I didn’t believe in fate and things that were meant to be... until I met my wife. Once she came along, things just started falling into place. My life would be nowhere near the same — and nowhere near as good — were it not for her being in it. That seems to be true for Amanda Elder and Spencer Peters, long-time friends from preschool through high school who lost touch after moving to different states to marry and start their adult lives. In 2011, they reconnected and moved back to San Diego to be together. Today, they have a son and are working on bringing another baby into this world — Toolbox Brewing Company (1495 Poinsettia Avenue, Suite 148, Vista).
Once Elder and Peters became a couple, they started to tool with the idea of opening a brewery. Originally, Spencer was going to single-handedly brew, until, by a fortuitous twist of fate, they met Peter Perrecone, an award-winning homebrewer specializing in forward-thinking beer styles they believed to be the perfect guy to serve as their head brewer. Much as my life found its form, so too did this trio’s, and now, they are less than a month from soft opening what will be Vista’s eleventh operating brewery.
Like many of their neighbors, Toolbox will start small. A three-barrel brewhouse with three six-barrel fermenters, a six-barrel bright tank, and a reverse-osmosis water system comprises the operation. Lower-yield batches should serve them well in that they have aspirations to create a great many styles of beer, including a number of Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus-stoked beers. They are something Perrecone is very passionate about. In fact, he’ll be installing an “American farmhouse style,” 100% Brett program that will include hoppy, tart and funky brews.
“San Diego breweries make the best beer in the country, but we feel San Diego is lacking beer that pushes the envelope,” says Perrecone. “Brewing with Brett is the future. It has so many great things to offer from a ton of amazing fruit and tropical flavors to funky, traditional Belgian flavors.” He also likes the brilliant flavors that come about when Brett beers are allowed to mature over time. He believes beers capable of being laid down for 20 to 30 years represent the next step in modern craft beer’s evolution and, having tasted sours nearly two decades old from Belgium’s Cantillon, knows how good they can be.
Once open, Toolbox will primarily serve all of its beers in its tasting room. The opening day line-up figures to include an IPA, session IPA, Brett IPA, tart saison, and imperial milk stout. Toolbox’s public space will combine touches of garage and construction motifs utilizing repurposed mechanical elements while also providing a thoughtful nod to San Diego’s military history. So far, licensing, permitting, and construction have gone smoothly for the trio, allowing them to forecast an early-July opening that looks like it will go off without a hitch. Must be fate!