This is my 100th review. That’s a lot of beer!
Back when I started my beer quest, in October 2016, there were 140+ breweries and tasting rooms in San Diego county. Now, there are 160+. And, spoiler alert, THE LIST is already longer than it was a week or so ago when I posted my monthly update. These days, whenever I hear about the opening of a new brewery I suffer a dual consciousness: happiness about the San Diego beer scene’s growth, and frustration that my quest keeps getting longer!
I’m happy to say that my 100th review is for a place I loved. The new Protector Brewery is still only in a soft opening phase, but you can already tell they have great people, a wonderful tasting room, and excellent beers. They are taking a “slow and steady” approach, ramping up production before they host an official grand opening (late July was the target date I heard). They are only open Fridays and Saturdays (noon to 10pm) right now. When I was there last Friday, the crowd was large and excited: Their fans certainly treat the place like it is already fully open, showing up in droves and drinking the heck out of the beer.
Sharing a building with Align Brewing, 2Kids Brewing, Setting Sun Sake Brewing, a sushi restaurant and two wine tasting rooms (not to mention being across the street from Thunderhawk Alements and the soon-to-open Serpentine Cidery) also means there is an opportunity for plenty of people to come down this way for craft beverage tours. It does put some pressure on parking.
The interior design deserves special mention. It is certainly a step up from the typical brewery tasting room. It is mostly greys and blacks, which makes the shiny brewing equipment really pop; a polished concrete floor completes the whole impression. There are a few military-related design elements, too. In addition to a few seats at the bar, there’s an L-shaped counter with tall stools wrapping around one end of the brewing area, plus a few more small tables. Given the crowds they are already getting, I suspect they are going to need more seats. I don’t usually remark about restrooms: These ones are clean and very nice.
The story of this brewery adds to its luster. Owned and staffed by ex-Navy-SEALs, Protector is also San Diego’s first organic-certified brewery. There’s an excellent quotation on their website from a former US Secretary of Agriculture: “You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.” That’s good advice for life in general! It has special meaning in the context of beer, too. These are folks who care about the greater good, and it shows in what they do.
On top of everything else, they are fun, nice people. Everyone behind the bar was engaged and interested in their customers, and excited to talk about what they do. From my experience there, it seems to me that that character and attitude is drawing in like-minded people, creating a feedback loop of awesomeness. Everyone I met–customers and staff alike–was someone I’d choose to hang out with, which is rare for me to be able to say.
I liked talking with the people so much that I actually forgot to rate the beers on Untappd. Oh darn, I’ll have to go back again! I’ll update this review after the official grand opening and give the beer ratings then. I can tell you now that I sampled all seven beers they were pouring on the day of my visit, and I enjoyed them all: there wasn’t a dud in the bunch. They offer a wide and balanced selection of styles, including a couple of solid IPAs, a heff, a pale, a porter and a Russian Imperial Stout. These are beers San Diego will enjoy.
https://protectorbrewery.com/ 8680 Miralani Dr #128, San Diego, CA 92126