Edible Monterey Bay

Two New Craft Breweries Opening in Monterey

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 12.35.10 PMFebruary 4, 2014 – The craft beer scene on the Monterey Peninsula is set to boom with the arrival of two new breweries in the next few months.

Construction on the Alvarado Street Brewery and Grill is moving quickly and owner/brewer J.C. Hill was in town today to check up on the progress.

“I can’t wait. I’m really excited to be part of the growing beer scene on the peninsula,” said Hill, who with his architect father is transforming the former Regency Theater into a 5,000 sq ft brewpub with seating for 110 and a 10-barrel brewhouse.

The 28-year-old brewer is co-owner of Amplified Ales in San Diego, but said he’s leaving that behind and moving to our area with his wife and their new baby at the end of February. He hopes to have the soft opening of the new Monterey brewpub in May.

“I plan to bring bright, citrusy, hoppy ales to the peninsula, that’s what I like to drink,” said Hill, who holds a degree in Hospitality from Cornell University and is a certified Cicerone beer expert. While the father and son are still talking to prospective chefs, they are clear that the food must be freshly prepared, using local ingredients whenever possible, but most importantly “food with flavors that pair well with our house beers.” 

Meantime Monterey insurance broker and home brewer David Olsen is getting ready to take his talents public with the debut of Craft Artisan Ales next week. Olsen will begin distributing his first brew, Andromeda IPA, to local bars on Wednesday, February 12 and follow up with a Grand Release Party at Post No Bills in Sand City on Feb 22.

“It’s turning out great,” said Olsen, who was inspired to start commercializing his brew after winning the People’s Choice award in 2012 at the local home brewer’s competition 831 Mash. “We’re going to have a serious IPA, think citrus, pine and passionfruit.”

Andromeda uses rare Australian Galaxy hops and Olsen plans several releases this year. Craft Artisan Ales is based in Pacific Grove and Olsen is using the facilities of Hermitage Brewing in San Jose. In addition to Post No Bills, the new brand will be on tap at Cannery Row Brewing and Lalla Grill in Monterey, and Ellie’s American Grill in Salinas.

The two new brewers are welcome additions to the Monterey Peninsula, where there are currently only two local craft breweries Peter B’s and English Ales. Hill says craft brewing is so popular in San Diego County that some 80 micro-brewers operate there.