|Ballast Point Brewing Company
San Diego, CA
On September 28, 1543, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and his crew sailed into what is now the harbor of San Diego, California, becoming the first Europeans to set food on the west coast of what would become the United States.
While the exact landing area of Cabrillo is unknown, many believe that he came ashore on Ballast Point, a small finger of land extending into San Diego Bay from Point Loma.
Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits founder Jack White started homebrewing in college at UCLA with his roommate Pete A’Hearn. His goal was to make better beer; better beer than he could find at a store or at a keg party.
Since it was so hard to find the ingredients he wanted, Jack opened Home Brew Mart in 1992 in San Diego, California with a plan to one day turn his brewing hobby into a professional career. In the meantime, Pete headed off to UC Davis and earned his Master Brewer’s Certificate.
Jack hired Yuseff Cherney as Home Brew Mart’s first employee and was part of the team to open the “back room” brewery behind the store. Ballast Point Brewing was born in 1996.
If there’s one thing Jack, Pete, and Yuseff love as much as brewing, it’s fishing. Not only did their love for fishing inspire the name of the brewery, but several Ballast Point beers are named after fish or fishing terms, and many labels have fish on them.
In 2004, Ballast Point outgrew the original brewing space and opened a larger production brewery in Scripps Ranch. Today, Ballast Point beers are brewed around the clock to meet demand. All 14 of the Ballast Point Spirits are made and bottled at this location.
Ballast Point added a third location in 2013 in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood. This location includes a brewery, tasting room, and restaurant. This location also serves as the lab for research and development.
In mid-2014, Ballast Point finished construction on a 107,000 square foot brewery in the Miramar area. The brewhouse here features two large copper kettles from Lohr, Germany, a state-of-the-art lab, tasting bar and restaurant.
|Home Brew Mart
5401 Linda Vista Rd, Ste 406 | San Diego, CA 92110
The Home Brew Mart location continues to sell homebrewing supplies and ingredients. In addition, there is a retail store selling Ballast Point beer and merchandise, as well as a large tasting room featuring a massive mural of a diver in an early diving suit and an impressive list of Ballast Point beers on tap.
You can enjoy Calm Before the Storm, Wahoo White, Longfin Lager, Calico, Big Eye, Black Marlin, Fathom, Dorado, Even Keel, Grunion, Sculpin, or Habanero Sculpin, or check out a few of the Research and Development brews on tap.
A few of the R&D beers on tap during our visit to Home Brew Mart included…
- Billy Ruffian – 8.2% ABV Old Ale
- Even Keel w/ Jalapeños and Chipotle – 3.8% ABV Pepper Saison IPA
- Baja Blonde – 4.5% ABV American Blonde
- Yacht Rock – 5.5% ABV Hoppy Cream Ale
- Bango – 6.4% ABV Belgian Pale
- Dead Eye – 5.4% ABV Dark Session IPA with Brett
- Bockness Monster – 7.5% ABV Doppelbock
- Georgeous – 3.9% ABV George Washington Inspired Small Porter
There were also several several Single Hopped IPAs with experimental hops on tap.
Copper (Extra Special Bitter) and Grapefruit Sculpin were available on nitro, and Melon Grunion (with cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon) was on cask.
I suggest enjoying a flight of three 4-ounce tasters for $5. The Home Brew Mart location is open Monday to Thursday 10 AM to 10 PM, Friday and Saturday 9 AM to 10 PM, and Sunday 9 AM to 9 PM.
9045 Carroll Way | San Diego, CA 92121
We also visited the Miramar location during our trip. We enjoyed a delicious lunch and beer samples at the stunning, modern location.
The food menu includes bar snacks like pretzels, salsa and guacamole, crispy calamari, truffle fries, and PB&J hot wings. Larger plates to share include tuna tartare, pork belly & peaches, meatloaf cupcakes, crispy duck nachos, and beer steamed mussels.
There are various salads and IPA flat breads to choose from on the menu. Entrees include the Ballast Point burger, Tuscan chicken sandwich, open faced steak sandwich, BBQ pork, fish tacos, rosemary & buttermilk fried chicken, shrimp scampi pasta, and Miso glazed salmon.
The beer menu included many of the beers offered at the Home Brew Mart location. A few of the R&D beers on tap during our visit included…
- Simcoe Single Hop IPA – 7.3% ABV IPA
- Coral – 4% ABV American Wheat with Cherries
- Flight Admiral – 10% ABV Belgian Tripel
Other beers on tap worth mentioning included The Commodore American Stout on nitro, Victory at Sea, Tongue Buckler, Indra Kunindra Export Stout, Serrano Pale Ale, and Thai Chili Wahoo White.
The Miramar location is truly impressive. Whether you tour the brewery, enjoy a meal, or enjoy a few pints at the bar, this location can’t be missed. This is a very busy location, so I suggest making reservations if you plan to eat during your visit.
Tours are given daily at the new production brewery in Miramar at 12 PM, 2 PM, 4 PM, and 6 PM. You can schedule a group tour by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The tasting room is open Monday to Saturday 11 AM to 11 PM and Sunday 11 AM to 9 PM.
10051 Old Grove Rd | San Diego, CA 92131
We also visited the Scripps Ranch/Old Grove brewery during our trip. We took the brewery tour at this location, and I was so glad we did!
The brewers were bottling my favorite beer on the face of the earth, Habanero Sculpin during our tour. Not only did we see labeled bottles strolling down the bottling line and boxes filled with enticing bottles, but we also saw the boxes of fresh habaneros in the cold box.
The tasting room is open Sunday to Thursday 11 AM to 9 PM and Friday to Saturday 10 AM to 10 PM. Be sure to check out the food truck schedule during your visit. There was a tasty vegan food truck serving up food during our visit.
The Old Grove brewery offers tours daily at 12 PM, 2 PM, 4 PM, and 6 PM. You can schedule a group tour by emailing email@example.com. You can also take a guided spirit tasting at the speakeasy-inspired spirits tasting room daily at 1 PM, 3 PM, 5 PM, and 7 PM. Tastings are $10 and feature pours of six of our spirits.
You should note that you cannot buy bottles of spirits at any Ballast Point location. Our tour guide recommended the local BevMo location where I was able to secure a bottle of Ballast Point Habanero Vodka.
2215 India St | San Diego, CA 92101
There was one of the four Ballast Point locations we unfortunately did not make it to during our trip, and that is the R&D Brewery.
You can tour the R&D Brewery in Little Italy daily at 12 PM and 3 PM. Tours are $5 and include 2 R&D tasters and keep the Little Italy Taster Glass. Reserve a spot in person, by email or phone call. The tasting room is open daily 11 AM to 11 PM.
Anyone who has listened to Beer Busters Podcast knows how much I love Ballast Point, and after visiting 3 of the 4 locations, I can say that my love for them is even stronger!