By Juan Yossarian / Photos by Sara Norris
With a bevy of new breweries coming to some of the thirstier corners of the county, San Diego's persistent ranking among the top beer cities in the U.S. isn't likely to go flat anytime soon. As if 70-plus licensed suds makers weren't enough, here's a toast to an eight-pack of new breweries set to forge a head.
Modern Times Beer
3725 Greenwood St., Point Loma
Because it was founded by Jacob McKean, a former social media manager from Stone Brewing, Modern Times Beer was a big deal even before a single pint was poured. It became a bigger deal when the company raised $65,000 through a Kickstarter campaign that went viral thanks to a funny video McKean made. Meanwhile, says McKean, Modern Times Beer is working on an "u?ber eccentric" tasting room at its Point Loma brewing facility, where walls covered with comic book pages set the scene for a 16-tap bar constructed with used books. The new space is set to open in July.
Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment
(tasting room coming soon)
1795 Hancock St., Ste. P1, Midtown
Housed in the historic Mission Brewery building just east of the airport in Midtown, Acoustic Ales has been brewing on a 15-barrel system since last summer. Currently available at some 55 beer-centric locations around town, its suds will soon be available at its onsite, antique-accented tasting room slated to open this summer. Although Acoustic first began pouring at events in January, its Shake Your Moneymaker Honey Nut Brown Ale nabbed a gold medal at the 2013 San Diego International Beer Competition held at the San Diego County Fair in mid-June.
Benchmark Brewing Co.
6190 Fairmount Ave., Ste. G, Grantville
Set in an unpretentious commercial park east of Qualcomm Stadium, Benchmark is a new father/son project helmed by Matt Akin (the son), a graduate of the American Brewers Guild who spent nearly a decade churning out beers for AleSmith. The 100-person capacity tasting room opened its doors in June. Stop in Wednesdays through Sundays for session-able beers (low alcohol varieties that can be tasted for longer "sessions") that don't sacrifice on flavor.
BNS Brewing & Distilling
10960 Wheatlands Ave., Ste. 101, Santee
BNS is a combination homebrew store, tasting room, brewery and micro-distillery producing moonshine, white whiskey, bourbon and a lineup of politically tinged beers like Revolver American IPA, Gunfighter Golden Ale and Flintlock Black IPA. The brewers have yet to assess the strength of their beers, but with names like Gattling Gun Imperial Stout, you can be damn sure they'll mow you the eff down.
9962 Prospect Ave., Santee
The aptly named Butcher's Brewing is the fermentation project of Rey Knight, whose Knight Salumi Company once supplied some of the area's shmancier spots with meat. Formerly contract-brewed at a shared facility in Irvine, Butcher's Brewing's lineup is now produced at Manzanita's former production facility, where an on-site tasting room has been luring Santeeans in droves.
Culture Brewing Co.
111 Cedros Ave., Solana Beach
A few doors down from Belly Up Tavern, Culture Brewing Co.'s new, no-frills tasting room provides an alternative to its crowded and ultra-popular neighbor, Pizza Port Solana Beach. Culture's dozen taps dispense a rotating selection of beers, which patrons can quaff inside at the tasting bar, or outside, on a dog- and kid-friendly back patio bordering the train tracks.
Intergalactic Brewing Co.
9835 Carroll Centre Rd., Miramar
With a name that should make it the official brewery of Comic-Con, Intergalactic Brewing Co. is the outer space-themed passion project of a home-brewer and admitted nerd, Alex Van Horne. Visitors can expect a dozen taps to be pouring sessionable beers; special editions spiked with the likes of chilies, berries and herbs; and Star Wars-inspired concoctions like the Red Planet Rye, which won a gold medal at the 2013 San Diego International Beer Competition.
(tasting room coming soon)
3812 Grim Ave., North Park
San Diego's first nano-brewery, Hess Brewing, has officially expanded beyond the tiny garage in Miramar from which it has been operating since it opened in 2010. Working in a new facility with a new-fangled 30-barrel system, Hess brewers are now making in six days what they previously made in six months. The DIY-prone Hess brothers oversaw the retrofitting of their new 12,500 square-foot facility in North Park, where they'll be opening a tasting room by early August.