With Benchmark Brewing Company celebrating its grand opening this weekend, many a craft beer fan will finally know where Grantville is on a map of San Diego. As it turns out, this is a good time for the ale intelligentsia to become acquainted with the Mission Valley neighborhood for, soon, it will be home to two breweries, thanks to the individuals behind Groundswell Brewing Company (6304 Riverdale Street, Grantville).
That duo, who just signed the lease on their building last week, consists of president Kevin Rhodes and brewmaster Nick Franchak. The latter has kept up an intense regiment of homebrewing for the past five years and is also a trained chef. Rhodes, who will provide Franchak with valuable brewing input, has been homebrewing for 25 years. But his knowledge of adult beverages doesn’t stop there. He has also earned an advanced certification in wine from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. Additionally, he has 20 years of restaurant management experience as well as eight years teaching Beverage and Management at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute, which figures to come in handy.
Even with three decades of combined experience, they will be reaching out to other professional brewers and award-winning homebrewers to help refine their recipes as they work to get their doors open, a formula that has proven helpful for many new breweries. Also helpful, is the fact that Groundswell will start out producing more standard styles of beer instead of swinging for the fences with other-worldly, avant-garde varieties. When they open, expect a blonde ale, red ale, brown ale, pale ale, stout and wheat beer, all coming in between 4.5 and 6.5% alcohol-by-volume.
The primary attributes Rhodes and Franchak aim to bring to their beers are balance and pairability with food. But that’s not all they’ll bring to the San Diego beerscape. In fact, it’s what they'll bring to the world that's one of the coolest facets of the upcoming business. Rhodes says they will fund fresh water initiatives for people in the world who need it and, through non-profit agencies that build wells or use other methods to clean water, they will work to help mitigate the lack of non-drinkable water globally.
Rhodes adds that beer’s main ingredient is water, so it seems the perfect way to give back by assisting people whose primary need is clean water. That perspective certainly adds dual meaning to the company’s tagline, “serving a thirsty world.”