When the owners of the Urge Gastropub family of North San Diego County restaurants decided to add a brewing component to its portfolio, it went with the name Mason Ale Works and appointed a former head brewer from San Marcos ' The Lost Abbey to head its fermentation program. That individual has since moved on. When replacing him, the business hired yet another former head brewer from San Marcos' The Lost Abbey. His name is Matt Webster and he's looking to honor the beers that are already in place while adding in a bit of his personal X factor.
PACIFIC: How are you putting your stamp on Mason Ale Works?
Matt Webster: My predecessors have done an awesome job putting an impressive lineup of beers in place. With the brewing background I possess, we hope to continue making San Diegans proud with our hop-forward offerings, while keeping a focus on ensuring we offer a quality product. Plus, I can't wait to fill some barrels so that we can bring beer lovers some new, provocative barrel-aged brews.
What are some of the most exciting aspects of your new gig?
I am stoked for the arrival of our (upcoming, large and multifaceted San Marcos brewpub), Urge Common House. This project has unlimited potential because it will have so much cool stuff under one roof. Not only will the brewery be there, but it will include a 350-seat restaurant, beer garden and eight-lane bowling alley. Urge Common House will allow Mason Ale Works the capability to not only provide more draft to more places, but we will also be canning beer for the market from this location.
Mason Ale Works
Address: 2002 S. Coast Hwy., Oceanside (Located inside Urge Gastropub & Whiskey Bank; brewery tours by appointment only)
What exciting things are happening on the horizon for Mason Ale Works?
We are on schedule to start brewing in San Marcos any day now, with the doors to the bar-and-restaurant component opening in March. Soon after that, we will look to expand the "Mason Snale Works" barrel program and start getting some wild-beer into barrels. There will be some funky one-offs, and that's exciting for all of us.
Who do you consider your top brewing-industry mentor?
The Lost Abbey director of brewer operations, Tomme Arthur, has taught me infinite amounts about making amazing beers. I would not be the brewer I am today without his guidance and I will always be his No. 1 fan.
What are some of your favorite local breweries?
You really put a local brewer on the spot when you ask this type of question. I will always have a soft spot for The Lost Abbey; so many great offerings. Pizza Port has so much talent and history. We live next door to Karl Strauss, and their Mosaic Session Ale is the bomb. Alpine - 'nuff said. And I could make an argument that every beer that Societe makes is the best of that style in town.