Beer Maverick

Division 23 Brewing, Miramar

A nano-brewery with a man cave, including award winning beers and really friendly people. RECOMMENDED

You’ll swear you are in the wrong place, but keep following the signs around the industrial complex and you’ll eventually get there. There’s a pop-up tent over the entry. Once you get inside it’s a totally different world, kind of like a buddy’s man cave in his garage. There are some very nice couches, shuffleboard and ping pong, as well as seats at the bar. This is one of the best uses of a small tasting room space that I have seen. It creates a feeling of being included, like part of the family, while at the same time feeling very hip.

It was a little crazy here during my visit: It was an elementary school’s teacher holiday party. Lots of people who don’t usually drink beer were asking the overworked bartender lots of questions. The bartender, Alicia, was unfailingly helpful and kind. Everyone had a good time.

This nano-Brewery has lots of industry cred. A brewer at Duck Foot sent me here. There were two industry-types next to me at the bar. D23 won a gold at the 2016 San Diego International Beer Competition for their Berliner Weisse, which they serve with various syrups (as apparently is traditional in Germany). Unfortunately for me, the Berliner Weisse is so popular that they were sold out during my visit (it will be back on in a couple of days, as soon as the next batch is ready).

A regular came in to fill his growler and we got to chatting at the bar. He told me that as an HVAC installer he was a business customer of Division 23’s owners before they opened a brewery: they have a high-end commercial air conditioning business upstairs. I was pleased to learn that “division 23” is the name given to HVAC/mechanical systems on construction projects.

Several of the folks involved in the brewery came down for a few minutes and all of them were engaging and interested in the customers. I enjoyed chatted with one of the owners, Kellen Smith. (It was his kids’ teachers who came for the party.)

Prices are very reasonable. $7 for five tasters ($1 up-charge for either of the two specialty beers). Full pours $5-7 and 64 oz growler fills for $15-24.

Soup of the Day IPA (4.8% ABV). Tropical, dank, clear golden, medium mouthfeel. Finishes clean with a slightly bitter aftertaste. A good session IPA. 3.25/5

Bitter Foreman IPA (6%). A nice IPA, drinkable. Slightly cloudy, straw color. Not as flavorful as Soup of the Day.  3/5

Spray Tan (Brown Ale, 5%). Smells like a porter. Very smooth with a think, velvety mouthfeel. Caramel, nut and something like cherry flavors. Very distinctive and very good.  3.75/5

Pork Soda Smoked CA Common (California Common Ale, 5.7% ABV). Clear amber, subtle smoke flavor, clean, a bit sweet, and smooth. It does not taste like pork or soda; that’s a good thing. (There’s a Primus album by that name, but Urban Dictionary says pork soda is what you get when you drain all your beer spillage into a bucket at a bar. Alicia tells me they are changing the name once the new batch comes on because it confuses too many people.)  3.25/5

Bourbon Barrel Aged Morning Deadline Coffee Stout (7.4% ABV). Whiskey flavor comes through, port notes, sweet. Not too boozy. Quite good. It just came out a few days ago.  3.5/5

They are not open every day and hours are a bit unusual so check the website before you head this way. On the website you will also find the calendar of food vendors that set up outside.     7408 Trade Street San Diego, CA 92121


Don’t Just Take My Word For It (Links to Related Beer Writing)

San Diego Magazine’s Brewery Guide entry.

San Diego Brew Review’s article.