San Diego's Thorn Brewing To Launch New BBQ & Woodfired Pizza Dining Concepts & Spirit Brand

November 3, 2020

San Diego's Thorn Brewing Company will soon launch a multi-concept restaurant featuring Texas-style barbecue and wood-fired Neapolitan Pizza, as well as an onsite spirits brand that uses local beer in its distilling process. 

Thorn Brewing has spent the downtime afforded by the COVID-19 pandemic to transform their Barrio Logan facility in the historic Fraser’s Boiler Service to become what is being affectionately referred to as the "Acre of Awesome". In addition to a full-scale brewery, the 21,00 square foot warehouse now is home to Rebru Spirits, Sideyard by HottMess, and HottMess Woodfired Pizza, which will all unveil on Thursday, November 19.  The company will also be adding an onsite speakeasy in the near future. The employee-owned project is the product of North Park native Dennis O’ Connor (Thorn Brewing Co., Home & Away, ShoreRider), who founded what was then Thorn St. Brewery at 3176 Thorn Street in North Park in 2012 after previously using the space as an outlet for home brewers. 

ReBru Spirits is a micro-distillery that produces small-batch spirits exclusively derived from expired local beer. Rebru is led by award-winning master distiller Neil Lotz (formerly of Desert Distilling in Palm Desert, CA) who uses an exclusive process and German 1,500 liter Kothe still to transform overstock and out-of-code beer from local breweries (including Thorn Brewing Co.), yielding spirits that are enhanced by the beer's latent hop oils. So far, 125,000 gallons of beer waste has been diverted from disposal. The charcoal used to clarify ReBru Spirits is also sourced from barbecue leftovers from sister concept, Sideyard by HottMess. The distillery’s launch portfolio will retail on-site (and later online) and includes vodka and gin, with whiskey to be added in the near future, as well as limited experimental batch spirits. The packaging is designed intentionally to minimize the use of plastic and non-recyclable materials and empty bottles will be reused by way of a bottle return program which will launch in the coming months.

Sideyard by HottMess is an all-outdoor restaurant serving-up authentic, Texas-style smoked barbecue tended to by pitmaster David Kendall (who previously worked for San Diego's Grand Ole BBQ), complimented by craft cocktails from Beverage Director Gareth Moore (Home & Away, LOLA 55, Born & Raised). Open for lunch and dinner, the menu will feature sandwiches, sides, and plates, including smoked tri tip, smoked turkey, vegan herb-marinated grilled cauliflower steak.

HottMess Woodfired Pizza will serve Executive Chef Gregory "Kenzo" Inai’s (Home & Away, Rancho Bernardo Inn) family-style fare and woodfired Neapolitan-style pies made with spent Thorn Brewing Co. grain, which imparts a different flavor profile depending on which beer it was derived from. The menu will feature both traditional pies and those with more unexpected toppings inspired by the community (like Al Pastor), plus Chef's whim offerings.

Creative Director and local multidisciplinary artist and designer Christine Cole (formerly of Modern Times Beer) has cultivated the project’s design direction, as well as its branding, with an eye toward limiting its potential environmental impact. The existing structure of the building has been preserved, while the interior was retrofitted. In addition, 50% of the furniture and decor has been up-cycled from previously shuttered local restaurants. The team’s ultimate goal is to achieve zero-waste, which means no single-use plastics and any waste generated (both culinary and trash) that is unable to be up-cycled is composted.

Thorn Brewing Company, Rebru Spirits, Sideyard By HottMess and HottMess Woodfired Pizza are all located at 1735 National Avenue in San Diego's historic Barrio Logan community. For more information about Thorn Brewing Company, visit