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It seems like only yesterday I was venturing to North Park’s Ritual Tavern to get a taste of a brand new beer from a brand new brewery. And a brand new brewer for that matter...as far as I knew at the time, anyway. The beer was Mucho Aloha Hawaiian Pale Ale, and the brewer, Rey Knight. But it wasn’t yesterday. A check of the calendar shows it was May 2011 (where does the time go?).

It was the debut of the first beer from his Knight's Butcher’s Brewing and I was eager to try it, not just because it was a new San Diego beer and I’ve made it my business to keep up on all things new and fresh in the local beer scene, but because I knew Knight as an artisan through his former business, Knight Salumi Company. That night I found out that he’d been brewing for many years, and that his fine craftsmanship extended beyond the realm of animal parts.

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Mucho Aloha HPA remains a refreshing, citrusy go-to for me…and quite a few others it would seem. Butcher’s Brewery's much expanded line of beers is now available in hundreds of Southern California outlets. Through all that progress, Knight has not been able to officially associate himself with San Diego brewers due to the fact that his beer have been contract brewed at Bayhawk Ales in Irvine. It’s a shame, but all that’s about to change.

Last year, Santee’s Manzanita Brewing Company (10151 Prospect Avenue, Santee) moved into a larger facility, leaving their old combination brewhouse and tasting room unoccupied. At first, they considered converting the space into a craft distillery, but instead, they ended up selling it to Knight. That site will be the new home of Butcher’s Brewery, officially bringing Knight into the fold of the San Diego Brewers Guild, an organization he should fit into quite nicely.

Butcher’s Brewery will be located at 9962 Prospect Avenue, Suite E. Under Manzanita (which will be opening a distillery, but doing so next-door to their current facility), it was a hotspot for Santee residents in search of beer and good times, providing Knight a great opportunity to be successful straight out of the gate, even with the space’s original occupants just down the street.

Santee is also home to an Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co., and as reported last month, a homebrewer looking to join the pro ranks is working on opening his company, Devil’s Forge Brewing Company in Santee as well. Don’t look now, but the county’s easternmost municipality is embracing craft suds in a big way!

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