girl in red shirt pouring beer into a taster glass at the GABF

GABF…Here we come!

GABF…Here we come!

Denver better be ready for a massive influx of of beer, beards and breweries, because this weekend marks one of the most exciting craft beer events of the year. The Great American Beer Festival, also known as GABF, is the ultimate craft beer weekend with more than 3,800 different beers being poured by 780 breweries and attendance expecting to top 60,000.

hundreds of beer festival attendees at the great american beer fest

Luckily, Denver is ready and waiting. Now that the festival is in its 10th year, it sells out within an hour of offering up tickets to the public and is buoyed by more than 200 local events leading up to this beer-soaked weekend. No ticket? No problem, because tons of people travel to Denver this weekend and enjoy events without tickets to the fest at all. Eater Denver recently outlined 10 must-attend events that don’t require a GABF tickets including high-end beer dinners, a barrel aged beer competition and an annual Beer Drinker of the Year contest where the winner can win free beer for life at Wynkoop Brewery. Joining all of our brewers and sales team this year are the winners of our first ever GABF giveaway, Toni and Terri! We couldn’t be more excited to share the experience with them and look to hear from them about their take on the fest in a future blog piece.

The Competition

GABF is not only the ultimate tasting experience for attendees, but it’s also one of the most prestigious beer competitions in the nation. The World Beer Cup is the only beer competition that holds a candle to the GABF here in the states, though it’s every other year and includes international breweries. A medal at GABF is a huge accomplishment for any brewery, yet San Diego breweries cleaned up at last year’s competition. We are so proud of our SD homies who took home a cool 14 medals last year and our North Park tasting room neighbor, Rip Current, even won Very Small Brewing Company and Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year.


Our Beer Entries

Like all the breweries competing this year, TSB is hoping for a medal while also enjoying the opportunity to hang out with like-minded beer geeks. We sent off samples of our beers to be judged by their panel and will wait for the results at the awards ceremony on Saturday morning. We entered five beers into the competition; North Park Pale Ale, Smuggler’s Cove Agave Amber, Foreplay Belgian Blonde, Barrel Aged Dark Tsar and a special, American Brett Saison made with peaches, called Joe Pesch Brett. A lot goes into deciding which beer to send and what category to enter it in, but ultimately, we are really happy with the beers that we sent.


Good Vibes from Denver

We were recently featured in a write-up from the Denver Post as one of the Top Beer Picks from the Pacific Region. Here’s what they had to say…

On a recent weekend spent in the beer-Nirvana of San Diego, we hit the big names veterans like AleSmith, the beer-geek favorites like Societe, and the up-and-coming hot spots like Council Brewing, but the beer that left the most lasting impression on me was from a tiny neighborhood spot that I hadn’t heard of. After a couple days of pummeling my palate with IPAs, inky imperial stouts and acidic sour beers, it was the simple pils and a session IPA from Thorn Street Brewery that I remember most fondly. The latter brew was so sticky and dank it made my eyes water, and I couldn’t get enough.”

We will be live streaming the awards from TSB this Saturday at 10 am at the brewery. So, wish us luck this weekend, and look for our blog piece next week with the wrap-up from the festival.


big white words on wooden back ground that says Brunch and Beer

Carnitas’ Snack Shack Beer Brunch

It’s baaaaaack! Our famous Beer Brunch with Carnitas’ Snack Shack! 

Sunday, September 25th from 11:00 am -1:30 pm, enjoy a SEVEN course brunch buffet from the culinary wizards over at Carnitas’ Snack Shack. Pork will be front and center, so please come ready to consume some meat! The best part is, tickets are only $35 for all you can eat at the brunch buffet and 2 beers!

P.S. Please don’t feel like you have to all come right at 11 am. Carnitas Snack Shack will keep the buffet filled the whole event and it would be great if some people decided to come a little later into the event for seating purposes.

Tickets will sell out so get ’em while you can here…

Picture of a goblet of Fornication Golden Strong Ale sitting on a wood table in a brewery

Craft Beer’s Fresh Factor

Craft Beer’s Fresh Factor

We’ve all been there. You get home after a hard day at work, looking forward to cracking open a cold beer and settling into the night. Reaching into the fridge, you grab your favorite beer and take the first swig, realizing something’s just not right. The flavor is off and maybe a dull sweetness is coming through. Unfortunately, your beer has got that ‘not-so-fresh feeling.’

In previous blogs, we have talked about how age, heat, light, and oxygen are killers of taste when it comes to beer. Today, we are going to look at freshness and why it’s important in craft beer. First of all, there are many beers that are meant to be aged including barley wines, imperial stouts, Belgian strong ales, lambics and more. Though aging conditions are pretty strict in order to get the proper taste, these aren’t the beers we are talking about today.

IPAs, pale ales, ambers and lagers are just a few of the beers that are best consumed fresh. As a general rule, beers around 5% or under don’t age well unless a secondary fermentation is going on. Specifically talking about IPAs, the fresh, bright, hoppy characteristics that we love them for just don’t age well. In fact, hoppy beers will start to lose their aromas and hop presence when sitting in a bottle or a can for too long. A malty sweetness of IPAs often becomes cloying in an older IPA.

What’s too long?

Here’s a good rule of thumb: IPAs are best in the first 60 days. They aren’t going to spoil or become undrinkable on that 61st day, but they also probably won’t be as delicious. During the first 60 days, beer recipes are designed to be in harmony regarding malt sweetness, bitterness, hop aroma and flavor. Simply put, after that it falls out of balance. Sometimes that imbalance isn’t horrible or that off putting, but it’s not the intended experience. When people pay top dollar for craft beer, they should be getting a delicious beer.

So what can you do to make sure your beer tastes the best it can? Here’s three things to keep in mind when selecting your beer of choice…

Check Dates

For those beers that are bottled and canned, many breweries are now putting on “Enjoy By” or “Bottled On” dates. Check before you buy. If it’s a “bottled on” date then try and get ones that were bottled within 60 days of the day you want to drink it. Many bottles and cans still don’t have  freshness dates on them so in this case you need to think about where you buy your bottled beer from. If you buy your beer from a liquor store or beer store that is popular and goes through a lot of inventory, you are good to go. If you are buying it from a random 7/11 in an area where craft beer isn’t that popular, that beer may have been sitting on their shelves for quite a bit of time.

Drink at the Source

Luckily for most of us here in San Diego, we live within a few miles of a brewery. If you want the freshest beer available, drink at the source! There is nothing better than a freshly kegged beer, so don’t be afraid to ask the beer-tender which beer on tap was just kegged. They will always be the most delicious and you will be able to taste the intricacies and notes that the brewers worked so hard to put in the brew.

A good rule of thumb when you go to a bar is to ask the bartender which kegs were just put on recently. Although this doesn’t always mean its the freshest keg, it gives you the best chance of not getting an old beer. Luckily, most bars go through beer fast enough to where a keg is pretty much always going to taste good, as long as their lines are clean.

Keep it Cold

Have you ever heard of the 3-30-300 rule? Don’t worry, most people haven’t. Basically, it’s been found that in 3 days at 90°F  you could get the same age related flavor development as you would in 30 days at 71°F and 300 days at 33°F.

Simply put, keep your beer cold!! Sure, by the time you get the six pack of beer home from the store, it’s probably already been up to room temp a few times and it’s going to taste just fine. Just don’t leave your beer in your car as this is a sure way to skunk it. Furthermore, be VERY wary of stores that have their beer on shelves where sunlight hits them and warms them higher than 70ish degrees. Now, we aren’t suggesting that as long as you keep your beer refrigerated it can keep for almost a year. However, based on the 3-30-300 rule, beer should probably not be kept at room temperature for more than 30 days if freshness is a factor in its flavor.

Happy hunting for the freshest beer around!

picture of two carnitas tacos with guacamole and pico de gallo

Carnitas’ Snack Shack: Pork Heaven in North Park

Carnitas’ Snack Shack: Pork Heaven in North Park

Few restaurants revel in pork-fueled-fare like North Park’s, Carnitas’ Snack Shack. This pork-centric spot has been featured in magazines and on TV shows, both locally and nationally. Owners, Hanis Cavin and Sara Stroud, opened the doors in 2011, in an unassuming area of West-North Park. Named after their beloved, pot-bellied pig, Carnitas, their restaurant had a loyal following pretty much as soon as they opened their doors. They feature menu items like their famous carnitas tacos, pork belly, and a killer of a pork sandwich (carnitas, schnitzel AND bacon!).

triple threat pork sandwich with bacon, carnitas and schnitzel and a side of corn salad

With their die-hard, devotion to quality, craft food, a line out their door is a regular site. Get there when they open to miss the line of devotees.

Today, there are three Carnitas’ Snack Shack locations offering up some truly inspiring and creative pork-themed dishes. Del Mar Highlands was graced with their pork-presence a few years ago. Recently, they just opened up another bustling spot on San Diego Harbor’s Embarcadero. The downtown location is especially exciting because it really hits the touristy spot in San Diego, and what better way to be introduced to San Diego cuisine than with Carnitas’ Snack Shack!

While beer is a natural pairing to such rich and savory food, Chef Hanis is always up for doing special events outside of the walls of his restaurants. In fact, we love working with all of the Carnitas’ people and couldn’t be more excited to have them for the upcoming Carnitas’ Snack Shack Beer Brunch! This Sunday, 11 am to 1:30 pm get ready for all of this pork-glory to rain down on TSB.

The beer brunches here at TSB are famous for an abundance of delicious food as well as Hanis’ engaging presence, working and hanging for a beer with patrons.

This brunch is planned to have seven meat-tastic courses including:

  • Rib-eye and tomato, spinach Benedict
  • Bacon-chocolate pancakes with real maple syrup
  • Hash brown cakes
  • House-made breakfast sausage and bacon
  • Carnitas’ Machaca with fresh tortillas
  • Smoked pork loin with buttermilk mash potatoes
  • Roasted cauliflower “salad” (here’s your dose of veggies)

We don’t want you to miss out on the insanely delicious, Sunday brunch, so get your tickets today! Only $35 for all you can eat and two TSB beers of your choice!


Here’s a sneak peek at what the food looked like at a past beer brunch at TSB:

Picture of Carnitas' Snack Shack brunch plate including potatoes, pork loin, sausage and benedicts

black and white picture A of 30 craft beer tap handles in a craft beer bar

Craft Beer Bars & Sell Out Bars – How you can tell the difference

Quite a bit has been written on the topic of craft breweries that sell out to big beer and what the term “craft beer” really means. One thing that hasn’t been explored, however, is what are Craft Beer Bars & Sell Out Bars.

Recently, here in San Diego, an unnamed bar opened up and we were super excited to check it out. On its website they boasted that they offer 20 microbrew and local taps for craft beer lovers. Although there were 20 taps, that’s where the accuracy in their statement ended. While there was Coronado Brewing and Stone on tap, the rest of the taps were a mixture of not-at-all craft beers like Budweiser, Modelo and Stella and a number of what we like to call “not-so-craft beers.” These are the craft beers like Elysian, Golden Road, 10 Barrel and even the San Diego produced Saint Archer which have been bought by Big Beer. Unfortunately, this sort of faux craft beer lineup is a recurring trend that we have seen here in San Diego.

The issue here is that these bars and restaurants are using the popularity of craft beer to get people in their doors and then are serving them beers that may not be craft at all. Although some people don’t care who makes their beer, many people drink craft beer not only because it taste great but also because of the independent community of brewers, neighbors, and makers that they support by buying craft. Why would this unnamed bar serve only two, local, truly-craft beers when there is so many great craft beers at their disposal? They may love the cool commercials on TV? Or maybe, it comes down to money…

First, though, let’s address why brewery ownership matters at all. Although many of these not-so-craft breweries still make good beer, they are now owned by big beer (like AB-InBev or MillerCoors). Big beer actively tries to undercut the competition by both legal and, in some cases, illegal means. One of the ways this happens, is that with the support of these huge companies sourcing their ingredients and hardware, breweries can charge less for their beer than competitors. Breweries have to sell their kegs at a specific mark-up above cost. Therefore, if they can drive their costs down, they can charge less. An example of this is how Goose Island (owned by AB InBev) often charges $110 per 1/2 barrel of their IPA, whereas many independent craft breweries have to charge $180+ to hit margins and stay in business.

We get it. This is business. Craft breweries are allowed to charge what they want for their kegs (within legal parameters). Furthermore, bars have a bottom line that needs to be met and it can make sense from a money-standpoint to buy the often cheaper, not-so-craft beer. That’s fine, but they just shouldn’t tout their beer lineup as local or “craft.” There is a huge difference between a “craft beer bar” and a bar that serves a craft beer. Some bars are intentionally blurring the lines between these two things and most people have no idea.

Here’s a list of breweries that are owned by big beer companies and therefore aren’t-so-craft anymore. If you go into a bar and see mostly these beers on tap, it’s probably less of a “craft beer bar” and more of a “bar that serves some craft beer.”

Not-So-Craft Breweries

10 Barrel Brewing — AB-InBev

Ballast Point Brewing — Constellation Brands

Birra Del Borgo (Italy) —AB-InBev

Blue Moon Brewing — MillerCoors

Blue Point Brewing —AB-InBev

Breckenridge Brewery —AB-InBev

Devils Backbone Brewing —AB-InBev

Dundee Brewing — North American Breweries (owns Genesee and Labatt)

Elysian Brewing —AB-InBev

Four Peaks Brewing —AB-InBev

Golden Road Brewing —AB-InBev

Goose Island Beer Company —AB-InBev

Hop Valley Brewing — MillerCoors

Lagunitas Brewing — 50 percent owned by Heineken International

Leinenkugel’s Brewery — MillerCoors

Magic Hat Brewing — North American Breweries

Mendocino Brewing — United Breweries Group

Olde Saratoga Brewing — United Breweries Group

Portland Brewing Company  — North American Breweries

Pyramid Breweries — North American Breweries

Revolver Brewing — MillerCoors

Saint Archer Brewing — MillerCoors

Shock Top Brewing —AB-InBev

Terrapin Beer Company — MillerCoors

We realize that there are all types of bars in the world and many don’t care at all what kind of beer lineup they have. But if a bar boasts that they carry microbrews and local beers, they should actually do so. You know who the sell-out breweries are…now you can spot the sell-out bars.






trivia trophy

Trivia Championships

Calling all SUPER smarties! If you have won a trophy in one of our weekly  Wednesday night trivias…anytime in the last year, bring it to Thorn this Tuesday at 7 pm to turn in for your entry into our Trivia Championships!!

At stake: $50 per team member (up to 5) in TSB gift certificates, honor and glory!

Picture of couple with big smiles and their dog after winning an all expense paid trip to GABF in Denver, Colorado courtesy of Thorn Street Brewery.

Meet the Winners of our GABF Trip Giveaway!

Meet the Winners of our GABF Trip Giveaway!

It’s that time of year again! Kids go back to school, days start to get shorter, and in a couple of months it might start cooling off here in San Diego. Most importantly, however, it’s almost time for the Great American Beer Festival in Denver! The GABF is probably the most prestigious national beer competition in the country. It features more than 800 breweries, 3,800+ beers and 60,000 attendees. It’s two days (Oct 6th through 8th) of craft beer heaven with tastings and events and breweries all vying for gold, silver and bronze medals in hundreds of beer categories.

Thorn Street Brewery makes the trip to GABF every year and this time we thought we would make it extra special by bringing along two craft beer fans. We decided to run a giveaway at the beginning of this year where people could win a trip for two to the GABF. All they had to do was sign up for our email list! This trip would cover the plane tickets, hotel and GABF tickets to the fest. We had more than 1000 people enter and now we are super excited to announce that the winner is: Tony from San Diego, CA! We couldn’t be more excited that Tony won, as he comes into TSB often, and I recently got a chance to sit down with Tony, his wife, Teri and their trusty companion, Max, to talk about the upcoming trip, TSB, and their affair with craft beer.

How long have you been coming to Thorn Street Brewery?

Tony: “Damn near since the day it opened! I tasted some beers, because you only sold tasters in the beginning, and bought a growler and was hooked. From day one, Thorn Street has had an Irish Pub feel, where you know your neighbors and the people who work here know you. Coming here has been a real palette experience too, from talking with the guys here and learning about the beers to the variety that’s on tap.”

Teri: “Thorn Street has become one of Max’s favorite places. Max has just as much fun coming here as going to doggie daycare. Max pulls us to come in. He practically dragged us down here tonight. It’s his family place. And this isn’t an anonymous bar. It’s a place to talk to people, have a beer, eat something from a food truck. We don’t’ go to bars. It’s not that here.

Max is their exuberant, steel grey, Standard Schnauzer who accompanies Tony pretty much everywhere and is much loved in the brewery.

What’s your favorite TSB Beer?

Tony: “My daily drinker is North Park Pale. I’m missing the Red Headed Hop Child…man this question is hard. I would say my very favorite is the Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Tsar on Nitro. Also I will have any of the Belgians.”

Teri: “Half Chilecabra, half North Park Pale. That’s my absolute favorite. It cuts down on the heat of the Chilecabra.

In fact, Teri credits her taste for beer from coming to Thorn Street. “I really only drink beer here. I like it here.”

Were you excited when you found out you won?

Teri: “He called me when I was making dinner and said, ‘There’s something I haven’t told you about…’ and I starting thinking the worst possibly scenario because that’s how he presented it!”

What Tony didn’t tell Teri at the time was that he had turned down trip initially. He and Teri’s beloved Standard Airdale Terrier, Beatrix, had suddenly passed away that week and when we emailed Tony and let him know he won, he thought the Festival was Labor Day weekend. Considering everything that was going on for them, he felt there was no way they could make the event in less than 2 weeks, and regretfully passed on the trip. Luckily, he figured out the date-mistake quickly and contacted us to see if he could still say yes to the trip. We hadn’t selected another email yet, so we were more than happy to give the trip to the original winner.

Teri: “To turn down a trip to a beer festival like this, it had to be severe.”

But Teri and Tony were chuckling about the almost-miss today, and she said, “When he told me everything I said, ‘Are you kidding me? I would have gone.’ ‘What about school?’ He asked. ‘I don’t care! I have the vacation time!”‘

Anything else you want to say?

Teri: “I want to reiterate, if this were just some bar to get a drink, we wouldn’t come here. The reason we come is that we know the bartenders and brewers. Everyone talks to us. Everyone knows Max. One of the things that makes it feel like a European pub is that moms are here meeting up for a beer, which is great. The kids are playing around…how cool is that?”

Tony: “The staff is here to do their job and they do it well and they do an amazing job and it’s awesome. It’s just awesome.”

Teri: “I also love the specialty events that you guys do here. The donut pairings and the Girls Scout and beer pairing were so fun! Beer and the ice cream floats one was great too. And I was the biggest beer nay-sayer and then when I came here it was just sooooo fun.”

There you have it! Inside the minds of our big winners! They are getting ready for their winning trip to the GABF in the beginning of October and have promised to take lots of pics to share with us.

Want to be our next big winners? Make sure you sign up to be in our #thorntribe by signing up for our email list here…you never know what giveaways/contests we will cook up next!



Pokemon Go and Four Other Recent San Diego Trends


Pokemon Go burst into pop culture only a few weeks ago, but it’s already reaching new milestones. Not only is it the biggest mobile game in U.S. history, but with more than 21 million active users a day, people are spending more time using the Pokemon Go app than using Facebook or Twitter! The thing about fads like this is that it’s all about staying power. Here in San Diego, we see people walking around all day with their phones up, trying to catch adorable Pokemon characters who they can then train and battle in “gyms.” Based on the Pokemon card game that was popular in the early 2000s, and is still popular among the 5-12 year old set, Pokemon Go blends people’s smart phone addiction with real time GPS tracking that seems to be the perfect storm to turns people’s obsession, no matter how brief, onto this new game. Thorn Street Brewery was designated as a Pokemon Gym, so we have had an inside peek at the players and the game and we give it two thumbs up. It’s fun, easy and actually brings people together.

Trends and fads come and go, however, and although we are happy to have Pokemon Go around as long as its little heart desires, there are a few other trends that we have noticed happening around San Diego that we are ready to have “go gentle into that good night.”



Sorry, North Parkers. Although we have nothing against facial hair in general, and understand that beards are an important part of craft beer and brewing, mustaches have run their course. Though this is not a trend that started recently, in our opinion, it’s time for it to be over. Not only are mustaches ruining hot guys everywhere, there is also that length where it goes from respectable to picking up every crumb or beer head it comes across and…just no. Now the mustache trend as reached it’s tipping point, since you can find them on everything in pop culture from phone cases, to fake nails to baby pacifiers so we can only hope that we see a decrease in ‘staches from here on out.

Orange Theory Fitness

4OTF Class94347

We are all for fitness, but the hushed and furtive tones that people are taking when talking about this newest fitness obsession, already raises red flags. Orange Theory Fitness is picking up the work-out trend where SoulCycle and Crossfit left off. People frenetically work out for 60 minutes while watching their name up on a big scoreboard and trying to keep themselves in the “Orange Zone” in the hopes of creating something called “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption” (which they tell you will keep burning calories after you are done working out). Our issue isn’t with the program itself, since everyone likes something different, but when you hear people talking incessantly about their undying love for it at happy hour, at school pick up and at everywhere in between, it’s officially reached fad status.

$8 Pints of Beer 


When out to dinner recently in North Park at an unnamed, delicious restaurant, it was shocking to see $8 for a pint of Societe Pupil IPA.  Now inflation is understandable, and for some reason a $7 beer doesn’t gall us in the same way, but $8 is just too much for a beer in our hood when you can go to any taproom or brewery near 30th street and get a delicious craft beer pint for $6. Sure barrel aged and high ABV beers are more expensive, but a good ol’ IPA shouldn’t be nearly the same cost as buying the 6 pack at the store. Our wallet needs the $8 beer trend to die, but unfortunately, we don’t see that happening anytime soon.

The San Diego Heat


We are just about to head into the hottest three months of the year, here in San Diego, in another record breaking year for heat. When I moved to San Diego 16 years ago, I remember a couple of week at the end of August topping 90 degrees, when now we have a couple solid months that push that temperature and higher. Yes, complaining about the weather is pretty pointless, but if we could just put in a good word with Mother Nature to please bring back our “70 and sunny” San Diego days that we all moved here (and pay out the nose) for, that would be awesome.

So there you have it; four San Diego trend that we are ready to see end. Let us know what fads are you hoping will be over this year?

Anna Brigham


Behind the Beer


Although a lot of different things go into running a successful brewery, perhaps the most important aspect of any brewery is the brewing team. That’s because when you wipe away the rest of the craft beer culture, you are really left with one thing…the quality of beer. It doesn’t matter how cool the tasting room looks, who’s pouring the beer or what kind of glass is used to serve the beer. If the beer isn’t great, then it’s just another brewery in a packed-house industry that some say is already reaching its tipping point. That’s where talented brewers come in. They are the backbone of any good brewery and responsible for creating the delicious elixir that we have come to love so much.

Here at Thorn Street Brewery, we stand behind the quality and taste of our beers and have these three guys to thank for it. So without further ado, here are the brewers responsible for some of your favorite TSB beers…

Eric Shelley ~ Brewer

Eric Shelley is the newest member of the TSB brewing team but he is already making quite an impact. He began brewing in 2011 when he was working as the draft tech and beverage manager at Toronado, an iconic bar in San Diego’s craft beer scene. There he collaborated on many of their anniversary ales while perfecting his own beer recipes on his home brew system. Eric started competing in home brew competitions in 2013 and has amassed over 35 medals since then.


Some of his more prestigious wins include three medals at the 2015 AFC Competition, where he won gold for a Krystal Weiss, silver for an imperial IPA, a gold for an IPA, and “Best in Show” for that IPA, called Bart’s Bully. He also won big at last year’s Master’s Championship of Amateur Brewing where he won a gold medal as well as the Grand Master Award for his imperial IPA. At the Pacific Brewer’s Cup last year, Eric pulled down another three gold medals for his session IPA, ESB and grapefruit blonde ale. Here at TSB, Eric has been instrumental in brewing both our award winning Alpenglow Imperial Red IPA and the newest beer on the block, OG HighPA Session IPA. Speaking of the recent World Beer Cup win, Eric says he feels “a great sense of accomplishment for the brew team at TSB.” He adds, “Cheers and thanks to everyone that has been supporting the TSB beers and brewery. We really appreciate it.” Look for more exciting beers to come from Eric including the recent double IPA that he brewed for Toronado’s anniversary.

Scott Smith ~ Head Brewer

Scott Smith came to us from Ballast Point’s Home Brew Mart, but his love affair with craft beer started back when he was in high school and working in a liquor store that had a “microbrew” section. He credits Sierra Nevada and Pete’s Wicked Ale for introducing him to the full-flavored style of beer that is his profession now, but he caught the home brew bug when he became friends with Lee Chase, brew master and owner of Automatic Brewing Co. and Blind Lady Ale House, who at the time had just started brewing at Stone Brewing. Lee show Scott the process of brewing and the still slightly-under-age home brewer was born.

While working at Home Brew Mart, Scott’s team was responsible for brewing Ballast’s first brett beer. Brett is a type of wild yeast known for creating bold and unruly flavors in brews. It was an all brett IPA with strong pineapple characteristics that was a delicious, funky success.


Although Scott doesn’t have time to brew at home anymore, the recent EM-50 IPA was a home brew recipe of his and he was the head brewer responsible for the WBC winning Alpenglow. When asked how he felt about the recent WBC win, Scott had this to say…

“It feels great to have won a silver at WBC. There are a lot of breweries in San Diego now and a medal makes us stand out that much more and adds a legitimacy so people know we are the real deal and take what we do seriously. GABF is next, and I am working on a few things to enter. Other than that, I am just really excited about the new place and being able to have our beer in liquor stores when it is all up and running.”

Though Scott has been out of the brewery over the last month because of a foot surgery, Jeremiah May has stepped in to help out and has become a valued member of the brewing team. This is Jeremiah’s first stint brewing but has made a name for himself in San Diego as both a experienced boat captain and in the San Diego Disc Golf scene, where he was the Mature Champion twice at Morley Field.

Eric O’Connor ~ Brew Master/Co-Owner

Eric is one of the founding brewers here at TSB. He started the brewery with his childhood friend and fellow home brewer Dan Carrico (who now heads up the sales team) and Dennis O’Connor, the San Diego Taxman and owner of the home brew store that resided in the spot that is now the brewery. He started home brewing seriously six years ago when he brewed the first batch of Relay IPA. The recipe has had a “couple of tweaks and reboots since then, but it’s really not that different from the original recipe.”


Under Eric’s leadership Thorn Street Brewery has built a name for itself as a quality craft brewery that is known for a wide variety of beer styles and innovative recipes. The brew team is never afraid to try something new, as evidenced by the recent OG HighPA Session IPA (4.20% ABV) that was released, using cannabis extracts to flavor the beer while adding no THC.

Next on the horizon for the brewing team will be moving the 7 barrel process to a much larger brewing system at the Barrio Logan production facility, which is still under construction. “Man I’m super excited to get the Barrio Logan brewery up and running,” says Eric, “it will be a huge task, but we will be able to make beer more consistently and on a bigger scale.  I’m also very excited about some sours and barrel aged beers that are coming out soon. Stay tuned for more, but we will have a Geuze style sour, as well as Bourbon barrel aged Alpenglow and Dark Tsar Imperial Stout coming out soon!”

The next time you are at the brewery make sure you raise a glass to the guys who created the beer you are about to drink. Cheers to the talented and dedicated TSB brewers!


Explore Northpark’s Spotlight on Thorn

We are gearing up for the North Park Festival of the Art and the good people over at Explore North Park wrote a recent blog post about TSB, Vokab Kompany and what our brewery all about. Read on to check out what blogger, Haley Grosenheider, had to say about Thorn Street Brewery…

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We look forward to taking part in the North Park Festival of the Arts each year and this year is no exception. This festival is the perfect example of how vibrant and fun our community is and this is one of the biggest events in our little hood. Not to mention, it’s free!

We are super excited for our very own, Rob Gallo, and Vokab Kompany to be performing Saturday night and don’t forget to stop by TSB, 3-5 pm, rocking your Vokab Kompany swag for $1 off all pints and a chance to hang with the band. Then walk on over to the main stage at 6:30 and watch them tear it up. Don’t forget to get your craft beer block tickets too, which has extended hours this year–all the way to 10 pm!