It took a long time for San Diego’s southernmost reaches to get homegrown craft beer to reach for. The first opportunity came in 2008 when The Brew House at Eastlake brewpub opened. Last year, that business closed after several years of beer that, while not horribly flawed, failed to live up to lofty San Diego craft fan standards. That same year, South Bay’s first modern-day craft brewery, Mad Lab Craft Brewing, opened in Otay Mesa. Owners Mike and Daphne MacFarland have since closed up shop, opting to move to a new facility that, unlike the original, will not include a tasting room, leaving the area’s citizens without a straight-from-the-source option for craft beer yet again…for now.
Soon, the latest entrepreneurs looking to make a go of suds in the south will open Border X Brewing (8684 Avenida De La Fuente, Suite 8, Otay Mesa). The business has been on my radar for awhile now, but I was officially introduced to family behind the business by someone particularly excited about Border X’s arrival, the aforementioned Daphne MacFarland. Camaraderie like this is what has helped San Diego become such a craft brewing powerhouse for so long, and may well help the movement to catch on in a bigger way in the South Bay.
Border X has been working on its brewery and tasting room since June and is hoping for a September debut. Like their beers, the sampling space will be 100% hand-crafted, and bring together concrete counter tops and salvaged wood surroundings. The owners also hope to hang up artwork form the cross border art scene to help communicate a bi-cultural experience. That’s something that’s very important to them. They specifically chose a space right near the U.S.-Mexico border because of their infatuation with its unique cultural dynamic, and are looking to marry European and Latin American brewing traditions.
Owner Marcelino Favela, his brother David, and his sons Ivan and Martin (the business’ brewing duo), world travelers and students of the global community, want to simultaneously celebrate the brewing traditions of different cultures. They say brewing has been going on in the Americas way before Columbus or Cortez arrived, citing fermented beverages such as pulque, tepache, tesquino, and chicha. They plan on picking a region or tradition and exploring the ingredients, processes, and traditions to produce adventurous beers and create a unique journey for their customers.
Once up and running, Border X’s tasting room will be open Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 12 to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. The first beers to be available is a quartet of core offerings comprised of an India pale ale, Belgian IPA, hefeweizen, and pilsner. While those are very traditional—a bit antithetical to their brewing ethos—they will also look to infuse different ingredients into their year-round beers to offer customers interesting one-offs.