After nearly two years spent realizing the idea to expand its offerings via an extra-artisanal second line of beers, including an attempt to take over Mission Brewery Plaza as a site to produce those beers, Coronado Brewing Company has opted to pull the plug on that venture. Operating under the title Tusk and Grain, the supplemental line of beers was going to be operated as an independent second business under parent company CBC.
Company President Rick Chapman likened it to the manner in which niche small production brewery The Lost Abbey produces continental barrel-aged beers under the Pizza Port umbrella, but outside the standard parameters the parent company's brewpubs and its production brewing arm Port Brewing adhere to. That made it much easier to wrap one's head around the idea of the same brewing company producing beers under two separate names. But it turns out any time spent trying to understand that concept was for naught.
Last week, a series of internal happenings at Coronado Brewing led Chapman and company to put the brakes on Tusk and Grain. This was particularly surprising considering the CBC brewing staff had spent the past several months refining recipes and serving preliminary batches of the beers in their mainland tasting room (1205 Knoxville Street, Tecolote Canyon). Additionally, local company White Labs had developed a unique strain of yeast specifically for the new operation, and the first of the Tusk and Grain beers had begun popping up at local bars and restaurants.
It remains unknown, even to Chapman, whether those beers—an IPA called Loutish Madras, an ESB (extra special bitter) called East Kent Bitter, and a sweet milk stout called Black Hatchet—will be revived under the Coronado Brewing label. Already, CBC has been brewing up many styles of beer that, prior to opening their Tecolote Canyon facility, they never offered. So, it’s likely this artisanal line that never was won’t really be missed. But it seems like a bit of a missed opportunity all the same.