It’s been nearly three years since URBN Restaurant Group shuttered the brewing component of its El Cajon brewpub. The coal-fired, pizza-centric restaurant and bar is still in operation, but the brewery component now belongs to homebrewing entrepreneurs making the jump to the big leagues of beer. Their vehicle for that ascent is called Creative Creature Brewing, and it will soft-open to the public this Friday, October 5.
Small in size by comparison to many local breweries at just 933 square feet, Creative Creature aims to live up to the first half of its name. Its early portfolio of beers features numerous India pale ales, but aside from that, is unlike most in the county.
“We are extremely small and have only three employees,” says co-founder Derek Carnation. “We all do everything from brewing to bartending. Our goal is to make beer that is uniquely different, adapting to new and old styles and constantly discovering new grain combos.”
Carnation and company also constructed all of the tables and seating inside and on Creative Creature’s outdoor patio. They are working with a four-barrel system (a three-barrel upgrade from the single-barrel homebrew rig they graduated from) and have prepared the following list of beers for their first weekend:
- Purple Heart (7.6%): A sour hazy IPA brewed with hibiscus, and Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe, and El Dorado hops.
- Lakefest (6.2%): A Northeast-style IPA brewed with Citra and Amarillo hops.
- Sole Session (4.5%): A single-malt-and-single-hop (SMASH) IPA made with Maris Otter and Simcoe.
- Cacao (4.5%): A 100% cacao kettle sour.
- Pumpkin Spice (4.5%): A kettle sour with pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.
- Drango (4.5%): A dragon fruit and mango kettle sour.
- Tamarindo (4.5%): A kettle sour with tamarind.
- Cranbiscus (4.5%): A cranberry- and hibiscus-infused kettle sour.
- A.L.M. (4.5%): A kettle sour with cucumber and lime mint.
- Cucuy (10.3%): An imperial coffee stout aged on rye whiskey-soaked oak staves and Superfood coffee.
Single, double, and triple hazy IPAs are currently fermenting, along with a West Coast IPA, the company’s first lager, and Pinky Finger, a strawberry wheat ale fermented with Brut yeast. Beers are available in four, eight, and 16-ounce quantities. Those looking for to-go beer are encouraged to bring their own growlers, as Creative Creature does not have any available for purchase. A 16-ounce canner is on-order and should arrive later this month.
Creative Creature is located at 110 North Magnolia Avenue. It will be open from 3 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Days and hours of operation will be extended as production increases, and the business will hold a grand opening event in late October or early November.