In San Diego, award-winning, long-tenured brewers are treated like rock stars. Jeff Bagby (Bagby Beer, Pizza Port), Tomme Arthur (Lost Abbey, Port Brewing, Pizza Port), Chuck Silva (Green Flash Brewing), Peter Zien (AleSmith), Pat McIlhenney (Alpine Beer)... the list goes on and on. Such hero worship is merited and doled out appropriately... unless your name is Marty Mendiola. You’re probably wondering who the hell Marty Mendiola is — and that’s a shame. But with any luck, the opening of the upcoming Second Chance Beer Company will raise this talented brewer’s visibility.
Mendiola is a local brewmaster with more than 15 years of experience. He is a graduate of the UC Davis Master Brewers Program with 10 Great American Beer Festival medals and an impressive six World Beer Cup awards to his name. Those awards were doled out for myriad styles brewed at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery’s brewpub opposite the UCSD campus in La Jolla. On top of ascending the Rock Bottom hierarchy to the point where he oversaw brewing from San Diego to Denver, he’s also a former president of the San Diego Brewer’s Guild. Yet, he’s a virtual unknown in the beer world. The focus has never been on Mendiola. Rock Bottom is a big chain, and that leads to its links being overshadowed.
So, after many years punching the clock and helping make a name for his employers, Mendiola is moving on to brew for himself and build his own brand. Second Chance Beer Company is the vehicle for that. It will be located in the Rancho Bernardo area off Interstate 15 at Caminito Del Norte, and the name of the game where core beers are concerned will be “sessionable.” Those are the styles garnered he has awards for — English brown ale, Irish red ale, robust porter, and more. But he won’t limit himself. Hoppy, seasonal, and higher-alcohol styles will be explored as well... hopefully in tandem with a taste of some well-deserved and overdue name recognition.