|South Park Brewing Co. on 30th Street is one of a host of popular brewery operations debuting in|
the first half of 2015 in Greater San Diego.
Unlike in previous years, these operations veer toward the smaller side and aren’t the kind of projects that have been waited on with bated breath by craft enthusiasts a la Bagby Beer Co. and Fall Brewing Company. With the exception of three of the dozen members of the class of 2015, they barely had time to build anticipation.
For the most part, all of them either flew under the radar during the planning stages or came online so fast that shortly after they became public knowledge, they opened their doors. Only East Village brewpub Half Door Brewing Co., slow-to-construct Pacific Islander Beer Co. gluten-reduced operation Duck Foot Brewing Company, and foudre-enhanced Prodigy Brewing Company occupied the beer sect’s consciousness for more than 12 months before becoming a reality.
But did the extra time result in a better end result? Not necessarily. In surveying the field, there are as many hares as there are tortoises. This is how the best of this brewer’s dozen shakes out…
The bar gives way to the brewhouse at South Park Brewing Co.
Duck Foot Brewing Co.: Reducing gluten in his brewery’s offerings was big for Matt Delvecchio, not because of dietary fads, but because he is legitimately gluten-intolerant and doesn’t want others who are to have to forego craft beer. Fortunately, stripping away the gluten has zero effect on the flavor, texture or aroma of this Miramar company’s beers, which tackle nearly every style around..
Abnormal Beer Co.: Built within Rancho Bernardo’s The Cork and Craft restaurant, brewer Derek Gallanosa‘s balanced beers toe the line with conventional styles and modern-day drinkers’ taste preferences. Early brews were low on body, but subsequent batches have shown improvement in this area. Bonus: The Cork and Craft throw outrageously good monthly beer-pairing dinners.
Half Door Brewing Co.: A homey, heartfelt refuge a block from Petco Park, this family-run operation leans on knowledge Brewmaster Dan Drayne picked up at the Siebel Institute and Coronado Brewing Co. before taking the reins of his own two-story brewery. Beers celebrating the Draynes’ Irish heritage are solid and backed ably by ales paying homage to San Diego’s hop addiction.
NOTE: This list does not include new spots owned and operated by established breweries such as AleSmith Brewing Co.’s new facility and its Observation Room, Green Flash Brewing Co.‘s Cellar 3 barrel-aging warehouse and tasting room, The Lost Abbey’s Cardiff Confessional or Alpine Beer Co.’s recently opened Tavern Road pub.
Not surprisingly, the companies experiencing more brewery success employ brewers with industry experience (though to varying degrees, and Duck Foot has also brought on an award-winning homebrewer). The majority of the other eight represent amateur brewers entering the professional ranks. Though interesting, this year’s crop lacks a runaway, must-visit new brewery.