Few local breweries opened in the past three years have enjoyed as steady and fervent a following as Carlsbad’s Burgeon Beer Co. In touch with current trends and producing beers to satisfy modern tastes, while also honoring traditional brews from England to Southern California, its portfolio speaks to numerous demographics. That wide-ranging appeal has spelled success and spawned bullish promise for the future. Bolstered by both, the company recently took over a second suite at its business-park home and, today, announced it is building a tasting room in downtown San Diego’s Little Italy community.
“We have been fortunate to experience a state of continuous growth since we planted the seed for Burgeon Beer Co. three years ago, blossoming through the support of our vibrant community in Carlsbad,” says co-founder Matt Zirpolo. “As we enter this new decade, we are ecstatic to branch out across our home city to open our second tasting room in San Diego proper.”
Dubbed “The Arbor”, it will be sited at 1326 Kettner Boulevard on the bottom floor of the Savina luxury-condominium development. Its access to the nearby Waterfront Park, Santa Fe Depot, and San Diego International Airport were plusses that inspired the Burgeon team to settle down at the southern end of Little Italy after two years of scouring the county for a place to install its home away from home.
“This location includes every amenity we were looking for—easy access to public transportation, an adjacent parking lot, and a walkable neighborhood with a thriving food, arts, and culture scene,” says Zirpolo, who explored sites in Mission Hills, East Village, Normal Heights, and other locales. “We didn’t want to settle on the easiest option. We wanted the best option, and this was it. It’s a very popular area and worth both the time and effort to be here.”
The venue comes in at 2,094 square feet with a little over 1,000 square feet of that set aside for public space. Four hundred square feet of outdoor patio space, accessible via roll-up doors, will allow for overflow and people watching. The tasting room motif is described as bringing an outdoor beer garden indoors.
“The interior will capture the experience of looking up from the forest floor, and we’ll utilize the height of our 17-foot-tall ceilings to add depth and warmth with layers of greenery and accents of reclaimed wood,” says Zirpolo. It’s a similar aesthetic to Burgeon’s Carlsbad tasting room, which has a tree at its center, a living wall display and live-edge wooden bar, plus other natural, elemental features that speak to the company’s preservationist ideologies. The Burgeon crew took a recent trip to San Diego’s mountainous unincorporated expanses to bring back wood burned in 2003’s Cedar Fire for bar-tops and assorted furnishings to be installed at The Arbor.
“We donated close to $50,000 last year alone through fundraisers ranging from pint nights benefitting local charities, school, families and more, to national charities such as our partnership with the National Forest Foundation, where we created a beer called Reclaim the Wild and planted more than 25,000 trees in California’s national forests,” says Zirpolo. “We host multiple charity events every month at our current location and plan to do the same at The Arbor.”
Beer and local wine will both be available in addition to food from an on-site kitchen. That space will be under the direction of Jesus “Chuy” de la Torre, the owner and head chef for Miramar-based The Good Seed Food Co., a culinary outfit well-known throughout the San Diego beer scene for its work with local breweries. The menu will be composed of locally sourced ingredients and consist of dishes designed to pair well with Burgeon’s beers. When asked what patrons can expect from de la Torre’s bill of fare, Zirpolo names burgers, short rib tacos, cool vegan dishes, and the chef’s famous dry-rubbed “stupid wings.”
“The Good Seed Food Co. was the number-one candidate to run the food component of The Arbor, and we could not be happier that Chef Chuy is bringing his talents to our team. He is locally acclaimed with years of experience curating beer-and-food pairings in San Diego,” says Zirpolo. “We’ll offer an abundance of from-scratch, organic, vegetarian, and vegan options. Additionally, there will also be a rotating seasonal menu that is shaped by current beer releases and seasonally fresh produce, seafood and sustainably sourced protein. By curating a menu aimed to enhance both food and beer, we plan to shape a unique tasting experience that reminds people what dining out should be.”
Burgeon is in the process of getting a conditional use permit for its new space, but if all remains on schedule, The Arbor will open by late summer.
“Once open, we plan to match the Carlsbad brewery schedule with frequent new beer and can releases. This location also presents the opportunity to create unique collaborative events with breweries from all over the world,” says Zirpolo.