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Jeff Spanier Brian Robertson, TR Robertson and Jeff Riccitelli celebrate the reopening of Mother Earth Brewing in Vista. Photo by Jeff Spanier
Jeff Spanier Brian Robertson, TR Robertson and Jeff Riccitelli celebrate the reopening of Mother Earth Brewing in Vista. Photo by Jeff Spanier
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Craft beer is hoppin’ in Vista

The last few weeks have been very good for the already very good beer scene in Vista. The long-awaited return of a Mother Earth taproom opened up on Jan. 27, with Lost Abbey soon to follow. Prey Brewing Company (and restaurant), with its specialty lineup of sour ales, is now serving.

Burgeon Beer Company expanded to downtown Vista with its Grove location. Along with the rest of the excellent lineup in Vista, it is a one-stop “hopping” for beer enthusiasts.

The Burgeon Grove spot at 501 S. Santa Fe Avenue sits directly across the street from another favorite spot, 508 Tavern Bar and Grill. In the tradition of collaboration and cooperation that one expects of the San Diego beer industry, the two venues are working together. 508’s menu can be scanned right from the Grove, and food delivered for enjoyment at Burgeon.

The enormous floor-to-ceiling windows and the reclaimed wood throughout the taproom have helped to add to the artistic aesthetic of the neighborhood. Carlsbad Crush, San Diego’s preeminent pale ale (one beer writer’s opinion), is a staple on tap and beers brewed specifically for the new location.

And even more good news for Vista is the return of Mother Earth Brewing Company’s taproom on 2055 Thibodo Road. This is the original taproom, but it’s a whole new look and vibe. A few days before the grand reopening, I had a chance to sit down with Kamron Khannakhjavani, marketing director and partner of Mother Earth, to hear about the steps leading to this return.

co-host Jeff Riccitelli, Kamron Khannakhjavani and author at Mother Earth Brewing
I Like Beer co-host Jeff Riccitelli, Kamron Khannakhjavani and Jeff Spanier at Mother Earth Brewing. Photo by Jeff Spanier

ILB: The last time we talked, we were zooming from our garages, and you were looking for possible locations to reopen up in. What happened that led you right back here to where it all started?

Kamron: After eight years in our great spot on Main Street, we took a little breather to figure things out. We felt we didn’t need to prove ourselves with a venue like that one anymore. We will brew 30,000 barrels at this location this year. We wanted nice things and looked at different neighborhoods with lots of foot traffic. We looked all over, and this location opening doesn’t preclude us from opening up somewhere else, perhaps somewhere more coastal.

But this feels right. Doing this build-out feels right, being right here where we started. It has just felt wholesome.

ILB: Cheers and welcome home. What are we drinking, by the way?

Kamron: This is Tierra Madre, this is our 4.5% abv Mexican Lager. It is made with rice, corn and Mexican lager yeast. Super sessionable. We like to call it a “sandwich beer.” This beer had risen up to number four in our lineup behind the Cali-Creamin styles.

ILB: And this is a shared space, which is new.

Kamron: Much of our production has moved to Idaho. At the same time, Lost Abbey was looking for a space to relocate. So, we’ve shared the brewhouse since last April. The Lost Abbey team has been really cool, and we are getting along great.

 Wakumi Japanese Lager, special brew for the Mother Earth reopening. Photo by Jeff Spanier
Wakumi Japanese Lager, a special brew for the Mother Earth reopening. Photo by Jeff Spanier

ILB: And they will have a taproom here, too, right?

Kamron: That all came about due to the ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control). After months of paperwork, they said, ‘You know, this would all be easier if you just applied for a joint tasting room.’

ILB: Am I about to thank the ABC for something?

Kamron: Yes! They were actually helpful. I hadn’t even considered that. The wheels started turning. I marched straight into Tomme Arthur’s office (COO of Lost Abbey) and ran the idea by him. There’s definitely a symbiosis between our two breweries that the beer drinker is really going to enjoy.

ILB: What’s been the best part of reopening a tasting room?

Kamron: We missed seeing people. Having people back in this space is great!

Mother Earth Brewing Company is open every day except Mondays. Burgeon Beer’s The Grove is open seven days a week. Both are dog- and family-friendly. If you haven’t made the trip to Vista lately, there’s more to see, taste and enjoy.

St. Patrick’s Day is coming, and San Diego’s ShamROCK block party is returning on Saturday, March 16th, for its 28th year. It’s a day full of music, food, drink and shenanigans! Visit the website or @sdshamrock on Instagram for more information. The ILB team will be there, too!

Jeff Spanier is the co-host of I Like Beer the Podcast. For the entire interview with Mother Earth Brewing, take a listen wherever you get podcasts. Follow Spanier’s adventures on Instagram @ilikebeerthepodcast

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