Joseph O'Brien 2 p.m., May 25
Beer Week Basics: Fezziwig's
Concluding this week's getting-to-know-you five-parter with a look at rookie Fezziwig's Brewing Company.
Here we are, on our final stop on this San Diego Beer Week-inspired series of posts devoted to telling the tales of local brewing companies. Yesterday’s entry was about New English Brewing Company, a brewery aiming to bring English-style ales to San Diego; something a lot of local operations aren’t doing. Quite the opposite, in fact. San Diego’s greatest successes have come from bucking the English trend, trading malt for more hops and super-charging pale ales, porters, stouts, and the like. Today’s spotlighted business is also reviving English styles, but in a notably different way. They are Fezziwig’s Brewing Company.
The Basics: Never heard of Fezziwig’s? You’re in the majority. The North County brewery just opened, celebrating their official grand opening on October 27. As mentioned above, owner and brewer Daniel Guy is leading with taps pouring old English-style ales, but rather than devote his time and energy to trying to make them taste as though they were poured from a Westminster pub, he wants to take the best of both worlds—Britain and Southern California—and use West Coast panache to bring added flavor and approachable elements to his beers. His other defined ambition is to produce beers that are, for the most part, lower in alcohol; brews that can be enjoyed in greater quantity without bringing on heavy inebriation. By dialing things back, it would seem Guy is actually taking greater risks in a town where imperializing everything is the status quo, but offering beers that are different from the majority of other breweries is what will help to increase what the local beer scene has to offer overall, making that a welcome business plan.
The Beers: Fezziwig’s opened with a sextet of beers on-tap. The tamest of the bunch—and of nearly any beer in San Diego ABV-wise—is his 3.68% cream ale, Tiny Tim. Guy has a pair of India pale ales on, the British-tinged Ebenezer and a more floral IPA called Voyager. Rounding out the offerings are Darby Porter, Curmudgeon Barleywine, and Belle’s Ale, a thick mauve brew that looks more like rum punch than the boysenberry beer that it actually is.
One More Round: The arrival of Fezziwig’s brings the first-ever steampunk-themed brewery to San Diego County. Introduced via the company’s gear- and top hat-adorned logo, and driven home by creative interior design and era-specific costumes worn by Guy and his tasting room staff, it makes for fun immersion in a largely unexplored niche, and speaks even further to the originality at the core of the business.
Whereabouts: Guy’s center for steampunk and session ales is, like most small breweries, located in a business park (5621 Palmer Way, Suite C, Carlsbad)—but not just any business park. Fezziwig’s is in the same development as nearby nanobrewery On-The-Tracks Brewery. Can one park support two businesses? Impossible to say for sure, but it is interesting to see the county reaching the level of suds saturation where two brewhouses are located within such close geographic proximity of each other. Only in San Diego.