With nearly a half-century under their belt and burger-icon status spanning throughout and beyond San Diego, the ownership behind Hodad’s could have went with consultants and a veteran fermentationist when deciding to enter the brewing game. Instead, they did as they always have, keeping things in-house and homegrown, handing the project over to restaurant manager, Marlow Myrmo. It’s fitting since it was Myrmo’s homebrewed beer that inspired the idea for Hodad’s Brewing, a project that’s been in the works for years and is on track to launch in late-summer or early-fall.
“Marlow has been perfecting his homebrew, bringing in each batch for us to try, and we were really stoked on what he was coming up with, so we just put two and two together,” says Hodad’s headman Shane Hardin. “It all happened very naturally. Between our two restaurants and our five spots in Petco Park, we sell a lot of beer, so why not make our own?”
Myrmo is a native OBecian who started homebrewing in 2013, around the same time he began working for Hodad’s. Positive feedback from coworkers and service-industry friends inspired him to expand his knowledge base. He enrolled in San Diego State University’s Business of Craft Beer certificate program while continuing to brew, and now is putting experience gained in both pursuits to work as he completes work on Hodad’s brewery setup, which includes a 10-barrel brewhouse and 60 barrels of fermentation space. All of that is housed in a 3,000-square-foot facility in the Murphy Canyon area. That space is designated solely for production and will not be outfitted with a tasting room. The plan is for Hodad’s Brewing beers to be available exclusively at its parent business’ eateries.
When asked what sorts of beers he’ll brew, Myrmo prefers to play it close to the vest. “We’re going to have fun, starting out with a selection of core beers. I love me some West Coast IPA just as much as a traditional German-style hefeweizen. Without giving too much away, we’ll be brewing American and Old-World beer styles, brewing not only what we Hodadies like to drink, but most importantly, what our customers enjoy. All while maintaining the quality people have come to expect from Hodad’s.”
“We’re basically looking to accomplish the same thing we already have with our burgers, but with beer…create something honest and satisfying, and replicate the hell out of it,” says Hardin. “I want the beer to be notorious for having the same consistency and quality as our food.”
All of that will stem from Myrmo and his efforts. He has been instrumental in every phase of the start-up, from layout design to mechanical aspects and, of course, development of the brewing game plan. He’s often gone the extra mile, fabricating specialty machine parts at a workshop built within the brewing facility. But that’s not the only phase in which he’s gone above and beyond. He’s also exhibited the foresight to immerse himself in the local brewing culture, getting to know local brewers, participating in educational forums put on by the San Diego Brewers Guild, California Craft Brewers Association, and national trade organization, the Brewers Association. It’s provided him a wealth of helpful contacts and lessons learned.
Initially, Myrmo’s beers will be available exclusively on draft, with Hodad’s locations continuing to supplement their tap lists with guest beers. Hardin is open to the possibility of canning or bottling down the line. Regardless of format, if the brewing arm of the business is successful, the brewery is designed to allow for installation of plenty of additional fermenters. But for now, it’s all about getting open and getting beer to the Hodad’s locations. Fans can follow their progress on Instagram.
“After a lot of planning and building, we’re excited to offer another rad reason to enjoy Hodad’s,” says Myrmo. “We’re stoked for the opportunity to branch out to new customers and also give loyal Hodad’s fans another reason to come back!”