Many who’ve traveled down Miralani Drive en route to Miramar breweries AleSmith Brewing Co., 2kids Brewing Co. or Pacific Brewing Co. have likely spied a turquoise and orange sign proclaiming the 2015 arrival of Thunderhawk Alements. A sign has been up and prevalent across the street from the business suites housing 2kids and Pacific since last year, but little is known about the interest, including whether or not it will actually open this year.
According to co-founders Jonathan Barbarin and Bill Lindsay, Thunderhawk should take flight in December, rewarding the crowd-funding donors who saw fit to trade funding for the promise of local craft beer. It’s fitting it should occur during the yuletide season, given the company’s beginnings. Barbarin and Lindsay are life-long friends who started homebrewing together five years ago. Over that span, they would share their beers with family and friends at annual ugly holiday sweater parties. The 2014 edition of that soiree served as the launch of their Kickstarter campaign, which went on to raise nearly $20,000.
That money has been funneled into a former office space measuring 1,500 square feet, 700 of which will be dedicated to Thunderhawk’s tasting room. Upping the service area is a 1,000-square-foot outdoor patio. Barbarin and Lindsay hope to drive home the artisan feel of the business via a rustic aesthetic featuring reclaimed wood and copper, accented with hand-finished touches. To date, one of the hardest parts of bringing their vision to life was sourcing a one-barrel electric brewhouse from Blichmann Engineering, which they will use to double-batch brew into a quartet of four-barrel fermenters. The Year One production goal for this nanobrewery will be 200 barrels.
Lindsay will serve as the brewmaster, producing a core line-up of traditional styles augmented by more interesting specialties incorporating locally sourced ingredients such as honey, ginger, pomegranates and coffee. The last one made its way into a recent test batch for a bright, citrusy pale ale. The year-rounds figure to include a dunkelweizen, extra special bitter, milk stout and San Diego-style pale ale. All of the beer will be sold solely from Thunderhawk’s tasting room, with canning as the ultimate goal, packaging-wise. Another goal is to operate in an environmentally friendly manner. A key future initiative to accomplish that will be installation of a solar photovoltaic energy system and water monitoring devices to help minimize the business’ water-to-beer ratio.