A new brewery in Escondido is newly licensed and ready to brew. Guided by the motto "Brew drink relax repeat," Jacked Up Brewery (800 W Grand Ave.) has a conditional use permit to operate in a commercial area, meaning the 1.5-barrel nanobrewery has a plum location in bustling central Escondido, rather than out in an industrial park. It sits less than a half mile from the I-15, surrounded by busy retail shops and directly across the street from the Escondido Transit Center.
800 W. Grand Avenue, Escondido
Jacked Up has been quietly in the works for nearly two years, a self-financed operation started by San Diego natives Michael Poulson and wife Caroline, who once held a job delivering the Reader throughout the county as a teen.
A general contractor by trade, Michael Poulson has taken a step back from his construction business to pursue his interest in craft beer. He first took an interest in homebrewing in 1994, while the couple spent time living in Washington. "Back in '94 they didn't have a lot of home-brew shops you could just go and buy equipment," Poulson recalls, "so we kind of improvised."
The same make-it-happen spirit went into Jacked Up, where his construction background came in handy fitting a working brewhouse and tasting room into 1600-square-foot space, including drainage and cold box.
"We did it on a shoestring budget," Poulson says of the brewery's small-batch business model "We really want to stay true to a craft homebrew-style beer."
Which isn't to say there's no room for growth. "We don't want to just stay a little nanobrewery," Poulson continues, "but we're going to start that way, because baby steps before you run."
Jacked Up retains right of refusal on an adjacent suite that would double their square footage, giving them enough space to install a 10-barrel system, should it be necessary to grow.
In the meantime, to keep the beer flowing from the 600-square-foot tasting room's ten taps, Poulson anticipates a lot of double-brew days with his brewing partner. That would be Jacked Up co-brewer Brian McClure, the stepson of a childhood friend who's also taking his brewing passion to the next level. McClure works as a systems engineer, but has been active in homebrew competitions over the past seven years, racking up a couple dozen awards in the process.
Along with the to-be-expected dry-hopped IPA, the two brewers are preparing a range of beers for the brewery's launch, including a cherrywood-smoked porter and Belgian quadupel, plus easier drinkers like an amber ale, a sessionable gluten-reduced brew, and a true cold-fermented lager. "Not a lot of small breweries do lagers because they're expensive and hard to do," says Poulson, "but I'm stuck on having my honey Czech lager!"
Jacked Up Brewery expects to open its pet- and family-friendly tasting room to the public by the end of January, following with a friends-and-family soft-open phase.