You could say that divine intervention might have had a little something to do with Mike Hess Brewing's (the recent name change from Hess Brewing is due to a dust-up with a similarly-named winery) new North Park brewery. It's the former site of the Evangelical Bible Book Store, where owner Mike Hess' pastor once worked. And as Hess tells it, all the church folks are excited that beer's now going to be made there — a lot of it.
They're expecting delivery and installation of their new 30-barrel brew house and fermenters later this month, which will enable Hess to produce about 1,100 gallons of beer per batch — bumping up the nanobrewery (they'll keep their Miramar location as a tasting room and pilot brewery) to the microbrewery level.
Nate Sampson, a former brewmaster at Oregon's Rogue Ales, has been tapped as Hess' new head brewer; he'll split brewing shifts with owner Mike Hess and longtime employee Frank Butler.
All the brewing equipment will be housed below street level in the basement, and the 3,000 square foot, 16 tap tasting room will be suspended above it, on an upper level in the back half of the space. To traverse the gap from the all glass-fronted entrance, Hess is installing a 50 foot plexiglass-sided skybridge so that as you walk across it, you'll be able to see the brewery below.
The second level will also be home to Hess' new canning line; Mike Hess says that they'll start by canning their five current flagship beers, but he expects the core line to grow now that they have more room to brew. Occasional special release beers will be bottled, including this year's Christmas Doppelbock.
Patios are being installed in front of and behind the building; the plan is to have food trucks pull up in the back alley to supply snacks to the tasting room. Hess shared that they're optimistically hoping for a February opening and isn't sure yet about the tasting room's hours, although they won't be serving past 10 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends.
· Mike Hess Brewing [Official Site]
· All Eater San Diego Plywood Reports [~ESD~]