Colby Chandler and the team of brewers are mad scientists of a sort. They have at their disposal an arsenal of ingredients at all times. In the back, the brewery can turn out relatively small batches of whatever they feel like making. This is the testing ground for the award-winning Ballast Point Brewing company and the birthplace of Sculpin IPA, the World Beer Cup Gold Medal winner of 2010.
I don’t know why it took me so long to get into the Home Brew Mart. I’ve seen it for years. It’s conveniently located in the middle of San Diego and close to my home. But with all that going for it, I had never been inside. If I’d known they serve up incredible beers on tap daily, it may have changed things.
Colby slides me a 4 oz. taster of Black Marlin Porter spiked with cocoa nibs and chipotle chilies. A “beer hot chocolate” if you will. It’s unlike anything I’ve had, unclassifiable, but good. It grew on me quickly and I later found myself a little disappointed that my next beer didn’t have hot chilies in it. He fixes that with a taste of Piper Down Scottish Ale, bourbon-barrel aged and infused with habanero peppers. Owner Jack White takes a sip and lights up. This is what the Home Brew Mart is all about: Innovation, experimentation and sharing that knowledge with other brewers.
The vibe around the shop is laid back, very friendly, and above all, collaborative. Colby tells me the biggest asset they have are their customers, the home brewers. Everyone is eager to share recipes, swap tips and help each other make better beer. I’m all for that.
The shop is open daily or check out the store online where you can get everything you’ll need to start making great beer. Drop by for a tasting of some specialty beers or refill your growler. And you’d be wise to get on their mailing list where you can get the lowdown on special events. The last 2-course beer dinner featuring MIHO Gastrotruck and chili-beer inspired Fiji Yogurt was not to be missed.
Home Brew Mart
5401 Linda Vista Rd. Suite #406
San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: (619) 295-BEER
Toll Free: (800) 581-2739
All photos © Gary Allard, All rights reserved.