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Kensington Brewing fills up fast

"I’m surprised, even on a Tuesday night, how many people are in here."

In homage to Ken Video (former occupants of 4067 Adams Ave.) Kensington Brewing founder Zack Knipe keeps one of their signs hanging (right, background).
In homage to Ken Video (former occupants of 4067 Adams Ave.) Kensington Brewing founder Zack Knipe keeps one of their signs hanging (right, background).

Five years after it quietly launched in Grantville, Kensington Brewing Company has a tasting-room presence in the neighborhood it's named for. In October, the nanobrewery began serving beer within the former site of Kensington Video, which closed earlier this year after three decades in business. As history would have it, the neighborhood's eponymous video rental shop was what first brought the eponymous brewery founder, Zack Knipe, to the area.

Place

Kensington Brewing Company

4067 Adams Avenue, San Diego

"When I was a student at USD," Knipe recalls, "I took a Spanish cinema class, and most of the movies I had to watch were at Ken Video…. That's how I found the neighborhood, approximately 16 years ago."

He liked the place so much that, eight years later, Knipe and his wife spent the better part of a year searching for a home to buy in the neighborhood. Knipe spent even longer waiting to find a location suitable to his beer business, holding out to find something centrally located within Kensington's small business district on Adams Avenue.

Once a gift shop, later a video shop, and now a taproom.

Though sorry to see the family-owned video shop go, Knipe knew the place was a good fit for his own family business: his father manages the new tasting room while his cousin helps with much of the brewing.

With two young children at home, the Knipes knew firsthand the community would benefit from having a family-friendly gathering spot, so in the back of the tasting room, a children's play area features a large chalkboard and magnets to play with. "We have a two-year-old and a four-year-old," Knipe says. "We know how much it helps to have something for them to do."

The taproom opens at 3 p.m. on weekdays, and on a recent Friday afternoon it was starting to fill up by 3:30. With 20 taps, including 3 nitro handles, the new space can offer a wider range of beers and higher occupancy than Kensington could serve at its previous tasting room, located at its Grantville brewery.

A historical photo on the wall at Kensington Brewing shows the neighborhood pre-development and the tract office that would soon change that.

That taproom closed temporarily while Knipe works on upgrading brewing capacity to meet the rising demand at his new neighborhood hangout. "We can have a lot more people than we could in Grantville. I’m surprised, even on a Tuesday night, how many people are in here, either studying or just hanging out or having a meeting."

Decoratively, the new tasting room pays tribute to the neighborhood's history. A video-rental sign hangs in the back of the room while other walls feature blow-ups of photographs from Kensington's early days. One shows what a nearby canyon looked like before it became the location of Interstate 15. Another depicts the tasting room's storefront long before its video-shop days, when the sign read Kensington Gift Shop.

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In homage to Ken Video (former occupants of 4067 Adams Ave.) Kensington Brewing founder Zack Knipe keeps one of their signs hanging (right, background).
In homage to Ken Video (former occupants of 4067 Adams Ave.) Kensington Brewing founder Zack Knipe keeps one of their signs hanging (right, background).

Five years after it quietly launched in Grantville, Kensington Brewing Company has a tasting-room presence in the neighborhood it's named for. In October, the nanobrewery began serving beer within the former site of Kensington Video, which closed earlier this year after three decades in business. As history would have it, the neighborhood's eponymous video rental shop was what first brought the eponymous brewery founder, Zack Knipe, to the area.

Place

Kensington Brewing Company

4067 Adams Avenue, San Diego

"When I was a student at USD," Knipe recalls, "I took a Spanish cinema class, and most of the movies I had to watch were at Ken Video…. That's how I found the neighborhood, approximately 16 years ago."

He liked the place so much that, eight years later, Knipe and his wife spent the better part of a year searching for a home to buy in the neighborhood. Knipe spent even longer waiting to find a location suitable to his beer business, holding out to find something centrally located within Kensington's small business district on Adams Avenue.

Once a gift shop, later a video shop, and now a taproom.

Though sorry to see the family-owned video shop go, Knipe knew the place was a good fit for his own family business: his father manages the new tasting room while his cousin helps with much of the brewing.

With two young children at home, the Knipes knew firsthand the community would benefit from having a family-friendly gathering spot, so in the back of the tasting room, a children's play area features a large chalkboard and magnets to play with. "We have a two-year-old and a four-year-old," Knipe says. "We know how much it helps to have something for them to do."

The taproom opens at 3 p.m. on weekdays, and on a recent Friday afternoon it was starting to fill up by 3:30. With 20 taps, including 3 nitro handles, the new space can offer a wider range of beers and higher occupancy than Kensington could serve at its previous tasting room, located at its Grantville brewery.

A historical photo on the wall at Kensington Brewing shows the neighborhood pre-development and the tract office that would soon change that.

That taproom closed temporarily while Knipe works on upgrading brewing capacity to meet the rising demand at his new neighborhood hangout. "We can have a lot more people than we could in Grantville. I’m surprised, even on a Tuesday night, how many people are in here, either studying or just hanging out or having a meeting."

Decoratively, the new tasting room pays tribute to the neighborhood's history. A video-rental sign hangs in the back of the room while other walls feature blow-ups of photographs from Kensington's early days. One shows what a nearby canyon looked like before it became the location of Interstate 15. Another depicts the tasting room's storefront long before its video-shop days, when the sign read Kensington Gift Shop.

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Comments
1

The Brewery "tasting room" was where the American films were kept at Kensington Video, the now-defunct "Buddies & Babes" (crushed by COVID-19) was the foreign film/TV show/"porn in the back corner" part of the store, and the ice cream parlor next to that was a storage room for all their older material (Beta tapes and at least one rental Beta deck from the 1980s.) Before they rented out the storage room, they were getting a lot of tapes and DVDs from other mom-and-pop rental stores that were closing down.

Dec. 23, 2020

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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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