Mikkeller at AleSmith: a world-class brewer takes over a world-class brewery
Anyone who's spotted AleSmith-Mikkeller beers on tap around town within the past week already knows what was made official today: Danish rock-star brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø is making beer in Miramar.
9990 Alesmith Court, San Diego
One day after Stone Brewing officially began serving beer in Europe, AleSmith and Mikkeller announced Europe's best-known brewer will in fact start his first permanent production brewery here in San Diego. Announced in concept last February, the long awaited "creative partnership" between Bjergsø and AleSmith owner Peter Zien has been finalized at last. Among the new details emerging from today's press release is that the resulting company, Mikkeller San Diego, expects to open for business in the first quarter of 2016.
World renowned as the "gypsy brewer," Bjergsø made over 600 beers during his first eight years in business, all without without the benefit a dedicated facility. The closest he's had to a homebase is De Proefbrouwerij, a brewhouse-for-hire outside Belgian city Ghent, where he's brewed the majority of his globally in-demand beers. However, he's wandered the planet, brewing small quantities at the breweries of craft-beer companies he admires, including Indiana's 3 Floyds, Vermont's Hill Farmstead and Alaska's Anchorage Brewing.
Near the top of that list is AleSmith, which Bjergsø calls "one of the best breweries in the world." Zien is essentially handing Bjergsø the keys to AleSmith's original Miramar brewhouse — San Diego's second oldest. Zien will own a minority stake in Mikkeller San Diego and will initially oversee production there, along with many of his brew staff at that location, who will stay on to work for Mikkeller going forward.
This is not Mikkeller's first foray onto California soil, nor is it the first shared venture with an American brewery. San Francisco's Mikkeller Bar opened in 2013, with another announced for Los Angeles. Last April, Mikkeller partnered with 3 Floyds to open War Pigs brewpub in Bjergsø's hometown, Copenhagen.
However, having this dedicated 30-barrel brewhouse means the U.S. market could open wide. “People have always asked me when I’m going to open my own brewery, and my answer has always been ‘never,’" Bjergsø states in the press release. But, he goes on to note, "Having a stake in a U.S. brewery will change our position here." Though widely distributed, domestic availability of Mikkeller beers remain limited, and they sell at a premium. Mikkeller San Diego will issue many beers in bottles and cans, for national and international distribution.
Obviously, we'll have direct access to them all, beginning with the two Alesmith-Mikkeller collaborations — an IPA and American pale — plus an imperial porter up next. And as exciting as it is having one of the world's top brewing talents joining our community, just as thrilling may be the connections the itinerant beer star brings with him. Bjergsø's plan for the brewery includes inviting "respected brewers from all over the world to conceive and brew recipes that push the envelopes of what ales and lagers can be." In Miramar.