After running a successful Kickstarter campaign that utilized an ugly-sweater party as their kickoff event, Jonathan Barbarin and business partner Bill Lindsay are taking the final steps necessary to bring their Miramar-based Thunderhawk Alements to life. With any luck, Santa will fulfill the duo’s wish for a December 2015 opening.
Brandon Hernandez: Where did the idea for Thunderhawk Alements come about?
JONATHAN BARBARIN: Me and my lifelong friend, Bill, started brewing together five years ago. At that point, we never imagined opening a brewery. We were just craft fans curious enough to create our own beer. As our homebrewing ramped up, we needed somewhere for the beer to go, so we threw an ugly-Christmas-sweater party and served it to family and friends. After getting great feedback, we started brewing even more. The party became an annual event that kept growing in size. In 2014, we decided to start a brewery and used the party as a crowdfunding launch that raised $19,400. It was the confidence booster we needed.
How did you come up with your company name?
It was a cold, foggy December night in OB. A couple of homebrewers were huddled around a brew kettle, trying to stay warm whilst waiting for their concoction to hit the boil point so the sweet green wave of hops could be unleashed into the brew. Cheerful banter was suddenly overwhelmed by a roaring, thunderous sound from above. They looked up to see red lights cutting through the foggy night. One of the brewers threw his arms in the air and yelled “All hail the mighty Thunderhawk!” At that moment, they knew brewing was their calling - that their primal labor was of the righteous and pure variety.
What will be Thunderhawk’s brewing M.O.?
Our beer culture is a celebration of the American West. We will have innovative and diverse beers, some brewed in stylistically traditional manners, such as our core lineup consisting of a Dunkelweiss, ESB, Milk Stout and a San Diego Pale Ale. Beyond the core beers, we want to let our imaginations run wild and create unique beers that utilize locally sourced ingredients. I don’t want to give too much away, but honey, ginger, coffee, oak and pomegranate will all be part of the taste experience of our beers. Our goal is to keep the adventurous drinkers guessing and coming back for more.
Describe how yours is an environmentally conscious operation.
A big part of our culture is to operate in a very environmentally friendly way. We hoped to minimize our footprint by first choosing an electric system that we are working on pairing with a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. That probably won’t happen day one, as we want to measure our electrical usage for a few months to assess the PV system size needed. We are also installing some simple water-monitoring devices to keep track of our usage and, hopefully, get our water-to-beer ratio
as low as possible without having a full-on water treatment facility on-site. We truly believe every little decision to help the environment helps in the global picture.