It’s only been five months since Creative Creature Brewing opened its brewery and tasting room at the former home of URBN St. Brewing in El Cajon. Connected to, but unaffiliated with URBN Pizza, it has been well received; co-founder Derek Carnation reports that the tasting room is often at maximum capacity. That early success has inspired the team to expand the business by opening a satellite tasting room in downtown’s East Village neighborhood.
Located at 440 16th Street and attached to Red Hat Coffee Co., the venue will include 800 square feet of interior public space plus outdoor seating if the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control allows it. A dozen taps will dispense beers produced at the El Cajon brewery in an environment that mirrors that facility.
“Our goal is to have the same feel as the mother ship in East County, cool art by local artists,” says Carnation, who, like many in San Diego following the acquisition of third baseman Manny Machado, is eager for the start of baseball season. “We are huge Padres fans, so having a place to drink beers before and after the games was a huge selling point for us.”
Proximity to Petco Park and being able to share the venue with Red Hat were key reasons Carnation and company opted for the East Village, which is already home to a whopping nine brewery-owned venues with tasting rooms from Bay City Brewing and Two Roots Brewing on track to debut later this year. It’s a level of saturation that may prove challenging, but they feel the benefits of the location justify their decision.
Back in El Cajon, Creative Creature’s brewing team is experimenting with new hazy beers as well as other unique styles such as a tropical stout they recently brewed with Chula Vista’s Thr3e Punk Ales Brewing. They are also trying their hand at something rather rare, utilizing algae in the brewing process.