9715 Carroll Centre Road #107, Miramar
(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)
Even before trying a single beer, one can’t help but be charmed by the collection of sci-fi cinema paraphernalia gracing the walls of Intergalactic Brewing Company (9835 Carroll Centre Road, #108, Miramar). During a recent visit to check out owner and brewmaster Alex Van Horne’s revamped tasting room, I wasn’t the only one taking photos. Self-proclaimed “nerd” and movie aficionado Richard Ralston snapped away with his smartphone before getting his own image snapped with a life-sized cut-out of Chewbacca, R2D2, and C3PO, then sitting down to what he dubbed “Admiral Richard’s Tour of the Galaxy” — a taster flight of all 17 beers available that night. He was also OK with calling it a “five-year mission,” one of many Star Trek references made over the course of the evening. Richard’s a regular, something Intergalactic has quite a few of judging by the onslaught of them that paraded in over the course of my hour or so spent interviewing Van Horne. Thanks to him and his woodworking brother’s efforts, those fans have much roomier environs in which to sip pints of Andromeda IPA, Astro Scottish Ale, and Space Oasis Coconut Porter.
Taking over an abutting business suite allowed Van Horne to move his cold box next door, freeing up quite a bit of space, which he used to rip out his old rectangular serving area and install an oblong U-shaped bar that includes an ADA-compliant, lowered segment on one side while allowing space for a picnic table on the other. It’s one of two such seating furnishings in the main tasting room, which now also features a rail bar with gear-toothed planks jutting out to maximize the number of stools for patrons. These replace belly bars that are now in an overflow room just off the tasting room, along with three tables made from old wooden brewery equipment. The extra room isn’t as attractive, but on busy days, it’ll get the job done. Intergalactic’s tap count is up from 12 to 20 with a nitro option. The tasting room also features a white space on the south wall for projecting movies and other things guys like Richard would enjoy.
But more has changed here than what can be seen by the naked eye. Van Horne and company are now brewing on a three-barrel system, which should increase Intergalactic’s annual capacity to between 350 and 500 barrels, up from 96 total barrels in the business’ first year. Though there’s no hard-and-fast production number associated with the term “nanobrewery” (the smallest type of brewery by classification), reaching the aforementioned range would equate to Intergalactic graduating to microbrewery status in most peoples’ minds (mine and Van Horne’s included). Future projects include bottling — labels have already been approved for eight of Intergalactic’s beers, which Van Horne hopes to get into bottles in the New Year — and having three-dimensional rocket tap handles designed with interchangeable placards for keg accounts.