San Diego's newest brewery has set up shop just a few blocks from its oldest. Resident Brewing Co. started brewing last month, 27 years after Karl Strauss brewpub opened its first location on Columbia Street downtown.
Resident is a few blocks east, built into the back of The Local restaurant and bar at 4th and C. The Local underwent a complete overhaul last year, which included connecting to additional space that held a ten-barrel Premier Stainless brew system and construction of a beer tasting bar. Manning that system is Robert Masterson, previously a home brewer who won the 2014 Pro Am competition sponsored by Karl Strauss with his "Hops Til You Drop" double IPA.
Along with friend Ryan Reschan, Masterson also won 2013 American Homebrewers Association homebrewing contest sponsored by Stone Brewing, which resulted in a Stone and Rip Current collaboration, R&R Coconut IPA.
Around that time, the Local's ownership started talking about adding a brewery component to their bar. "They were looking to do something different, and I'd just won the Stone homebrew competition," Masterson says, "We kind of talked about it and said, 'Hey, let's give this a go.'"
Originally from Poway, Masterson has been working as an IT consultant since 2002, and now serves as a partner in both the restaurant and brewery. He started brewing as a hobby in 2009, joining both Society of Barley Engineers and QUAFF home brew clubs. Though he's gone pro on the brewing front, most of his work at Resident takes place nights and weekends. "I still have my day job," he says, "so I'm working long hours right now."
The first Resident beers to hit taps at the Local and select taprooms around town stick closer to standard styles. There's a Perky Blonde, Back Alley Porter, Urbanite IPA, and Hall Pass San Diego style Pale Ale. The latter features a blend of Citra, Centennial, Mosaic, and Amarillo — both dry hopped and in the boil.
"I like flavors and aromas that are the same," says Masterson, explaining he prefers a beer's base hops and aromatics to align. "Sometimes you get hoppy beers and you taste them after smelling it, and the taste there's nothing the same. That to me is weird."
Which isn't to say San Diego's newest pro brewer eschews creativity — his winning Stone recipe will debut for Resident in March under its new name, Vacation Coconut IPA. Masterson also likes to explore vanguard brewing efforts as an avid bottle trader. "I want to try the best beers in the world," he says, "I want to try unique beers, beers that I can't get here."