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Craft beer rich in North Park

Talents converge to construct San Diego's urban brewery ideal

North Park Beer Co., one of the most anticipated launches of the year, is now open for business.
North Park Beer Co., one of the most anticipated launches of the year, is now open for business.

One of the beer community's most anticipated brewery debuts hit University Avenue at the end of June when North Park Beer Co. officially opened for business — an opening that resonates in urban culture as well as the craft beer scene. Not only did the central North Park brewery open with multiple-award-winning beer on its roster, its brewhouse was designed by an architect at the top of his field, its interior by a designer responsible for some of the city's most talked about restaurants.

Kelsey McNair became famous among San Diego craft enthusiasts when his Hop Fu IPA took gold medal three times in five years in the annual National Homebrew Competition. That all started in 2010, when he also won a Stone Brewing homebrew contest that saw his session IPA recipe released in 20 states via collaboration with Stone and Ballast Point. As Stone head brewer Mitch Steele said at the time, "That’s the work of a skilled brewer."

A Stone label artist's request prompted McNair to publicly use the name North Park Beer Co. for the first time. But he'd actually adopted the name a couple years prior, using it both as the name of his wifi network and the brewing space he'd set up at his North Park home.

"At that point in time I was already calling my garage North Park Beer Company," McNair recalls, "so I worked up this logo with a craftsman font and I sent it over."

It gave McNair enough claim to trademark North Park Beer Co., a claim he's kept up over the years with continued brewery collaborations, including beers with North Park neighbors Fall Brewing and Mike Hess Brewing, and a couple of Hop Fu collaborations with reigning WBC champion brewpub Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, out of Long Beach.

Since early 2015, McNair's been building out an 8900-square-foot former boxing gym, tapping a pair of the city's most accomplished professionals to create an exposed below-ground brewhouse framed by oaken decor. McNair explains, "We were really just trying to create an environment where you're immersed in the fact it's a brewery, but at the same time has the sensibilities of a pub."

Dustin Hauck, aka the craft beer architect, has designed brewhouses for several dozen breweries with his firm Hauck Architecture, including all the Brewery Igniter turnkey breweries, Modern Times, and another North Park neighbor, Thorn Brewing Co. Hauck set up North Park Beer with a 15-barrel Premier Stainless system, including a reverse osmosis filter so McNair can fine tune the composition of the water he uses to brew.

Paul Basile and his Basile Studio may be best known for designing restaurant and bar interiors such as Ironside, Kindred, and Polite Provisions. For his first brewery tasting room he combined the neighborhood's stately Arts and Crafts architecture with a mid-century aesthetic, resulting in copper-clad doors and an elegant stained white oak bar with hammered copper detailing and etched backlit mirrors. Throughout the room, custom-cast street lamps topped by smoked glass orbs disperse low, warm light.

Basically, North Park Beer Co. is the evolutionary peak of urban tasting rooms in San Diego, with one of county's most storied IPAs on tap. Welcome to San Diego, where the craft beer rich keep getting richer.

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North Park Beer Co., one of the most anticipated launches of the year, is now open for business.
North Park Beer Co., one of the most anticipated launches of the year, is now open for business.

One of the beer community's most anticipated brewery debuts hit University Avenue at the end of June when North Park Beer Co. officially opened for business — an opening that resonates in urban culture as well as the craft beer scene. Not only did the central North Park brewery open with multiple-award-winning beer on its roster, its brewhouse was designed by an architect at the top of his field, its interior by a designer responsible for some of the city's most talked about restaurants.

Kelsey McNair became famous among San Diego craft enthusiasts when his Hop Fu IPA took gold medal three times in five years in the annual National Homebrew Competition. That all started in 2010, when he also won a Stone Brewing homebrew contest that saw his session IPA recipe released in 20 states via collaboration with Stone and Ballast Point. As Stone head brewer Mitch Steele said at the time, "That’s the work of a skilled brewer."

A Stone label artist's request prompted McNair to publicly use the name North Park Beer Co. for the first time. But he'd actually adopted the name a couple years prior, using it both as the name of his wifi network and the brewing space he'd set up at his North Park home.

"At that point in time I was already calling my garage North Park Beer Company," McNair recalls, "so I worked up this logo with a craftsman font and I sent it over."

It gave McNair enough claim to trademark North Park Beer Co., a claim he's kept up over the years with continued brewery collaborations, including beers with North Park neighbors Fall Brewing and Mike Hess Brewing, and a couple of Hop Fu collaborations with reigning WBC champion brewpub Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, out of Long Beach.

Since early 2015, McNair's been building out an 8900-square-foot former boxing gym, tapping a pair of the city's most accomplished professionals to create an exposed below-ground brewhouse framed by oaken decor. McNair explains, "We were really just trying to create an environment where you're immersed in the fact it's a brewery, but at the same time has the sensibilities of a pub."

Dustin Hauck, aka the craft beer architect, has designed brewhouses for several dozen breweries with his firm Hauck Architecture, including all the Brewery Igniter turnkey breweries, Modern Times, and another North Park neighbor, Thorn Brewing Co. Hauck set up North Park Beer with a 15-barrel Premier Stainless system, including a reverse osmosis filter so McNair can fine tune the composition of the water he uses to brew.

Paul Basile and his Basile Studio may be best known for designing restaurant and bar interiors such as Ironside, Kindred, and Polite Provisions. For his first brewery tasting room he combined the neighborhood's stately Arts and Crafts architecture with a mid-century aesthetic, resulting in copper-clad doors and an elegant stained white oak bar with hammered copper detailing and etched backlit mirrors. Throughout the room, custom-cast street lamps topped by smoked glass orbs disperse low, warm light.

Basically, North Park Beer Co. is the evolutionary peak of urban tasting rooms in San Diego, with one of county's most storied IPAs on tap. Welcome to San Diego, where the craft beer rich keep getting richer.

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A wonderful place.

July 9, 2016

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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