|Owner Cameron Ball of Helix Brewing Company, La Mesa CA with staff|
Editor’s note: Re-written and reposted with research from from West Coaster magazine’s website.
With the number of craft beer breweries now numbering more than 100, we’ve lost track of how many actually exist. Pardon our mental saw
dust as we do the math.
In the meantime, one thing is sure.
One more has been added in La Mesa, CA with last Saturday’s grand opening of the Helix Brewing Company (8101 Commercial Street). Helix is the second brewery in La Mesa with Bolt Brewery being the first.
Helix owner and brewer Cameron Ball grew up in La Mesa at a house located on the nearby Mt. Helix for which his fledgling brewery is named.
A civil engineer by trade, Ball will single-handedly craft every beer brewed on his 10-barrel system from Oregon’s Portland Kettle Works. He hopes to brew many styles in small batches, but wants to focus on making exceptional hoppy beers, rye-infused beers and session beers.
Now open, Helix offers eight beers will be on tap: an eponymous pale ale, hoppy red ale, session India pale ale (IPA), rye IPA, black rye IPA, chocolate rye porter, oatmeal stout and Bavarian weizen called Acid Drop. All come in under 7% alcohol-by-volume. Starting in autumn, Ball will brew one-time, rotating, seasonal double IPAs. Sour beers are also on the planned horizon.
Helix’s cellar consists of four 10-barrel fermenter tanks and four 10-barrel brights, with four of the tasting room’s dozen taps hooked up to serve directly from the latter for ultimate freshness. Of the 2,000 total square feet within Helix’s Interstate 8 and Bolt Brewery neighboring facility, half will be devoted to production and cold storage with the rest left for people to enjoy both the beer and the brewing process.
Ball says the only walls are in the restrooms, as he wanted visitors to be able to easily see into the brewery. When asked what led him to select his space, he replies simply that it’s “rad,” citing its brick composition, exposed wood trusses and 1,600 s.f. of available outdoor space for a future beer garden.
Ball is aiming to produce 350 barrels of beer in his first year of operation, and says that his current footprint can support a maximum of 3,500 barrels annually. Piping for planned future tanks has been put in place for ease of installation should the need for additional fermentation and conditioning space arise. Eventually, Helix will can, but in the beginning, self-distributed kegs will be doled out selectively to bars of Ball’s choosing.