Secrets to Beer Success at Bay Bridge Brewing Company- Chula Vista
Joining Border X Brewing and Novo Brazil Brewing, Bay Bridge Brewing became the third craft brewery in South San Diego County to serve fresh beer. Compared to North County’s 29 operating breweries (with 13 more being planned) that’s a small number, but it’s a start. Nonetheless, the number is significantly out of balance.
South Bay Lacks Breweries
I hope the “late to the table” South County cities of Chula Vista and National City will wake up and realize what other cities in San Diego County already know: craft breweries benefit the communities where they operate.
Call it gentrification if you like, but the fact is, craft breweries improve social mix, create jobs, increase property values, and grow consumer purchasing power at surrounding local businesses. That’s why cities like San Diego, Santee, San Marcos, and Vista streamline the approval processes for new breweries. And the innovative cities offer them tax incentives.
It took two years for Bay Bridge to get final from the City of Chula Vista to finally open last week, and that’s way too long. Part of the reason it took so long was the city wasted way too much time vetting the brewery for the same things the ABC (California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control) had already approved prior to issuing them a permit. Plus, there were other ridiculous hoops that slowed things down. But they persevered, and perseverance leads to success.
Why is Chula Vista so slow at catching on?
Craft brewing is a cash cow for cities in San Diego County. Collectively in the county, we are an established craft beer destination for beer travelers from all over the world. That’s great, but the industry is more than that. While local breweries are adding tax dollars to their city’s revenue streams, they are also adding jobs and benefiting communities where they operate.
Memo to National City, Chula Vista, and Imperial Beach city planners: ease up on your restrictions and get rid of the redundancy with the State of California! In time, I believe you will. And once you do, Border X, Novo Brazil, and Bay Bridge will be joined by more craft revenue-producing breweries, and enthusiasts such as myself won’t have to drive so far.
“Flavorful beer produced by people who care about their work catches on quickly.”– Omar Passons
Enough of my rant. Now for the other secret to beer success at Bay Bridge Brewing: balance.
“We believe balance is the key to making our beers,” co-owner and brewer Doug Chase told me. To test that belief I sampled five of their brews. Doug was right– they were all balanced with just the right amount of malt sweetness and hop bitterness.
It was a hot day when I tasted the quintet. They were all refreshing and delicious, but I was most fond of the Palomar Pale Ale (5.9 ABV/62 IBUs):
Copper in color, this beer is clear with a frothy white head. Aromas are caramel and floral-like, with a hint of citrus. It has a nice caramel flavor with a little bit of citrus, and a pleasant hop bitterness that is balanced with the malt sweetness. Mouthfeel is most enjoyable as the creamy texture is medium where I like it to be, and it finishes clean. Overall, this is a refreshing beer and well-made example of an American-Style Pale Ale.
Getting to the brewery:
By San Diego Trolley- take the Blue Line toward Chula Vista and depart at Palomar Street Trolley Station. There is a path from the Trolley Station right to the brewery on Marsat Court.
By car- From the I-5 go east on Main Street, left on Hollister (which becomes Industrial), right on Anita, left on Jayken Way, then left on Marsat Court. The brewery is at the end of the street in the cul-de-sac.