When the La Jolla Brewhouse closed their doors in 2013, it brought a slight tear to my eye. The La Jolla Brewhouse was my first San Diego craft beer experience when I first visited the city while on vacation in 2006. While the old bar had plenty of problems, and the beer frankly wasn’t very good, it will always retain a special place in my personal history as the beginning of the end of my “fizzy yellow beer” days.
A combination of existing equipment and great location made sure that the old space didn’t stay closed for very long. New ownership (Leigh Gibson, owner of Dirty Birds), and a talented Head Brewer (Brett Stampf, formerly of Green Flash), took over the space with the hopes of creating an enjoyable space where quality house brews mingle on a tap list with established craft beer heavy hitters. So far, their endeavor appears to be paying off.
After an extensive renovation featuring reclaimed wood and old-fashioned copper, the newly-christened La Jolla Brewing Company opened on January 30 with 24 taps pouring mostly San Diego beer with a few craft brews from out of town. Executive Chef Matt Ham created a menu of upscale bar food centered around their lineup of house beers. Four of the house brews were available on opening day, and they’ve since expanded to eight with their most recent addition, a Belgian tripel.
Bright spots on the list of house beers include Neptune’s Nitro, a golden ale effervesced with a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Glider Port Pale sports a nice hop punch, and the new MacMeda Belgian tripel brings plenty of the classic Belgian yeast and spice flavors to the party. For those who like the darker things in life, the Big Time Stout packs a 9% ABV, and plenty of bittersweet chocolate flavor. A flight of five four-ounce tasters will cost you $10.
The food menu has plenty of different appetizers, salads, flatbreads and sandwiches. If you’re after something more substantial, dinner entrees are available after 5 p.m. Highlights of the food menu include duck egg rolls ($12), a cioppino-style ocean stew ($14), and a roasted chicken entrée using a reduction made from their house Sunny Jim IPA ($16).
While it’s too soon to tell how successful the La Jolla Brewing Company will be, they’re certainly off to a good start. Good food, quality house beers, and an extensive guest tap list make sure that there’s something for everyone. They even have their own parking lot, which goes a long way in La Jolla. Whether you’re a fan of beer or food, La Jolla Brewing Company is definitely worth watching.