Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Dec. 20
Beer Touring: Fezziwig's Brewing
The distance from the first stop on my tour to the next was less than a mile; a testament to how brewery-saturated San Diego County is becoming. Unlike the first place we visited, this one—Fezziwig’s Brewing Company (5621 Palmer Way, Suite C)—wasn’t yet open for business. This Carlsbad-based passion project of homebrewer Daniel Guy was originally scheduled to open in May, but that ETA has been moved back to late August.
So, what’s the hold-up? Opening a brewery can be a real pain. There is a ton of work to do, and a plethora of permits to apply for and secure with multiple agencies. That process is made even more difficult when future neighbors call in to the police and agencies like the ABC (Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control), voicing concerns that your brewery will bring nothing but a terrible element to the neighborhood, wrecking it for all other businesses and the citizens of your fair city.
Guy has spent the past three months meeting with the Carlsbad PD and representatives of various governing agencies, and working to put their fears to rest. He reports that all involved were very understanding and even helpful once he had a chance to explain himself and his business. In the end, all that was necessary to move forward (albeit slowly) was making a few small concessions such as agreeing to not offer live entertainment, and accepting limitations on the hours he can stay open during his first year of operation.
It’s unfortunate when the largely misunderstood brewing industry becomes subject to this type of scrutiny based on something as simple as a couple of phone calls. It’s especially unfortunate when those calls are put in by individuals with familial ties to a competing Carlsbad brewery, which is what is rumored to have occurred in this case. Hopefully, this will be the last set of unnecessary hurdles for Fezziwig’s, which aims to bring something to Carlsbad that doesn’t already exist—a company producing mostly English-style ales with a SoCal bent that are, by-and-large, lower in alcohol so they can be enjoyed in greater quantity over a longer stretch of time.
In May, he debuted an IPA and a cream ale at the North Park Festival of the Arts. The former received favorable reviews from event-goers. To date, that has been the only appearance of Fezziwig’s beers, but when the company opens, look for a blonde ale, pale ale, session IPA, and porter to grace Guy's steam-punk logo-adorned pint glasses. He also plans to brew a beer made with seven-and-a-half pounds of boysenberry puree made from berries from his family’s North County farm.
Those beers will be produced in a three-and-a-half-barrel brewhouse in a columnar industrial suite that will also include a tasting room with an old English motif further decorated with six-by-six- or ten-by-ten-foot tiles decorated by different local artists, as well as large, long, communal tables fashioned by members of the North County Norwegian cultural groups associated with the annual Viking Festival in Vista. Before those are built, upturned barrels will provide a place for visitors to set down their glasses.
Conceptually, it sounds like an interestingly different and pleasant place to enjoy a beer, and one worth waiting for. It's too bad the beer-drinking public was forced to.