Excitement always accompanies the opening of a new brewery, which means San Diegans are an excitable lot. Thursday’s soft opening of Escondido’s Plan 9 Alehouse brings the grand total of San Diego breweries up to 76, and there are still plenty on the way. If the packed house for Plan 9’s soft opening was any indication, owner Aaron Calles might just be onto something.
Plan 9 Alehouse occupies the former Theatrx building in downtown Escondido. “The space kind of fell in my lap,” said Calles in his kickstarter video. “It became the kind of golden opportunity that I couldn’t walk away from, and I had to do something with it.”
An alehouse wouldn’t be much without great beer, and Plan 9 features a diverse mix of house brews and guest taps. For the soft opening, the house beers were a Belgian Wit and Mandatory IPA, both of them unfiltered. Guest taps included offerings from Stone, The Burery, Ninkasa, St. Archer and others.
Plan 9 is more than just a brewery though; thanks to the zoning for Grand Avenue, they can only operate as a brewpub. Calles describes Plan 9 Alehouse as a “small-scale brewery, and a small scale restaurant,” and it looks like they’ve put as much work into the food as they have the beer. Seven dollars gets you four duck wings tossed in a bourbon sriracha sauce. The hoppiness of the house IPA does a good job cutting through the spice of the wing sauce. Other dishes include a meatloaf sandwich and BLT, and the menu offers beer pairing suggestions.
If you’re wondering about the name, yes…Plan 9 Alehouse is named after “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” the campy Ed Wood “classic.” Despite its status among film aficionados to be the worst movie ever made, Calles is a fan of the movie, and a poster hangs in a back room among colored panels with the names of the donors to his 2012 kickstarter funding campaign. Other than that, the décor is fairly minimalist, but it still has plenty of warmth.
Thursday was just the soft opening. Calles is planning for a grand opening in October where more of the house brews will hopefully show their faces. While Plan 9 the movie may be terrible, Plan 9 the alehouse is anything but. Plan 9 Alehouse is located at 155 E. Grand Ave in downtown Escondido.