Last October, Ballast Point opened a massive brewery, packaging, and distribution center on Miramar's Carroll Way, with a 600-seat restaurant, 100 employees, and reported tax subsidy from the City of San Diego. At the end of May, a brewery at the opposite end of the spectrum opened just across the street. Reckless Brewing amounts to one person: Dave Hyndman, working with a 600-person email list and $9781 in Kickstarter funding.
Hyndman is a man determined to have a brewery. Reckless is the reboot of Wet 'N Reckless Brewing, which burned to the ground last July in Mira Mesa in what has been attributed to a welding accident. Prior to that, he says the 2.5-year-old brewery had endured bad press in this publication and negative associations within the industry due to its name — “wet reckless” is the shorthand for a charge of reckless driving involving alcohol, usually a plea down from DUI.
Hyndman says he wants to distance himself from that association and insists keeping the name Reckless has a different meaning for him. "Opening this brewery," he says, "spending many thousands of my savings on this brewery, some might say is reckless."
Encouraged by a circle of loyal customers, he rebuilt from scratch.
"I always want to have a business where I am selling beer to people drinking it," he goes on, "where I can enjoy vicariously their pleasure of enjoying my beer."
As with his first brewery, the new tasting room is a low-budget DIY project, the work of power tools and repurposed objects. The name of the brewery is spray-painted across a bar made of wood planks bolted to the front of industrial shelving.
As for the beer, he says he's not concerned with winning any competitions or even making any well-defined styles, preferring to "find the gaps in between the styles," including beers made using Earl Grey tea or merlot wine, conceding he gets mixed results. To illustrate the point, he describes his most popular beer, Honey Badger Don't Care: "It's hard to explain what it is, but it's dark and it's got honey in it."
"I think beer snobs are kind of ridiculous," he adds, "I mean, it's beer! It's fucking beer!… The whole judging thing, and the competition thing, I want nothing to do with, because it's based on the false premise that these guidelines equal good beer. And I dispute that."
This is in stark contrast to the award-winning ways of his high-profile neighbor, though Hyndman is well aware its proximity could bring curious beer enthusiasts into Reckless.
"Being across the street from Ballast Point — ” he starts before resuming, "Beer drinkers will see my sign out there. People park in my parking lot just to go to Ballast Point. So, if they know there's a brewery open then maybe they'll park in my parking lot and stop in here first."