Last year, Indian Joe Brewing disappeared from the Vista brewing scene, despite having amassed a sizeable cult following. No, brewmeister Max Moran didn’t run low on passion or capital - he ran out of time with his landlord. Rather than rush into whatever space he could find after closing the only place his young nano-brewery had ever called home, he spent the majority of 2015 entertaining offers from San Diego County municipalities eager to lure him to their area. In the end, he decided to return to Vista, taking over a much larger facility right off State Route 78, which will allow Indian Joe to climb the entrepreneurial totem pole to levels heretofore unreached.
Brandon Herna?ndez: When and where will Indian Joe resurface?
MAX MORAN: We hope to reopen the first quarter of this year in our new place, which is awesome. We are right on the Hop Highway, in a two-story space that’s five times as large as our last location. Guests who frequented our last location can expect the same kind of experience, plus growlers and bottles. For those who never had the chance, they can expect amazing beers, great ambience and a comfortable atmosphere with seating both indoors and out, plus food.
What are some of the advantages of the new space?
The ability to produce beer on a larger scale so that we can sell it to-go. Back at the old place, we’d have tapped out of most of our beers way too quickly if we’d offered any in growlers. But now, we’re brewing on an over-sized, 15-barrel brew system, so we can sell take- home beer. Also, fans of the brewery will be able to find our beer on- tap at selective local eateries and liquor stores.
What sorts of beers will you have on tap when you open?
We plan on having more than 28 taps featuring our India pale ales, red ales, stouts, sours, wheat beers, pumpkin ales, barrel-aged beers, gluten- free beers and some other unique beers, too. Our aim is to have something for everyone.
With San Diego County as your oyster, and municipalities vying to get you to their communities, what led you back to Vista?
I am a Luiseno Indian. My family originated from this area and, plain and simple, Vista is a great community. Kevin Ham from the city’s Economic Development Department is who really kept us here, though. He has worked really hard to put Vista on the map, and a big part of that includes his work with local brewing companies.
Speaking of your heritage, how did you come up with the company’s name?
Growing up, I remember hearing stories of my uncle, “Indian Joe.” In the early 1900s, my uncle would brew his own beer with native ingredients like sage, elderberries, oats and buckwheat. My grandma and aunt remember hearing him popping bottles during Prohibition. He died before I was born, but I named my brewery Indian Joe in honor of him, a man I would love to have known.
Indian Joe Brewing
2123 Industrial Ct., Vista