At first glance, The Lost Abbey’s newest location doesn’t look like traditional tasting room.
“It’s not a ubiquitous building (in downtown),” Tomme Arthur, co-founder of The Lost Abbey, said over a pint. “It’s not a glass storefront. It has charm, it has character, it has depth — and it has great storytelling capacity.”
Formerly a Mexican Presbyterian Church, the modest building — now home to The Church by The Lost Abbey — was originally built in 1906. Inside the modest structure lies a L-shaped bar and ample seating constructed of dark hardwood, including galley-style tables with pew-like benches. There are two religious statues from Italy, plus arched windows, artistic tapestries, and a one-of-a-kind stained glass piece that sparkles above the tasting room’s 31 tap handles.
Although its interior looks authentic, Arthur said “there is not a single relic that was part of the original church.” Before the historic landmark was relocated and restored in 2015, it had been abandoned and vandalized for years. So when the The Lost Abbey team signed on as a tenant, they were devout in re-creating the church look.
After a few delays, The Church started pouring beers in December 2021. However, the tasting room — which is only a five-minute walk from Petco Park — has been running on a modified schedule while waiting on its food license … and the start of baseball season.
Now with its approved food permit in hand, the brewery is hosting an official grand opening weekend. The four-day public event kicked off Thursday,and a large party is scheduled for Saturday.
The Church will be home to the first kitchen for The Lost Abbey, which also operates tasting rooms in San Marcos and Cardiff. They’ll be serving up Mexican cuisine, including street tacos, burritos, salads and starters. (Due to short staffing, there will be a simplified menu on opening weekend.)
Originally, the grand opening celebration was intended to line up with the Padres’ home opener — but that anticipated day for sports lovers has been pushed back to April 14. However, Arthur said that they are excited to welcome baseball fans to The Church once the season starts, and envision its large patio as a tailgating alternative on game days before the first pitch is thrown.
And while baseball, food and aesthetics are important elements of The Lost Abbey’s newest location, rest assured that The Church has not forgotten about the most sacred offering of all: the beer.
“This is the biggest tap tower we have,” Arthur said, adding that all five brands The Lost Abbey produces are represented on The Church’s beer menu. “We’re trying to run a wide range of flavors. I think our tap list is exceptional relative to this area (in East Village).”
“We make all of the beer (in San Marcos), so we get to control the way that the board looks and feels,” Arthur continued. “We can pull rare beer in and out … in general, there’s not a lot of breweries that have a tasting room that have that level of variety.”
The Church by The Lost Abbey is located at 1313 J St. in East Village. For details on the grand opening, as well as a list of updated hours, visit lostabbey.com.
Tipping Pint Brewing Co. opens inside Hangar 76
Speaking of grand openings, a new brewery — Tipping Pint Brewing Co. — will debut in North County this weekend.
Tipping Pint’s taproom and production facility is located inside Hangar 76, a former warehouse turned venue. Helmed by head brewer Adam Jester (previously Pizza Port Solana Beach’s head brewer), Tipping Pint will have a seven-barrel brewhouse and a dozen beers on tap, from a honey wheat to a hazy IPA.
Besides the brewery, Hangar 76 will also house urban winery Carruth Cellars, as well as commercial kitchen for mobile food vendors, office spaces, and a design showroom. Hangar 76 is one of the first local projects to benefit from Assembly Bill No. 1825, allowing a brewery and winery to hold overlapping licenses and produce alcohol on the same premises.
This weekend, Hangar 76 will host a grand opening — happening 3 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday — with free live music, food trucks, raffles and games. Visit Tipping Point at 3229 Roymar Road in Oceanside and learn more about the brewery at tippingpintbeer.com.
AleSmith releases IPA for Women’s History Month
Cheers, ladies! The women of AleSmith Brewing Company have crafted a special brew in honor of Women’s History Month. Named Fearless IPA, the beer was released last Saturday.
“We want to recognize and celebrate the strength, resilience and impact of those who are working towards or are currently in this industry,” Kristen Ballinger, AleSmith’s marketing manager, said in a press release. “What better way for us to celebrate than to collaborate and brew a beer with the amazing women that work at our company.”
With a 6.8% ABV, the beer is described as a “crushable IPA.” It uses Kohia Nelson and Southern Cross hops, and features flavor notes like passionfruit, guava and lychee.
The beer is now available in a four-pack of 16-ounce cans, packaged in a label designed by Barrio Logan-based, surrealist artist Mary Jhun.For details, visit alesmith.com.
What I’m drinking this week
Name: Gone Viral
Brewery: Attitude Brewing Company
Style: Passion Fruit IPA
A COVID-19 themed beer might not sound that appetizing — but I can assure you, Gone Viral is the exception.
This week we’re returning to our IPA challenge with an odd brew from Attitude Brewing Company, which caught my eye with its stark white label. That label is plastered in iconography and speech bubbles spewing phrases we know all too well: six feet, social distancing, wash your hands, wear a mask.
On the can, Attitude dedicates Gone Viral to frontline healthcare and hospitality workers, as well as those who suffered personal loss due to COVID-19. The beer is also the brewery’s second anniversary beer.
Enough of the backstory: let’s get to the what’s inside the can. The single-hopped, 7.5% ABV brew is made with Mosaic, Citra and Amarillo hops. With its cloudy appearance, one might mistake this for a Hazy. (One, meaning me.)
But it’s a tried-and-true West Coast IPA with the style’s signature dryness, complimented by a bittersweet finish. Sometimes I have a hard time identifying specific fruit notes in IPAs, but Gone Viral makes it easy — it’s a passionfruit brew, through and through.
While the name might be a bit off-putting, this beer is the opposite. Gone Viral is surprisingly refreshing and light, with a drinkability that lasts the entirety of the glass — and that’s coming from an IPA skeptic. In fact, if I was trying to convert someone to an IPA, this might be the beer I start them out with. (Well, I guess I’m the one I’m trying to convert, huh?)
Aside from its branding, I wouldn’t change anything about the beer. 11/10. Keep the IPAs coming.