Pacific Islander Beer Company- Santee
In past posts I have mentioned that I really enjoy visiting the latest start-up breweries in San Diego, especially during their “soft openings.” For me, visiting a new brewery is like getting into a brand new car. When you sit down at the tasting bar and look around, everything is clean, bright, and fresh. Inhale the air and it has that smell of newness, with hints of fresh paint, wood stain, and metal polish still lingering.
In addition to the shiny new tasting room and sparkling brewing system, another thing I enjoy about visiting breweries during “soft openings” is the staff. Everyone is happy and bursting with excitement and pride for their creation. Owners, brewers, family members, and friends are usually around, talking non-stop about the brewery and making new batches of beers. It’s a good time to brew in San Diego County.
It was that way the other day when I visited Pacific Islander Beer Company (PIB), the fifth craft brewery to open in Santee. Just the way I like it: I got to talk with a co-founder and his wife, who both had time to share craft beer knowledge and stories; I heard about the fulfillment of their visions and dreams for new Island-style beers in the future; and I saw “Ohana” in action as friends came into the brewery to visit and partake in the spirit of Aloha. Plus, there were fresh new beers to sample!
Note to readers: Someday when you get the chance, visit a craft brewery during a “soft opening” and you’ll see what I mean. It’s worth traveling for the experience.
Technically still in “soft open” mode (which means they are putting final touches on the operation and ramping up beer production of their grand opening line-up of brews), PIB was pouring four of their beers when I visited. I got a taster of each style: Blonde Ale, IPA, Double IPA, and Limited Release Stout. Because a friend said she liked the Stout, I paid for two so I had more to taste.
Of the four beers, I liked PIB Li’ke Li’ke Honey Blonde (7.0 ABV/14.4 IBU) the best, and decided to review it. Here are my notes from the tasting session:
Golden straw color, clear, with a white head that fades slowly. Pleasant floral, honey, and grass aromas, this beer has a light, malt sweetness, balanced with low hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is creamy, it has medium body, average carbonation, and a crisp, clean finish. As described by the brewery, this refreshing beer is perfect for hot summer days outside on the patio.
How to Get There
By car– from the I-5 or I-15, go east on SR-52 to Cuyamaca Street exit, turn right onto Cuyamaca, then right onto Prospect Avenue. Follow Prospect to Argent Street, turn left, and then an immedient left into the first driveway on the left. Park in front of the building and look for the tikis.
By trolley– take the Green Line to Gillespie Field Station, depart there, and walk up Prospect Avenue to the brewery.