1495 Poinsettia Avenue #148, Vista
When it comes to breweries, Vista’s motto is “come one, come all.” The City has embraced the budding craft beer industry and is currently home to 10 operating brewhouses. Come the end of the month, the founders of Toolbox Brewing Company (1495 Poinsettia Avenue, Suite 148, Vista) hope to uptick that sum. At present, brewmaster Peter Perrecone is hard at work producing the opening day lineup of beers, which will include the tart lactobacillus- and Brettanomyces-stoked saison, West Coast IPA (hoped with Amarillo, Mosaic, and Zythos), and Brett IPA he was brewing the weekend I visited him and owners Spencer Peters and Amanda Elder. Peters says if it were up to him, he’d probably brew all IPAs, but Perrecone brings some variety to the table. The rest of the first-run beers should include a session IPA, imperial milk stout, and maybe some fruit-infused beers, as well. Variety, indeed.
Peters and Elder got hooked up with Perrecone, much in the way many local suds enthusiasts meet, over beer. Peters was hanging out at San Marcos beer haven Churchill’s Pub & Grille, sharing his homebrews and ambition for opening a brewing company with local beer fan, and accounting consultant to numerous local breweries, Matt Dolman. Dolman told him he should hang out with an exceptional homebrewer he knew named Peter. Not long after, Peters took in Pizza Port’s annual Strong Ale Fest and, by happenstance, ran into Perrecone. They talked beer and got along very well. Eventually, after trying each other’s homebrews, Peters decided he liked Perrecone’s better, and asked him to be Toolbox’s brewmaster.
Fast forward and the duo are spending every waking moment brewing on much larger equipment while chipping away at the construction of Toolbox’s tasting bar, which is coming along nicely, but also slowly. The founders are tackling every aspect of it themselves, self-funding the operation, which means handling whatever they can afford to handle in the most logical order. That’s not to say they haven’t had any help, though. Peters says Societe Brewing Company held hops for them in their refrigerated storage space for six months. Also, neighboring businesses, Belching Beaver Brewery, Iron Fist Brewing Company, and Pizza Port Bressi Ranch, answered a plethora of questions for the aspiring beermakers.
When I visited, the tasting room had yet to be completed, but there were enough interior touches added to get a feel for what the place will become. There’s a definite handyman theme going on, with tap handles manufactured from assorted tools and altimeters. The tables and stools also convey the workman’s motif with gears that allow the round high tables to be lowered and accessible to visitors in wheelchairs (which is absolutely cool). Giant bottle cap-topped stools bring in the beeriness while the other half of Toolbox’s theme — honoring San Diego’s military history and personnel — is conveyed via assorted Armed Forces flags and pin-up posters. Toolbox has promise from a design aspect, but even more so from a beer standpoint thanks to Perrecone’s award-winning recipes. Here’s to hoping they translate successfully to his new, pro-style digs.