Interior of 32 North Brewing Company
8655 Production Avenue, Suite A, San Diego
The interior at Miramar's 32 North Brewing Company
I’ve met many new-brewery owners in my day. Sometimes, they’re so out of touch from a business or brewing standpoint that I fear for them. I recently had the opposite experience when meeting Steve Peterson, the owner of 32 North Brewing Company (8655 Production Avenue, Suite A, Miramar). His approach to bringing yet another new brewing operation to San Diego County is not only sound, but rather smart, and focused on constant birth and innovation. That means releasing new beers once or twice per month, but not just any beers. Boysenberry seawater gose, anyone? Perhaps a black rye saison or toasted coconut mild ale? These will join with a pale ale, IPA, milk stout and more to make for a well-rounded and consistently exciting beer portfolio.
The mantra at 32 North Brewing Company
Simply realizing the need for differentiation is important. Ditto the need for an experienced brewer capable of brewing good beer over a wide range of styles. To that end, Peterson hired ex-Karl Strauss Brewing Company research and development brewer John Hunter, who also logged time under the employ of yeast production company, White Labs. His biggest claim to fame, locally, is creating Karl Strauss’ Peanut Butter Cup Porter. It was such a hit that, this year, Uncle Karl’s releasing it in 22-ounce bottles, and a version of the beer will also be produced at 32 North. Together, Peterson and Hunter make an able duo that seems poised for success and leave little doubt that, though it has yet to open, 32 North belongs.
Peterson says he wants people to fall in love with his company rather than a beer. As an example, he cites consumers who drink copious amounts of Sculpin IPA, a wildly popular India pale ale from Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, but ignore the many other spectacular beers that company produces. Peterson wants his customers to grow to trust that the new and admittedly outlandish brews coming out of 32 North will be both worth seeking out and satisfying to their palates. Judging by the pair of beers I was able to sample during our meeting, such faith figures to be rewarded.
32 North Brewing Company boasts one of the best-looking overflow areas of any tasting room in San Diego
32 North’s 8% alcohol-by-volume (ABV), 90 IBU (they were shooting for just 68 international bittering units, but a happy accident boosted it considerably) Nautical Mile IPA is one of the best first-draft IPAs I’ve had from a new brewery in some time. Built on a base of Amarillo, Centennial, and Chinook hops, it’s designed to smell like a mile-long trek through a pine forest. Mostly thanks to the Chinook, that mission is accomplished. Woodsy aromas intermingle with notes of papaya and peach, while the beer itself is resinous with a light, pleasant sweetness and a sticky, piney aftertaste. On the other end of the spectrum, a 10.5% ABV imperial stout loaded with coffee smells of cinnamon, and tastes dry and java-y.
The aforementioned quaffs have me excited to taste more. The first opportunity for that will be this Friday, October 24, from 5 to 10 p.m., when 32 North celebrates its official opening. After that, the brewery’s tasting room will be open every day from 12 to 10 p.m. Beyond Day One, 32 North plans on canning come early 2015. Hunter is also funneling beers, including an imperial Berliner weisse, into a stock of 62 barrels (40 red wine, 20 whiskey, two tequila) for oak-aged special-release beers that will be bottled and sold down the road.