For more than a year-and-a-half, a sign visible to drivers on Miralani Drive proclaimed the 2015 opening of a new brewery. 2015 came and went, then the first eight months of 2016 elapsed—but that brewery’s doors remained closed to the public. Beer geeks wondered, beer journalists inquired—it seemed this operation might be doomed to fade away before ever pouring a beer. And that seemed a shame considering the nice and clearly beloved folks behind the business, which was partially crowd-funded by people who believed in ownership. Then, this weekend, it finally happened: Thunderhawk Alements (8675 Miralani Drive, #100, Miramar) soft-opened over the weekend.
Co-founder Jon Barbarin says a number of TTB delays and many sleepless nights preceded their unannounced debut, but seeing word-of-mouth and insider-alerts fill Thunderhawk’s tasting room Saturday and Sunday, probably helped give him a shot in the arm.
Thunderhawk’s bar is equipped with 14 taps, and opened with seven of them pouring the following:
- Electric Youth: A coffee pale ale that I sampled a prototype of and very much enjoyed.
- Liberty’s Teeth: A cascade-hopped British-style extra special bitter (ESB).
- Torreyana: A “San Diego-style” saison brewed with locally sourced honey, ginger and Torrey Pine needles, fermented on American oak chips.
- Over There: A dunkelweizen brewed with European-sourced malts.
- Westworld: A pale ale brewed with Cascade and Chinook hops.
- Planet Rock: Another pale ale hopped with Amarillo and Simcoe.
- Sun Zener: Yet another pale ale, this one given citrus and melon character care of Citra and Mosaic hops.
Thunderhawk’s bar-top is forged from a 31-foot live-edge California Redwood, and the overall thematic is described as “western-slash-Americana”. Barbarin and company sourced a collection of 1950s copper relief pieces portraying the Old West and installed light fixtures from antique plates and bowls made of that same metal. A full 1,300-square-feet of public-space is offered on an outdoor patio. Ownership plans to install TVs out there for the purpose of showing local sports events and soccer matches.
For now, Thunderhawk Alements will be open Saturdays, 12 to 10 p.m. and Sundays, 12 to 8 p.m. Additional days of operation will be added as they are able, starting with Friday, but there is no separation from the brewhouse to the tasting-room, so production will sometimes prohibit the business from being open to visitors. The owners also hope to work with other Miralani businesses such as 2kids Brewing Company and Setting Sun Sake Brewing Company to hold events displaying the wealth of craftsmanship in the immediate area.