The owner of Align Brewing, Andrew Heino, was a partner in Pacific Brewing, which suddenly shuttered in July 2016. That happened just before I arrived in San Diego, so I never got to try Pacific Brewing. Apparently, though, Pacific (and Andrew) had a dedicated following, because although Align Brewing is still only in a “soft opening” phase with a grand/real opening planned for July 2017, the place got quite busy on a recent Friday afternoon when I was dropped in after visiting Thunderhawk Alements across the street. Many of the patrons told me “this used to be Pacific, I’m so excited they are open again.” I saw several industry folks there, too. Signs of good things to come, I think.
Call this a “pre-review” since they aren’t “really” open yet. It is a favorable one. Bartender Taylor Stone (who is also learning to be a brewer) did a great job running the bar and keeping all the customers engaged. The space is nice, and since it is open to the outside at both ends there is plenty of light and air. There isn’t a lot of seating, but a small bar and a couple of homemade-looking tables did the trick. They had six beers on tap. (A new tap set is on the way that will given them the ability to pour twelve beers.) In a move I highly approve of, only one of the beers could be considered “higher ABV” with the rest ranging from 3.8% to 5.7% (four were 5.1 or 5.2% ABV). I approve because that ABV range is consistent with how I like to drink craft beer: I like to enjoy several pints before needing to call it a night.
I’ll come back and re-review in the near future, after they are fully open. My initial feeling is that this is a place to watch and that you will enjoy dropping by for a few pints. Plus, as I mentioned in my review of Thunderhawk Alements, Align is located in the midst of a craft beverage confluence: there are three breweries, two wine tasting rooms, and a sake brewery in the building where Align is; across the street, Thunderhawk will soon be joined by a cidery. Parking on Align’s side of the street is going to be at a premium with such a small lot and so many tasting rooms drawing people into the area.