April 7 is National Beer Day (and National Session Beer Day), and a local brewpub will be relaunching its beer program. This will be done via the introduction of two new beers from Pacific Beach AleHouse’s new head brewer, Dan Enjem, who comes to his current coastal digs with brewing experience garnered at Thorn Street Brewery and Ballast Point Brewing. Brewing a barrel of beer at a time at the former followed by three-hundred-times as much at the latter provided wide ranging experience Enjem employed in creating his duo of upcoming offerings, SunSetter Raspberry Berliner Weisse and Crystal Pier Pale Ale. In preparation for a double drinking “holiday,” we caught up with Enjem to see how his new job is going.
What were the main takeaways from your time with Ballast Point?
In 2015, I started brewing for Ballast Point in Scripps Ranch. While there, I got the opportunity to brew several different styles on a large system. By the last year of Scripps, I think we brewed about 47 different beers. I learned a lot about raw materials and water from brewer Aaron Justus, and also got to work with a lot of good brewers that are now head brewers at other good San Diego breweries. When Scripps shut down, I worked at Ballast Point’s production brewery in Miramar, and got to brew on 150-barrel and 300-barrel systems.
What is your brewing MO?
Keep things simple. I don’t do complicated grain bills or hop blends. I like to taste ingredients and there is still plenty of complexity when malts, hops, yeast and water are all in the mix. That said, I have exotic styles on the horizon for PB AleHouse. I want to do some things tourists and locals maybe haven’t drunk before or even heard of. There are so many styles and sub-styles to choose from. My plan is to have core styles on the menu. I will have an IPA, but it will change with season and availability of ingredients. I will have a darker style like a red or an amber. I make a Berliner weisse that will change with what fruits are in season. I will also have a stout or porter-type beer for dark beer drinkers. This will keep the beer list fresh and interesting.
What are some early PB AleHouse beers you are particularly proud of?
The new stout recipe. I liked the original name from the previous brewer, so I kept it, but the beer is a dry, roasty stout that tastes like dark chocolate and coffee. It’s a super-simple grain bill, but we get so much character out of it.
PB AleHouse has largely been off the #SDBeer radar. What are you working on to change that?
I am planning to raise visibility with grassroots marketing. I have been working with our team at our parent company, OMG Hospitality Group, to use social media to spread the word. We are also parcipating in events that we feel will expose the AleHouse to craft beer drinkers and establish us as a serious beer destination.