San Diego gets its newest large-scale brewery restaurant today when Gravity Heights opens to the public in Sorrento Mesa; out of the gate, the project has a leg up thanks to a partnership between a well-respected hospitality group and an experienced brewing team. As the story goes, Whisknladle Hospitality Inc.’s managing partner Arturo Kassel met brewmaster Skip Virgilio at a friend’s bottle share and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse; a legend in the craft brewing scene, Virgilio co-founded AleSmith and created some of its most iconic beers including AleSmith X.
A 12,000-square-foot beer behemoth amongst industrial parks might seem out of left field for the local restaurant group, which operates the intimate, dining-focused Whisknladle and Catania in La Jolla, but Kassel says Gravity Heights gives them an opportunity to apply their core values to a high-volume setting that will appeal to the 120,000 tech employees who work within three miles of the venue. Aiming to create a space where food, beer, and service are on equal footing, Whisknladle Hospitality Inc. is doubling down in the area with a food hall called Park Commons that will open nearby this spring.
Corporate chef/partner Ryan Johnston and Gravity Heights executive chef Keith Voight’s menu of “elevated pub fare” includes burgers, woodfired pizza, wings, and dirty fries topped with smoked brisket and barbecue sauce but also French onion soup, whole-roasted branzino, duck liver crostini, and bhel puri, an Indian snack of puffed rice and chutney. Focusing on direct sales rather than distribution, the brewery will open with four collaboration beers made with other local breweries, a handful of guest beers, and 13 house beers including the hoppy Beach Day Kolsch and the SMS Pale Ale from head brewer Tommy Kreamer, who spent six years with The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing. Virgilio says that while they want to brew something for everyone, he’s particularly excited about reintroducing some lesser-seen styles including the sessionable Brewers’ Best Amber and the German-inspired CTRL-ALT-BIER.