Modern Times brews excellent craft beers and, unusually for a brewery, excellent artisanal coffees, too. Their “Fermentorium” space in Point Loma’s Midway District (quite close to the Valley View Casino Center and not far from Liberty Station) is large and inviting, with trendy interior design that includes a huge mural made of Post-It notes. As the name suggests, in addition to being a tasting room and quasi-coffee house, the Fermentorium is where Modern Times does their brewing.
They had 16 beers on tap during my visit. I really enjoyed Fortunate Islands (Pale Wheat Ale, 5% ABV); it is complex and delicious and will especially interest IPA lovers: I rated it 4.25/5. Their stouts are excellent, too, but they have a habit of putting coffee in every dark beer and on this night I didn’t want the caffeine. For reasons explained below, I only had one pint on this visit instead of my usual flight. The two people who came with me also enjoyed their beers. I recently bought a four-pack of pint cans of Aurora (Red Rye IPA, 6.7% ABV) and enjoyed its multilayered hops and the rye spiciness on the finish: I rated it 3.5/5. You can see my ratings for several of their other beers in my review of the Modern Times “Flavordome” tasting room in North Park.
While the vibe and the beer are enticing, the service here leaves something to be desired. The staff seemed distant, uninterested, so rude as to be almost hostile. It was so bad we nearly walked out, honestly. That’s similar to my experience at their Flavordome location in North Park, too. The staff attitude really does not live up to the level of quality the brand promotes in every other way, from their products to their interior design to their graphic design and marketing. Maybe I just got especially unlucky on my two visits, but I suspect this is an area management will need to get under control.
The neighborhood feels a little sketchy. An apparently low-class strip club and a hotel that would seem like an obvious place to go for “extended service” from the strip club are just up the street, and in general it feels industrial and dirty in the area. We had been planning to Lyft home, but we made the decision not to leave a car overnight in this area (which meant I had to drink less since I was the host–drat). The vibe inside, though, is safe, hip and comfortable. Parking nearby is minimal anyway, so just take an Uber or Lyft both ways.
Modern Times coffee is becoming a “thing.” You can even get growlers of cold brewed coffee to go. I have only tried their coffee in their beer so far, but it is very good. I noticed they are selling cans of cold brew in grocery stores now, too.
My girlfriend came back to the table and reported that there is a sign in the women’s restroom that is apparently quite popular: “Flushing tampons is punishable by death.” The sign is so popular, in fact, they had to add this note underneath: “Because you heathens keep stealing our glorious sign, we’ve started selling these in our merch area and they are only $1.” The sign also lists the Kleptomaniacs Anonymous hotline in case you still have a really strong urge. I wonder if the signs are getting shoplifted from the merch area, too?
If you can look past poor service (or the management gets control of it), this is a very nice place to grab a high quality beer or coffee.
http://moderntimesbeer.com/ 3725 Greenwood St., San Diego, CA 92110
Don’t Just Take My Word For It (Links to Related Beer Writing)
Here is San Diego Brew Review’s brief comment on Modern Times.
San Diego Magazine’s Brewery Guide entry for Modern Times Fermentorium.
Modern Times’s Founder/CEO Jakob McKean’s blog is quite interesting. He got into craft beer as a writer, and he’s got a lot of knowledge as well as an interesting (and influential) perspective.