An update on the Aztec empire

Vista brewery closing out year dos with new beers and ambition

At nearly two years of age, Aztec Brewing Company (2330 La Mirada Drive, Suite 300, Vista) is one of the elder statesmen in its North County municipality, which is home to eight operating brewhouses with five new companies set to open in the near future. Such is the heft of the brewing boom that’s occurred in the city that also houses the likes of Iron Fist Brewing Company, Latitude 33 Brewing Company, Back Street Brewery and more.

In reviving a pre-Prohibition beer brand, the owners did not set out to make their version of ABC into the rather large operation it had been in its former life, but that doesn’t mean they don’t plan on having an impact on the craft beer scene. Over the past two years, they have been active in forming the Vista Brewers Guild, working with local government to make Vista more brewery-friendly, and fostering camaraderie among local brewing companies in general by bringing owners together in forums locally and as far away as Washington, D.C. (a panel discussion at this year’s Craft Brewers Conference).

As their second anniversary approaches (their official second anniversary celebration is scheduled for September 6 and 7 and will include live music and double IPA called DOS that’s 9.9% ABV and comes in at over 100 IBUs), their collaboration with contemporaries is taking on a more traditional form—beer. ABC brewer Paul Naylor and Troy Smith from Vista’s Belching Beaver Brewery recently cooked up a Belgian IPA that debuted at Urge Gastropub in North County over the weekend. This batch was brewed at Aztec’s facility. The next will be brewed at Belching Beaver, a company that has made collaboration brewing a big part of its business plan. So much so, that the owners almost renamed the business Hop Highway Brewing Company but have since set that handle aside for their collaborative efforts.

Beligan IPA brewed in collaboration with Belching Beaver and debuted at Urge Gastropub.

Beligan IPA brewed in collaboration with Belching Beaver and debuted at Urge Gastropub.

ABC is also looking at taking another page out of The Beav’s playbook. Earlier this year, Belching Beaver opened a tasting-only spot in North Park so they could more easily expose San Diegans outside North County to their wares. ABC’s owners have been exploring sites where they would be able to do the same thing, including the College Area near the owners’ alma mater, San Diego State University. For now, however, their SDSU-related happenings involve participating in meetings regarding the university’s upcoming Business of Craft Beer certificate program.

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