"We wanted to create the environment where we wanted to drink, with people that have the same sentiment."
- Ray Astamendi, Fall Brewing
He is an experienced brewmaster, graduate of the school of hard knocks, and undoubtedly one of the funniest people I've ever met. Ray Astamendi had me in stitches over delicious beers at Fall Brewing Co. (The battle to keep stout from coming through my nose was waged).
After starting two successful breweries, Saint Archer and Mission Brewing (where he won Great American Beer Festival gold and bronze in 2007), Astamendi opened Fall in November 2014 with Dave Lively, who also worked at the breweries and shared a common ethos.
Fall, opened on a shoestring budget, is an R&D brewhouse complete with touch screens, giving them the ability to precisely dial in and recreate their beer, including their most popular, Plenty for All pilsner.
"I can do all of the beers I've always wanted to do or those I wasn't able to brew at other breweries," Astamendi said. With clever names for beers like Unicorn Stampede, Interpretive Dance Squad and Speedo's Tiki Love God, Fall in North Park doesn't suffer from an insipid personality.
Q: How old were you when you took your first drink?
Q: When did you brew your first beer?
A: 18. I've spent over half my life brewing beer.
Q: What would you be doing if you weren't doing this?
A: I'm not going to say porn ... no, motivational speaking.
Q: If you could have one superpower?
A: Make everyone use their blinker. I think I could solve the world's problems if everyone just used their blinker.
Q: What is your idea of happiness?
A: Being able to do what I want to do, how I want to it, when I want to do it. Or ... just never putting on a tie.
Q: What makes you laugh?
A: Dolphin tattoos.
Q: Greatest honor?
A: I'm not dead yet.
Q: If it's not a beer, what are you drinking?
Q: One wish?
A: World peace.
Q: Favorite vacation spot?
Q: Desert island music?
A: Bluegrass. No, no, polka.
Q: What is your personal mantra?
A: Thank you, may I have another?
Q: If you could invite three people living or dead to dinner, who would they be?
A: Johnny Cash, George Carlin, Elizabeth Warren
Q: Your last meal on earth?
A: Beer. I was a portly child.
Stop by Fall Brewing for guaranteed laughs, killer music, and what community truly feels like. Mouthwatering vittles arrive each day of the week via food trucks, including Taco Tuesdays, Burger Wednesdays, Craft Sausage and Beer Fridays, and Pizza Sundays. Fall fans stay tuned for exciting news about distribution and bottling, but in the meantime, grab your growlers or check out Fall brews at any of 160 locations around San Diego.
With 18 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 850 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to email@example.com.