Last year, when attending a meeting of local cheesemaking club QuesoDiego, I met someone whose zeal for craftsmanship seeped like runny Cancoillotte from fromage into the fermentation arts. His name is Wes McCann and, while chatting over a sample of one of his homebrews, he shared that he was looking into going pro. He even had a pretty cool name picked out for his craft beer concern—Devil’s Forge Brewing Company.
Since that meeting, I’ve kept in touch with McCann. His original plan was to open his brewery in Santee. At the time, there was only one brewery in that municipality. Now, there are three. But McCann has branched out, even looking north of San Diego County in the process. There still aren’t any final details on where he’ll end up, but when he gets where he’s going, he won’t be alone.
McCann has merged his Devil’s Forge project with that of another homebrewer that’s going pro. The name of their new unified business will be Absolution Brewing Company. McCann will be the head brewer, and aims to start out with a five-barrel system and a first-year production goal of 1,000 barrels, with plans to expand to a 20- or 30-barrel brewhouse as soon it becomes feasible.
Presently, McCann and his partner plan to open Absolution before the end of the year. Their beers will be driven by traditional English styles, but amplified via West Coast hopping. The company will start out slowly, offering no more than a half-dozen beers at a time to keep things manageable and control quality early on.