There’s a new brewing epicenter in Vista: The Keystone Kraft Beer Krawl is now an option for all you craft beer lovers. Helia Brewing Co. and Eppig Brewing have been joined by Dogleg Brewing Company (1347 Keystone Way Suite A in Vista), which soft opens on the weekend of Nov. 8. Little clusters of breweries like this tend to do well, in part because they draw more traffic and visitors will often try more than one brewery on the same day.
I once saw advice about how to sell T-shirts online, according to which the best strategy is to find the intersection of two niche enthusiasms: Nurses who love dogs, birders who like travel, snakes and punk rock, etc. The idea that combining two things people enjoy increases the probability of their making a purchase seems to hold for breweries, too, as nearby Battlemage Brewing illustrates with its combination of role-playing games and beer.
Dogleg’s theme combines craft beer and golf.
There are some neat pieces of golf memorabilia around the place, too.
Pairing craft beer with golf is a natural fit. There is a long tradition of drinking beer and golfing. The immediate area is home to seven important golf equipment companies, including Calloway, Cobra, TaylorMade and Titleist. And we can’t forget the PGA tour event played nearby at Torrey Pines. It is therefore somewhat surprising that this is the first golf-themed brewery in the region, and one of just a handful around the country.
Christina Lumsden played NCAA Division 1 golf at Kent State, and later met her husband, Nick Lumsden, playing golf in San Diego. Nick was a homebrewer and their “wouldn’t it be cool if …” brainstorming sessions over beers after golf led to the idea of opening a golf-themed brewery together. As the plan solidified, they brought in Corey Gustafson and Mike Civorolo as partners. Together the four owners have a lot of friends and connections in the local golf world, which they hope will lead to interesting opportunities for special events.
“It is cool to play a small part in the evolution and celebration of the game,” says Christina Lumsden.
Like many brewery start-ups, to save money the principals did a lot of the buildout themselves. They were helped in this by the fact that one of the four owners, Mike Civorolo, is an expert woodworker. He made the bar, tabletops, the huge sign with the logo on the back wall, and pretty much everything wooden except for the chairs. The result is a comfortable and beautiful space.
They have more expertise on the team from their brewer, Jim McCaskey, who has been homebrewing in San Diego for over 20 years. McCaskey’s brewing honors include winning the Annual Karl Strauss Pro-Am competition in 2015. That is no mean feat given that San Diego has probably the most advanced homebrewing scene in the world.
McCaskey is now brewing on a seven-barrel system from San Diego manufacturer Premier Stainless. They currently have four fermenters but there is room to add more as they grow.
I was able to sample four Dogleg beers about 10 days before the soft opening and all of them were good. Their 12 taps will offer a wide variety of options to appeal to both beer aficionados and people new to beer.
With capacity for 150, including 10 seats at the bar, some leather sofas, several high tables seating eight and a large patio, customers will enjoy the ambience as well as the beer and golf amenities.
By the way, they are so new that Google Maps doesn’t even know the building exists: Go to the end of the road and turn left into the parking lot off the cul-de-sac, then keep going past Eppig and you’ll see it on the right.
Rip Current Brewing (San Marcos) is hosting a bottle release party on Nov. 8. The beer is a version of Black Lagoon, a 13% ABV Scotch Ale, that spent 31 months in Heaven Hill whiskey barrels. The base version of this beer won a silver at the 2019 US Open Beer Championships, and I can tell you that the taster of the barrel-aged version I got off the brite tank a week before bottling was truly exceptional. I had a long conversation with Rip Current owner Paul Sangster that I’ll write about in next week’s column.
Bill Vanderburgh writes the Craft Beer in North County column for Coast News. He started his award-winning blog, CraftBeerInSanDiego.com, in 2016 and has since reviewed every brewery and tasting room in San Diego. He loves sailing almost as much as beer.