This may be the first time Matt Akin has opened a brewery, but he's no amateur. A native San Diegan, Akin started working at AleSmith Brewing Company straight out of college, graduated from the prestigious American Brewers Guild in 2005 and spent eight years with the award-winning brewery until branching out on his own in 2011.
In March 2012, he and his father Jim leased an 8,500 square foot property in the Grantville area, just off the I-8 at Mission Gorge Road. This month, they started construction on Benchmark Brewing Co., which will open its doors by the end of April.
The Akins enlisted local firm, Hauck Architecture to help plan the build out. Firm principal T. Dustin Hauck is a fellow member of QUAFF, one of San Diego's home brew clubs, and he'd previously worked on Sublime Alehouse in San Marcos.
Matt's wife, Rachel, is an interior designer, and she's giving the brewery a "modern ranger station" look, which includes a tasting room lined in locally reclaimed wood, which will also double as an art gallery and accommodate 100 people.
The men are avid campers, so the name is derived from the benchmarks found using topographic maps; it also refers to the attention Akin plans on paying to the quality of his beer. He'll brew four core beers on the 10 barrel brew system that'll be delivered in March — a blonde ale, a nut brown ale, an IPA and an oatmeal stout. They'll all come in between a sessionable 4.5 to 5% ABV, and the master brewer assured Eater that there will be no sacrifice in flavor, despite the low alcohol; Akin cited Alpine Brewing Company's Hoppy Birthday as an admirable example. The core beers will be canned, eventually.
Benchmark also has a small pilot system on which they'll brew "families" of specialty beers for occasional release. Akin and his father told Eater that they have plans to put out a group of Belgian table beers and a cluster of Scottish-style shilling ales.
In this relatively untapped area (the closest brewery is San Diego Brewing Company), Akin is hoping to catch crowds from the stadium and collaborate with nearby Iowa Meat Farms on some food and beer events. When the tasting room is open (likely Wednesday through Saturday, and Sundays during football season), Benchmark will also host food trucks.
· Benchmark Brewing Co. [Official Site]
· All Beer Coverage on Eater San Diego [~ESD~]