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Plenty brewing in Oceanside

Three barrels and no shortage of creativity

The Oceanside Brewing Company tasting room was built by its founding brewers using reclaimed wood, including a 12-foot-long bar top plucked from the Pacific Ocean.
The Oceanside Brewing Company tasting room was built by its founding brewers using reclaimed wood, including a 12-foot-long bar top plucked from the Pacific Ocean.

Miramar, Vista, North Park. Now, up in the northwest corner of the county, Oceanside has become San Diego's latest craft beer epicenter. Oceanside Ale Works kicked the whole thing off ten years ago this month, and four breweries were serving beer in the coastal town when last year came to a close. Already in 2016 that number has doubled, including Mason Ale Works, Belching Beaver's new production brewery, and a new operation called Midnight Jack.

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Place

Oceanside Brewing Company

312 Via del Norte, Oceanside

Oceanside Brewing Company opened in the middle of April, but it's been a longtime coming. Partners Greg Distefano and Tomas Bryant spent a year building out their three-barrel brewhouse and tasting room. They spent a year before that searching for a breezy and spacious, yet affordable location. And 25-year homebrewer Distefano has owned the name Oceanside Brewing since the '90s.

A local artist helped make the branded copper tap handles of Oceanside Brewing Company.

With decades of combined brewing experience, a long list of recipes, and all that time time to plan, the nanobrewery opened with a full complement of 18 beers on draught and several others on deck. "We brew our butts off," is how Bryant puts it, noting that each beer is made in small batches, with freshly inoculated yeast from neighboring business Real Brewers Yeast. They aim to use organic ingredients whenever possible, often using whole hop cones, fresh foods, and absolutely no extracts. "It's all very handcrafted," Bryant adds.

Family friends Bryant and Distefano have been brewing together about five years and liken their creative partnership to making music. And since they're working in small quantities, they're open to riffing a little when customers look for the rare beer style that's not already on their tasting room's menu. "When we get a request we try to brew it that week and have it on the board in a couple of weeks," Bryant says. Such is already the case with a perle hopped cream ale they devised to serve a customer accustomed to drinking Coors Light but interested in embracing craft beer styles.

The goal is to serve six flagship beers ranging from porter and hefeweizen — using correct grains and yeast to style — and 12 others that allow for exploration and experimentation. The variety's aimed at serving a community of diverse palates, but that includes Distefano himself. "When I go out on a Friday night," he says, "I want something new and different. Variety is the spice of life. So every weekend when you come in here there will be at least one new beer on tap. And by the end of the weekend there's probably one or two other ones."

Their large tasting room and patio can hold a large number of customers, and the owners plan to feature local artists and musicians in celebration of Oceanside's unique community. They also intend it to be a fresh-beer destination for marines stationed at nearby Camp Pendleton. "It's always military appreciation day here," Distefano pledges, "So all active military get a dollar off of everything we sell, always."

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The Oceanside Brewing Company tasting room was built by its founding brewers using reclaimed wood, including a 12-foot-long bar top plucked from the Pacific Ocean.
The Oceanside Brewing Company tasting room was built by its founding brewers using reclaimed wood, including a 12-foot-long bar top plucked from the Pacific Ocean.

Miramar, Vista, North Park. Now, up in the northwest corner of the county, Oceanside has become San Diego's latest craft beer epicenter. Oceanside Ale Works kicked the whole thing off ten years ago this month, and four breweries were serving beer in the coastal town when last year came to a close. Already in 2016 that number has doubled, including Mason Ale Works, Belching Beaver's new production brewery, and a new operation called Midnight Jack.

Sponsored
Sponsored
Place

Oceanside Brewing Company

312 Via del Norte, Oceanside

Oceanside Brewing Company opened in the middle of April, but it's been a longtime coming. Partners Greg Distefano and Tomas Bryant spent a year building out their three-barrel brewhouse and tasting room. They spent a year before that searching for a breezy and spacious, yet affordable location. And 25-year homebrewer Distefano has owned the name Oceanside Brewing since the '90s.

A local artist helped make the branded copper tap handles of Oceanside Brewing Company.

With decades of combined brewing experience, a long list of recipes, and all that time time to plan, the nanobrewery opened with a full complement of 18 beers on draught and several others on deck. "We brew our butts off," is how Bryant puts it, noting that each beer is made in small batches, with freshly inoculated yeast from neighboring business Real Brewers Yeast. They aim to use organic ingredients whenever possible, often using whole hop cones, fresh foods, and absolutely no extracts. "It's all very handcrafted," Bryant adds.

Family friends Bryant and Distefano have been brewing together about five years and liken their creative partnership to making music. And since they're working in small quantities, they're open to riffing a little when customers look for the rare beer style that's not already on their tasting room's menu. "When we get a request we try to brew it that week and have it on the board in a couple of weeks," Bryant says. Such is already the case with a perle hopped cream ale they devised to serve a customer accustomed to drinking Coors Light but interested in embracing craft beer styles.

The goal is to serve six flagship beers ranging from porter and hefeweizen — using correct grains and yeast to style — and 12 others that allow for exploration and experimentation. The variety's aimed at serving a community of diverse palates, but that includes Distefano himself. "When I go out on a Friday night," he says, "I want something new and different. Variety is the spice of life. So every weekend when you come in here there will be at least one new beer on tap. And by the end of the weekend there's probably one or two other ones."

Their large tasting room and patio can hold a large number of customers, and the owners plan to feature local artists and musicians in celebration of Oceanside's unique community. They also intend it to be a fresh-beer destination for marines stationed at nearby Camp Pendleton. "It's always military appreciation day here," Distefano pledges, "So all active military get a dollar off of everything we sell, always."

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The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

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