Lucy D. Barker 6:13 p.m., May 23
It’s getting to the point where seeing a San Diego neighborhood without a brewery is an oddity akin to finding one without a taco shop. Such glaring voids are being filled at a rapid clip. One community that’s about to get an infusion of locally produced beer is Hillcrest. The partners behind Mo’s Universe—the hospitality group that includes Urban Mo’s Bar & Grill, Baja Betty’s and Gossip Grill—are constructing a brewpub called Hillcrest Brewing Company in a corner building in the small complex that houses Gossip Grill.
When I dropped by, the place was still under construction, but showed a great deal of potential, especially once I heard the owners' design plans. When complete, the space will feature a hexagon-shaped bar, open ceiling, cupula, and a 15-foot chandelier made using 70 22-ounce beer bottles. There will also be a 13-foot garage door leading to an L-shaped patio with steel communal tables and cushioned keg seats.
The brewhouse will be the domain of David White, a former animal trainer and homebrew enthusiast who prepared for his ascent to the professional stage by interning at Aztec Brewing Company in Vista. The seven-barrel system he’ll work off of is a “Frankenstein” setup he built himself that's capable of producing 14-barrel batches if necessary.
White describes his brewing style in two words—“mad scientist.” In addition to building his own machinery (including a kegerator for on-site parties and special events), he also builds beers that defy traditional styles and, instead, suit his personal tastes. Four will be on-hand when Hillcrest Brewing Company opens. The optimistic projected debut is May 15, but even if that doesn't come to pass, ownership expects to open no later than Memorial Day weekend.
The venue will be equipped with 24 taps to serve White’s beers as well as offerings from other craft breweries. On the food front, expect beer’s most popular edible companion—pizza. Theirs will be cooked up in double stone brick ovens.
Hillcrest Brewing Company will be located at 1458 University Avenue.