Next time you’re in La Jolla and craving a craft brew, Phil Aitken wants you to think of La Jolla Brewing Company. The savvy investor and his three business partners recently purchased the La Jolla Brewhouse and are currently working to transform it into the beacon of San Diego craft beer. The sale, which is in escrow, is pending California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control approval.
"We want to be a place where everyone can get craft beer from throughout San Diego, without leaving La Jolla,” Aitken said.
Partnered with Aitken are Leigh Gibson, owner and operator of Dirty Birds in Pacific Beach, Fred Gaston, a local attorney at Gaston & Gaston downtown, and Armando Lopez, another local businessman and investor. Heading up the brew operations is Brett Stamps, a former brewer at Dogfish Head, and Mira Mesa-based Green Flash Brewing Co.
One thing that Aitken and his partners want the public to know is that while La Jolla Brewing Company may have the same address as the La Jolla Brewhouse, that will be the only commonality left behind when the brewing company is ready to open. Over the next 90 days, nearly every aspect of the venue will be overhauled, including the décor, staff, menu and spirits.
“We’re spending 90 days to completely rebrand the place, clean it up and really start to build our own reputation,” Aitken said. “We really want to do it right. It needs to be clean and enjoyable, with comfort food and any type of beer that you can find at other craft beer pubs.”
In addition to brewing about eight of their own beers, La Jolla Brewing Company will have 24 taps – an extensive sampling of the craft beers that are brewed exclusively in San Diego. Rather than be viewed as competition for staples like Karl Strauss or Stone Brewing Co., Aitken and his business partners hope that La Jolla Brewing Company will become known as an ambassador for all craft beer, and a place where local brewers will be proud to showcase their products.
“A lot of the local beer makers don’t have tasting rooms, and they’re looking for venues where they can showcase their beers,” he said. “There is also a back room where we can host classes for home brewers and other events.”
La Jolla Brewing Company won't skimp on the grub, either. Gibson is taking the helm in the kitchen and is in charge of creating a menu to complement the beer selections. Aitken describes the cuisine as "high-end comfort food."
What would you like to see on La Jolla Brewing Company's tap list and menu? Tell us in the comment section below.