Justin Stambaugh is a double agent. Not only does he head brewing operations for San Marcos’ Rip Current Brewing, he is also working to open up his own business with his brother. That brick-and-mortar interest is conveniently located right next door to Rip Current at 1325 Grand Avenue, Suite 107. When it opens on Memorial Day weekend, it will go by the name Stave and Nail Brewing, a moniker that alludes to Justin and Joe Stambaugh’s MO.
“Barrel-aging is a huge focus for us, so much so that we named our brewery after the process of barrel-aging and blending,” says Justin, who began his career with Rip Current in 2012. At the time, he figured he’d work there a year then start his own brewery, but soon learned that was far too ambitious (and a bit naïve). He went on to rise through the ranks, take the reins on Rip Current’s barrel-aged sour program and make a key hire, bringing on his brother as assistant brewer. Joe later moved on to Mikkeller Brewing San Diego, where he is still employed. Together, they have a combined decade of professional brewing experience in San Diego County…but they won’t be doing all the brewing for Stave and Nail.
“We do not have and do not plan to have a brewhouse, and have instead opted to contract with other breweries for our wort production, specifically Rip Current, where I’m still head of brewing operations,” says Justin. “This was a key aspect to our business model and allowed us to keep our initial investment modest and our overhead affordable.”
This is a similar concept to another local work-in-progress, Invoak Brewing and Blending, which is setting up a facility purely devoted to barrel-aging in Miramar, and falls in line with other less-orthodox businesses that age beer without brewing it on-site such as Sorrento Valley’s California Wild Ales and Oceanside-based Horus Aged Ales.
Stave and Nail is paced to produce between 150 and 200 barrels of beer in its first year, using two seven-barrel fermenters and around 50 wine barrels. Its 1,385-square-foot barrel cellar also doubles as its tasting room, and the Stambaughs plan to have between six and eight offerings on draft at any given time, combining barrel-aged sours and traditional beers, while also offering hard kombucha. Stave and Nail’s grand opening weekend will feature its first two packaged releases—canned four-packs of the following beers (commentary provided by Justin Stambaugh):
- Those Who Wander, Golden Sour Ale with Pink Guava: This barrel-aged, mixed-culture wild ale has a brilliant pink-guava nose with a well-balanced acidity and a nice underlying funk on the finish.
- Rubus One, Raspberry Sour Ale: It is loaded with jammy raspberry on the nose but finishes dry and balanced.
- Time and Space, Double Hazy IPA: We wanted to start with a hop profile we both know works well to delivery pungent, fruity hop aromatics that we could layer on top of a juicy, hazy grain bill to create a pillowy support for the Mosaic, Citra and Simcoe hops we used.
- Cosmic Daytrip, Pastry Stout: We also love dark beers here, and decided to go with a stout brewed with oats, lactose, macadamia nuts and coconut. It’s luxuriously full-bodied and should satisfy the dessert-beer lovers.
“We are really trying to flip the script on the traditional brewery model, specifically when it comes to the tasting room and releases. We have watched the beer industry transform over the last several years, and one of the biggest things we have noticed is the shift towards special-release packaged beers. From a brewer’s standpoint, this is experimental, fun and refreshing, but also difficult. Because of this shift, we wanted to base our business around our releases.”
Also different from other breweries will be Stave and Nail’s hours of operation. Rather than being open several days a week, its tasting room will be open one weekend per month. The best way to stay informed of those dates is to consult Stave and Nail’s website.