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Original 40 brews up something special with a local favorite

Cosimo Sorrentino is back on his home turf

Original 40's colorful lineup.
Original 40's colorful lineup.

The past year hasn’t been easy for San Diego beer-bar lovers, who have seen local watering holes such as Toronado, Small Bar, and Hamilton’s close their doors for good. Happily, relative newcomer Original 40 Brewing in North Park, has survived — and is thriving, thanks to the expertise and Prodigal Son-style return of local brewer Cosimo Sorrentino.

Place

The Original 40 Brewing Company

3117 University Ave,, San Diego

After an award-winning stint at both Monkey Paw and South Park Brewing, Sorrentino sought to expand his horizons, ultimately ending up in Copenhagen. There, he collaborated with a fellow expat, chef Matt Orlando, on his Broaden & Build project. He explains, “I wanted to go somewhere with a younger beer scene where I could introduce new flavors to other brewers and consumers, as well as collaborate with a new set of influences to increase my knowledge. San Diego had over 150 breweries, so I was not worried about leaving a void in the market. I had not even considered Europe until I spoke with Matt Orlando and was offered the opportunity.”

Brewer Cosimo Sorrentino tests his latest concoction.

After returning to San Diego, Sorrentino was offered the brewing spot at Original 40 after Chris Gillogly left to join the team at Newtopia Cyder. Sorrentino’s skill and reputation earned him the trust of owners Steve and Patricia Billings (who also run U31 in north Park), and he has the freedom to experiment. As a result, about half of his brews are one-off specials. And now that he’s back on his home turf, Sorrentino has local and regional access to some of his favorite ingredients, such as White Labs California Ale Yeast, which he has used since his days of home brewing. The yeast boasts a versatility that allows it to be used in Original 40 brews ranging from IPAs to clear ales and sours. On the hops side, most of the beers feature the usual suspects: Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic, and Eukanot. However, more recently, Strata hops have been added to the brewpub’s Glowing Sunsets West Coast IPA to provide an additional dankness alongside the citrus and berry notes.

Original 40’s most notable relationship is with its malt provider, Washington’s Skagit Valley Malting. Sorrentino expounds, “We use them nearly exclusively and have been very pleased with the quality and consistency. The grain shines through in more subtle beers like our Baja Soul Mexican Lager, but we have also experimented with some of their more unique grains like we did in our Mendel Red which uses Triticale, a hybrid of wheat and rye, as a base malt, providing a body and flavor profile I had never experienced before.”

Looking ahead, Original 40 will soon release the sour Blackberry Blueberry Lemonade Stand, along with fresh batches of Glowing Sunset and Juice Maze (a double dry-hopped hazy). Also coming up is a collaboration with Bill Batten of TapRoom for a World Beer Cup Gold Medal recipe of Ashes from the Grave (an American brown ale with smoked malts, maple, and hazelnut, which old Monkey Paw patrons will remember), and a San Diego Pale Ale collaboration with Ensenada brewery called Hola, San Diego.

Original 40 will also have multiple variations of its Imperial Stout Base (including cans of Mexican hot chocolate coconut vanilla flavors) ready for San Diego Beer Week in early November.

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Original 40's colorful lineup.
Original 40's colorful lineup.

The past year hasn’t been easy for San Diego beer-bar lovers, who have seen local watering holes such as Toronado, Small Bar, and Hamilton’s close their doors for good. Happily, relative newcomer Original 40 Brewing in North Park, has survived — and is thriving, thanks to the expertise and Prodigal Son-style return of local brewer Cosimo Sorrentino.

Place

The Original 40 Brewing Company

3117 University Ave,, San Diego

After an award-winning stint at both Monkey Paw and South Park Brewing, Sorrentino sought to expand his horizons, ultimately ending up in Copenhagen. There, he collaborated with a fellow expat, chef Matt Orlando, on his Broaden & Build project. He explains, “I wanted to go somewhere with a younger beer scene where I could introduce new flavors to other brewers and consumers, as well as collaborate with a new set of influences to increase my knowledge. San Diego had over 150 breweries, so I was not worried about leaving a void in the market. I had not even considered Europe until I spoke with Matt Orlando and was offered the opportunity.”

Brewer Cosimo Sorrentino tests his latest concoction.

After returning to San Diego, Sorrentino was offered the brewing spot at Original 40 after Chris Gillogly left to join the team at Newtopia Cyder. Sorrentino’s skill and reputation earned him the trust of owners Steve and Patricia Billings (who also run U31 in north Park), and he has the freedom to experiment. As a result, about half of his brews are one-off specials. And now that he’s back on his home turf, Sorrentino has local and regional access to some of his favorite ingredients, such as White Labs California Ale Yeast, which he has used since his days of home brewing. The yeast boasts a versatility that allows it to be used in Original 40 brews ranging from IPAs to clear ales and sours. On the hops side, most of the beers feature the usual suspects: Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic, and Eukanot. However, more recently, Strata hops have been added to the brewpub’s Glowing Sunsets West Coast IPA to provide an additional dankness alongside the citrus and berry notes.

Original 40’s most notable relationship is with its malt provider, Washington’s Skagit Valley Malting. Sorrentino expounds, “We use them nearly exclusively and have been very pleased with the quality and consistency. The grain shines through in more subtle beers like our Baja Soul Mexican Lager, but we have also experimented with some of their more unique grains like we did in our Mendel Red which uses Triticale, a hybrid of wheat and rye, as a base malt, providing a body and flavor profile I had never experienced before.”

Looking ahead, Original 40 will soon release the sour Blackberry Blueberry Lemonade Stand, along with fresh batches of Glowing Sunset and Juice Maze (a double dry-hopped hazy). Also coming up is a collaboration with Bill Batten of TapRoom for a World Beer Cup Gold Medal recipe of Ashes from the Grave (an American brown ale with smoked malts, maple, and hazelnut, which old Monkey Paw patrons will remember), and a San Diego Pale Ale collaboration with Ensenada brewery called Hola, San Diego.

Original 40 will also have multiple variations of its Imperial Stout Base (including cans of Mexican hot chocolate coconut vanilla flavors) ready for San Diego Beer Week in early November.

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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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