San Diego craft beer starting out 2016 with 8 new breweries expected the first half of the year.
The year 2015 has seen more than 20 new breweries open in San Diego. While it seems unlikely they'll crop up at such an unprecedented rate in 2016, these 8 new breweries plan to open during the first half of the year, so we won't be far off pace.
Bitter Brothers Brewing Co opening announced: January 2nd, Bay Ho. Bitter Brothers aims to be the first new brewery of 2016. Craft-industry vet Bill Warnke is launching the business with his homebrewing brother Kurt and events designer Monica Andresen. Balanced and richly flavored beers are to be expected, produced on a 15-barrel system overseen by head brewer John Hunter, previously of 32 North and Karl Strauss.
Pure Project target date: January 15th, Miramar. San Diegans Jess and Agi Pine tried starting a craft brewery in Costa Rica with friend Mat Robar, but when the infrastructure couldn't match their environmentalist intentions, they decided to pursue their vision in Miramar. They hired NoCal brewer Winslow Sawyer to operate a seven-barrel brewhouse with a mission to source sustainable ingredients whenever possible.
Burning Beard Brewing target date: mid January, El Cajon. Homebrewing pals Jeff Wiederkehr and Mike Maass are bringing another brewery to East County, launching with a 15-barrel brewhouse and a couple of 30-barrel foeders. The wild ales produced in the latter will take time to age, so Burning Beard's launch will feature classic styles from a brew team headed by Chris Brown, previously of Iron Fist, Rough Draft, and Butcher’s Brewing.
Thunderhawk Alements target date: mid February, Miramar. Jonathan Barbarin and Bill Lindsay have 14 years of homebrewing experience between them. Lindsay will head up the one-barrel electric system at the eastern end of Miramar. The duo hopes to power their brewhouse with solar energy and promise "bold, adventurous beers" incorporating both local and exotic ingredients.
Mikkeller San Diego target date: first quarter 2016, Miramar. No fixed date has been set for Mikkeller to formally open at AleSmith's former 30-barrel brewhouse and tasting room, but it's expected by the end of March. What styles of beer gypsy brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø plans to start with is anybody's guess.
North Park Beer Co target date: April 1, North Park. No fooling — award-winning homebrewer Kelsey McNair hopes to open his long anticipated brewery on April 1. Expect his 15-barrel brewhouse to turn out "dry, clean and exceptionally drinkable" beers in a range of styles on top of the hoppy IPAs he's known for. Expect this first tasting room to be outfitted by restaurant-design ace Paul Basile to aptly suit its North Park clientele.
Knotty Brewing target date: spring 2016, East Village. Ken Lovi will expand his Knotty Barrel bar and restaurant with a five-barrel brewhouse with help from cicerone, sommelier, and restaurant manager Rich Haley. No head brewer has been named yet, but Lovi expects beers to be "simple, sessionable, and drinkable," using hops and other ingredients grown on his farm in Bonsall.
Vigilante Brewing target date: late spring 2016, Del Mar. Being the first to open a brewery in Del Mar, chef and homebrewer Charles Koll says getting his brewpub online by spring will depend on how the city responds to his efforts. The 15-barrel system will produce four core beers that are "creative and flavorful without sacrificing drinkability," along with seasonal collaborations.