The apparent clusterf*&k that was the brewery side of the La Jolla Brew House will pay dividends to San Diego beer drinkers soon in the form of two new breweries, Societe Brewing Co. and Benchmark Brewing Company. Travis Smith, formerly of Russian River Brewing and The Bruery, had a short stint at La Jolla Brewhouse, and when he left in early 2011 he was replaced by Alesmith's Matt Akin. Matt only managed to last at La Jolla Brewhouse several months.
After leaving La Jolla Brewhouse, Travis teamed up with another The Burery alum, Doug Constantiner to start Societe Brewing, which is scheduled to open its Kearny Mesa brewery in May 2012. Its address is 8262 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., and here is a picture, from the article linked here, of Societe's huge tasting room.
I learned about Matt Akin this week in this profile. After leaving La Jolla Brewhouse, Matt, along with his dad, started Benchmark Brewing. From the profile, Benchmark will feature "huge-flavored session beers. We will have a few styles that are not
currently made by too many local breweries. But this is San Diego, so we
will make a few big beers, but they will be special releases. Some
special brewing techniques and barrel aging will be highlighted through
those special releases as well. We will also differ from most local
brewers in our packaging. We will be using 16-ounce cans."
Wow! Tall Boys. That's a flashback. I have fond memories of downing a couple of macro Tall Boys en route to Padres' games back in the late '80s with my friends. It was a two Tall Boy trip from where we lived near SDSU to the stadium gate, where any unfinished beer was pounded or tossed. We'd park east of the Stadium and walk in to avoid having to pay for parking, and then sit in the bleachers. We were never big hecklers, but Kevin McReynolds - when he was a Met not a Padre - caught our ire because he seemed lazy in the outfield, and we harassed Lenny Dykstra because he took his hat off after nearly every pitch to straighten his hair. Sorry for the baseball diversion, but it's almost Opening Day.
I didn't read in the profile when Benchmark plans to open. It will be located in Mission Valley, east of Qualcomm Stadium and Interstate 15, in an area that doesn't sound like it's too far from San Diego Brewing Company, and a short distance, or a one Tall Boy walk, from where I parked for Padre games.
It's unfortunate La Jolla Brewhouse didn't work out for Travis or Matt, but the San Diego brewing scene will be better for it based on what their new breweries are planning to create.