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Guadalupe Brewery
Raúl and Lisa Dejú, founders of Guadalupe Brewery. The couple brews beer in Carlsbad and serves at their tap house in downtown Vista. Courtesy photo
Cheers! North County Columns Food & Wine

Cheers! North County: In the moment with Guadalupe Brewery

Things are changing, and changing quickly. Recent coronavirus tier changes have allowed North County breweries to both outdoor and indoor with restrictions, and the state has announced a future with no restrictions (fingers-crossed).

It’s been a fast-moving avalanche following a year of insanity. Each week I’ll be checking with a local brewery to see how they are responding to the moment.

Guadalupe Brewery was founded by Raúl and Lisa Dejú. Raúl is the head brewer, but like any small business, the couple takes on a lot of jobs at the brewery. They brew in Carlsbad but serve out of their tap house in downtown Vista on S. Santa Fe Avenue.

Cheers!: Hi Lisa & Raúl, thanks for catching me up on what’s going on at Guadalupe Brewery. As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of this wild pandemic, what is the physical and emotional status of the brewery?

Thanks for asking! We’re holding on; working to come back after we were shut down for six months last year. We closed in March, reopening in September. We’ve spent even more time together, which is pretty hard to do as a married couple that works together! We have our homebrew supply store at the brewery location in Carlsbad, so that has been a focus for us over the year too.

Unfortunately, during that time we lost some employees because they couldn’t put the ability to support themselves on hold. Understandably! That’s hard for a small company like us. We think of our employees as family. We miss them and are happy when they move on, and good things happen for them.

A good thing that happened for the Tap House during [the shutdown] was that the City of Vista worked really hard to finish remodeling our street. We have a whole new street and sidewalk in front with new lighting, palm trees and extensive all-new street parking!

Guadalupe Brewery
A view of Guadalupe Brewery. Photo via Instagram.

Cheers!: How has COVID-19 impacted your brewery over the past year? What are your expectations for the rest of 2021?

Well, obviously a six-month shut down is hard. We weren’t making beer…but now we’ve been reopened long enough to be able to restart our brewing, which is always good. We’ve also been working during our shut down on expanding the ways people can get Guadalupe beer, so we are excited, and looking forward to some great opportunities that 2021 can bring.

Cheers!: Guadalupe Brewery pulls direct inspiration from Valle de Guadalupe; Mexico’s wine country. Where do North County residents see and taste that influence in the beer and the Cerveceria?

Well, we take our inspiration from the Valle because we started brewing professionally there in 2011, actually on winery property in Francisco Zarco. The most visual influence from the Valle is at our Tap House in downtown Vista.

Our building was built in the 1930s, and we reused wood flooring and joists we had salvaged from the original building, and a combination of mixed materials (wood, stucco, corrugated metals) which is Mexico wine country in feel.

For the beer, El Vainillo vanilla cream ale is set to make a return in April and has been one of our most popular beers since the days when we were brewing in the Guadalupe Valley. Kaxtilchili is a Saison, and a beer that was definitely inspired by our days in Mexico but created in Carlsbad.

Kaxtilchili is the Aztec word for “peppercorn,” and it has four types of peppercorn steeped after fermentation. It’s a very subtle peppery finish to the Saison and was inspired by the multitudes of pink peppercorn trees that were on the winery property where we brewed in the Valle.

Cheers!: What is the best way for North County residents to get their hands on some of your beer, and is there anything new coming out of the brewery that local craft beer lovers should be looking out for?

Currently, we have growler pick-ups at the Tap House in downtown Vista. We’ve acquired some plastic, 1-way growlers that are included in the price, so people don’t have to bring in glass growlers for sanitizing.

We are working on some exciting developments, specifically, canning small batches with a hand-canner at the Tap House. We’ll be putting a couple of popular beers [in cans]—the Coco Blonde and La Jugosona, a juicy hazy IPA, and have them available in cans at the Tap House. We’re also working to get larger canning runs going. We’ll start with El Vainillo, and hopefully quickly to other beer types. Once we have our beer in cans, we hope to have more locations where everyone can try Guadalupe beer!

We also have a couple of special beers coming, which will be in bottles. One was aged in a favorite wine barrel, which was the barrel [that] produced an award-winning beer in 2015, so we know that will be a special beer.

Cheers!: Anything else you want readers to know about Guadalupe Brewery?

We’re working to expand our Tap House hours in downtown Vista coming back from the shutdowns of the past year. For those who haven’t been there yet, we have a great indoor/outdoor space. So if you like to sit inside and people watch on S. Santa Fe, or outside on our spacious back patio, we’ve got you covered.

We’re also continuing to partner with food vendors on the patio, especially on the weekends. We have amazing birria, from Birrieria El Mendez, on Sundays, and rotating vendors at other times. We’ve also just started Live Trivia on Thursdays. We have a lot to offer and hope people will check out the new S Santa Fe [location] with all it has to offer and, of course, stop in to see us [at the brewery].

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Check out Guadalupe Brewery on Instagram at @GuadalupeBrewery for updates on beer releases, trivia event details, hours and updated coronavirus protocols, or head to guadalupebrewery.com to see their updated beer offerings.

Do you listen to podcasts? Are you interested in interesting things being done by interesting people in North County San Diego? Be sure to check out the most recent episode of the Cheers! North County podcast with Jenny Mann, local beer photographer, influencer and social media maven, and Shaheen Javadizadeh, founder of the Take In food delivery app.

Stream it now on The Coast News online or search for it on your favorite podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Thanks for listening, and for following Cheers! North County on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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