Last October, the team behind a family-friendly brewpub project called My Yard Live, announced they were taking over a former Hometown Buffet in San Marcos. Included in the announcement was information about the veteran San Diego brewer they had hired to lead their brewing efforts. That individual was former Green Flash Brewing brewer and barrel master, Pat Korn, who came to the operation with more than 20 years of experience, but ended up departing in January when he and ownership didn’t see eye-to-eye. That set the My Yard Live team on a search for someone to fill his boots. Turns out they only had to look across the 78 freeway, as they have brought on Benjamin “Shaggy” Blaney, who most recently served as director of brewery operations for 3 Local Brothers’ brewing arm, Mason Ale Works, which is based at Urge Common House in San Marcos. Prior to that, he worked five years at Port Brewing / The Lost Abbey / The Hop Concept, less than a mile east of his new digs. We asked San Marcos’ most well-traveled brewer about his new job and what to expect when My Yard Live opens this summer.
It had only been a month since you took on the head role at your last job. What inspired you to make this move?
Having commissioned the brewhouse at the San Marcos location for Mason Ale Works, it was definitely a hard decision to make. I had a lot of fun working over there, but we were definitely moving more towards a production brewery style, which I’m just kind of burnt out on. I was really attracted to the idea of essentially being a pub brewer again. I think the hardest part about leaving Mason was the fact that (former director of brewery operations) Matt Webster and I started a killer sour program over there in the last year and this will be the year that a lot of them will be ready. The My Yard Live guys all have a pretty solid pedigree of business success, so I don’t think we’re gonna have any problem proving this concept will work…as long as I can make some good beers.
What are you most enthused about regarding your new role?
I think the most exciting—and intimidating—part of this project is the idea of creating something completely new and trying to put our mark out there. The idea of starting with a blank template and running with it should be an awesome challenge. I’m exicted to create something from the ground up.
Is it helpful getting in this early in the project?
I think getting in ahead of time will be extremely advantageous. Construction is cranking along and I’ve got a lot of stuff to get done before brewing can happen. Not to mention any new brewhouse is gonna have some kinks to work out. This is also a great way that I can get as many of our beers on tap as possible before we open. I think it’d be killer to have a full lineup for the grand opening. Another bonus to this is having say on the final placement of things, making sure the brewery is properly set up concerning water, power, storage, etc.
What sort of brewery and cellar setup are you putting together?
The system is a two-vessel, ten-barrel brewhouse from Premier Stainless with five 20-barrel Unitank fermenters and a 20-barrel bright tank. Most of the tanks have the option to act as a serving vessel, but we’re planning on mostly kegging tanks, which will also allow me to fill some taps with “one-off” kegs. By that, I mean adding things such as different fruits or Brettanomyces to just a few kegs.
What sort of beers can we expect once My Yard Live debuts?
I want to always have about 70% of our taps filled with house beer, ranging from the obvious West Coast IPAs to some Belgians, stouts, brown and lager. I love dry-hopped pilsners and saisons. Short answer, I guess, is a little bit of everything. I want to have enough beers on that no one gets bored of our list, especially since we will have the live-music aspect and a big outdoor vibe. I want to make plenty of beers that people can enjoy in our awesome SoCal weather. I’m planning on about ten or so “core styles” that will cover a broad spectrum, and then five-to-ten rotating seasonals to fill the gaps. I don’t want to just be another brewery that chases the newest hype craze, but rather establish a solid name for ourselves.