are available throughout the United States in bars, restaurants, and retail outlets. Visit www.greenflashbrew.com for more information.
Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
Ballast Point was born in the back room of Home Brew Mart, a supply store for home brewers owned by Jack White. In 1996, he teamed up with fellow home brewer Yuseff Cherney for a homegrown venture that would grow into the Ballast Point Brewery known and loved by San Diegans today. Ballast Point outgrew the back room and moved to its current Scripps Ranch location in 2004. Their efforts have produced internationally recognized results. At this year’s World Beer Cup, Ballast Point won a Gold Medal in the International Pale Ale Category for their Sculpin IPA, as well as a Bronze in the Aged Beer Category for their 2012 Aged Navigator Doppelbock.
The name Ballast Point and the names of most of their beers come from Jack and Yuseff’s other passion – fishing. The team takes this passion very seriously, and the business’ two award-winning sport fishing teams have proved that in competition.
In addition to mastering the arts of brewing and fishing, Jack and Yuseff have begun exploring the ancient craft of distilling. Seven Ballast Point spirits are now made and bottled at the same Scripps Ranch location. Check out www.ballastpoint.com for more.
DID YOU KNOW?
In 2011, brewers and brewpubs generated a $299.5 million direct economic impact in San Diego County.
The economic contribution of craft brewers is more than 1 ½ times greater than the economic impact of Comic-Con International,
San Diego’s largest annual convention.
Since 2011, the total number of craft breweries in the region has more than doubled.
The largest craft brewing event in the region is San Diego Beer Week, which features more than 500 events and lasts from early to mid-November. Beer Week brings more than 20,000 participants to San Diego County.
Sources: National University System Institute for Policy Research and the Brewers Association