Mike Hess started the first “Nano Brewery” in San Diego back in 2010, in a small light industrial park in Miramar. It was remarkable at the time, because conventional wisdom cast a doubt on the basic business viability of such a small brewing operation. They came to find success, and eventually expanded to a second, larger location in North Park, while also keeping the Miramar location running to maintain their existing customer base.
Not long after Hess Brewing’s success, another nano brewery opened in Miramar – Intergalactic Brewing in 2012. They also quickly established a following, and were soon followed by two more nano breweries in close proximity. 2Kids Brewing Company and Pacific Brewing Co are the newest of the nano spots in Miramar, and they are neighbors in the same plaza located on Miralani Drive just off Camino Ruiz. I stopped by 2Kids Brewing and Tasting Room on a Saturday to enjoy some of their self-proclaimed “uncommon, unpretentious craft beers that are easy to drink.”
The interior is pretty much what you would expect when you would try to fit all the needs of a brewery and tasting room into a small business park space. There are bags of malt piled high, a cold box with taps mounted on the outside, a few tables and chairs for guests, and a big ol TV which had some college football playing on this Saturday. The husband-and-wife team of Rob and Sam Dufau run the operation, and both handle most aspects of the day to day work including brewing, beer-tending, social media management, and all the other myriad skills it takes to keep a small brewery humming along in this craft beer metropolis. They had a total of 12 beers on tap, with styles including Cream Ale, American Strong, a relatively high ABV Gose, and their acclaimed collaboration with Intergalactic Brewing dubbed Rebel Alliance, which is a freaking delicious Imperial stout with chocolate and coconut. Having sampled a few of these on previous visits, I picked out a flight of 4 wide-ranging ales to kick off the afternoon.
Left to Right above:
Twist N Stout – Sweet Stout With An Orange Twist 4.8% ABV
The flavor in this beer is amazing. Like the Terry’s Chocolate Orange that you get around the holidays, this has a great blend of the chocolate-styled flavor from the roasty malts, with some candied orange added. Slightly sweet, very flavorful, probably my beer of the day.
Hulk Smash IPA – American IPA with Simcoe Hops 6.8% ABV
A nice nod to the San Diego IPA style that was popularized over a decade ago. More sweet and spicy than the tropical hop bombs of the modern times. Very drinkable and smooth.
Light & Stormy Gose – A Pineapple fruited Gose 5.6% ABV
Holy carp this is a great drink! Not at all too sour or salty as many of the Gose varieties around town have been this summer. The pineapple in the brew comes out sweet and just a tiny bit citrusy, with enough of a sweet finish to compliment the sourness of the style. Quite higher in ABV than most of the Goses that I have seen recently, but not at all detracting from the flavor profile. If you see this on tap you must try it.
Unusual California Common – A traditional California style hopped with Centennial (??) 5.4% ABV
This is a well balanced, slightly spicier version of the same style of beer that was made popular by Anchor Steam. A deep amber, creamy mouthfeel brew that has it’s roots in the open-fermented coolships of Nor Cal. Definitely the hoppiest California Common that I have every sampled, but but not to a fault. Pretty much a perfect beer for fall. It was fun to speak with Sam, and get her brewer’s insight on the beers that she was pouring. 2Kids brews beers that they like (or think that they are going to like), and they do a really good job of making some stand-out ales, and pushing the envelope on tried-and-true styles from across the beer world. Next time you’re Miramar brewery hopping add 2Kids Brewing Company to your to-do list!
8680 Miralani Dr #123
San Diego, CA