The La Jolla Brewhouse Under New Ownership | Will Be Reborn as La Jolla Brewing Company


June 16, 2013


By Megan Gallagher | SanDiegoVille Contributor

San Diegans looking for another craft brew option won’t have to wait very long. La Jolla Brewing Company has announced plans to open its doors this August. The new brewery and restaurant will take the place of the beleaguered La Jolla Brewhouse.

Guests who have dined at La Jolla Brewhouse can expect to see nothing familiar when La Jolla Brewing Company opens its doors. Partners Phil Aitken, Leigh Gibson, Fred Gaston and Armando Lopez have orchestrated a complete overhaul of the facility from the layout and d├ęcor to the menu and the brewing equipment.

“We’re spending 90 days to completely rebrand the place, clean it up and really start to build our own reputation,” Aitken said. “We really want to do it right. It needs to be clean and enjoyable, with comfort food and any type of beer that you can find at other craft beer pubs.”

Though the building is still in the construction phase, we had the opportunity to take a tour of the building with the company’s brewmaster, Brett Stampf. Some highlights of the changes include a revamped patio area with a centralized fire pit and retractable roof, a completely rebuilt and renovated bar which will place the barrels front and center, and the conversion of a room previously used for storage into a private event area. The company is also working on securing a cabaret license to showcase live music and other entertainment.

“About 20 years ago this location was actually called La Jolla Brewing Company and I have friends who are locals who remember it well,” Stampf said. “Well we are here now and we’re trying to return it to what it used to be, a community place to hang out, drink beer and enjoy yourself.”

Though they’re seeking to return the location to its roots, the team is doing so with a modern twist. The restaurant will have approximately 24 beers on tap, with six to eight of those devoted to their own creations, while the others are reserved for only local beers. In that way, setting themselves up as partners of other local brewing companies, rather than direct competition.

“A lot of the local beer makers don’t have tasting rooms, and they’re looking for venues where they can showcase their beers,” Aitken said. “We’re happy to be that venue for them.”

As for the brews that La Jolla Brewing Company will put out themselves, Stampf, who has more than 18 years of experience in commercial brewing and previously held titles at Green Flash Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Co. and Dogfish Head, says they will start with core beers such as an IPA and a brown ale to showcase their range, before venturing into other tastes.

“We’re going to start out with a diverse group of beers to appear to as many people as possible,” Stampf said. “But we’ll have about three to four taps available to showcase whatever we’d like. There really is no limit.”

Stampf is also working closely with Leigh Gibson, owner and operator of Dirty Birds in Pacific Beach to create a menu that complements their beers.

“Leigh’s core competency is making sure he can get a good and consistent menu, and in my opinion, a higher-end comfort food menu, “Aitken said. “We’re not looking to do filet mignon or lamb lollipops, we’re looking to do food that you are happy to eat while enjoying a beer.”

La Jolla Brewing Company is located at 7536 Fay Ave., and has a projected opening date of August 1. Follow their progress on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LaJollaBrewingCompany .