Earlier this year, I named some of the upcoming brewery operations I was most excited about. That included big businesses like Pizza Port Bressi Ranch, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, Hess Brewing North Park, and Modern Times Beer, all of which have opened their doors. Today, I’m focusing the smallest of the top five, Nickel Beer Company (1485 Hollow Glen Road, Julian). Don’t let the size fool you. There’re serious chops behind what is now my second most anticipated work-in-progress.
Tom Nickel, popular as a World Beer Cup award-winning brewmaster at Pizza Port and Oggi’s as well as the owner of O’Brien’s Pub and West Coast Barbecue & Brews, will head brewing operations. He and his wife (and Jill-of-all-trades partner) Lindsey own a home in Julian, and have spent a great deal of time occupying it as they hammer out their brewery and tasting room a half-mile from the unincorporated town’s business and tourism core.
The brewery has been painted and trenched, and the electrical and plumbing systems were recently completed. The cold box is installed and fully operational, and the first load of equipment, which consists mostly of serving tanks, is in. The second load should arrive by this weekend. Additionally, high demand items like hops and assorted NBC merchandise are on order.
Nickel projects he will begin brewing in mid-September, which would put NBC on pace to debut sometime in October. The first three beers to come out of the brewhouse figure to be a hoppy pale ale, an India pale ale, and an American Stout. It’s a similar line-up to what he produced when brewing at Julian Brewing Company last year.
Unlike Nickel’s other ventures, NBC will not serve food, but the tasting room will welcome food trucks, including one owned by Santa Ysabel standout restaurant Jeremy’s on the Hill. The tasting room will also feature a patio as well as RV parking for travelers stopping over en route to or from the desert. Inside, there will be a dartboard and a foosball table, not surprising for a publican who’s obsessed with soccer and constructing a place that’s shaping up to be the structural embodiment of its creator.