March 27, 2018 By Brandon Hernandez
Last October, we reported that Latchkey Brewing (2120 West Washington Street, Suite A, Five Points) was in the process of taking over Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment’s brewery and tasting room at the historic Mission Brewery Plaza. Acoustic Ales has moved out and is working to get its new Carlsbad facility operational, leaving Latchkey co-founders Matt West and Gerald Dollente to get to work producing the new interest’s beers while simultaneously revamping the public-facing elements of the business. Enough of both has been accomplished that the tasting room is set to debut during an official grand opening event taking place on Friday, April 13.
In addition to beer and food-truck cuisine, the grand opening will feature another important resource—brewing industry veterans. From the brewhouse to the bar, they will all be available to interact with guests during the first two weeks the tasting room is open. Talking shop about Latchkey’s early offerings will be head brewer Anthony Beach, who was involved in the development and production of numerous award-winning beers as a specialty brewer operating out of Ballast Point Brewing’s Scripps Ranch brewery. Beach began his career at San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing before heading to nearby Faultline Brewing in Sunnyvale, and eventually making the move to San Diego to work at Green Flash Brewing under then-brewmaster Chuck Silva.
Dollente, who serves as vice president of brewery operations, also hails from Ballast Point, where he worked in production before leaving to help launch Cutwater Spirits, the Miramar distilling operation started by former BP executives following the company’s 2015 sale to Constellation Brands. Even the tasting room has Ballast Point roots. That venue’s manager, Julia Mallon, worked at the company’s Scripps Ranch outpost and also served two lengthy stints behind the bar at Societe Brewing’s Kearny Mesa tasting room. Acquisition of experienced personnel has proven a common trait among better-performing breweries in recent years, providing cause for anticipation with this interest.
When Latchkey opens, it will definitely have a lager, porter, pale ale and hazy pale ale on tap. Also in the works are a red ale, hazy India pale ale (IPA), double IPA and a second lager. These beers are being produced while Latchkey contract brews beers for Acoustic Ales, which isn’t far along enough with its new brewery to meet demand. That operation figures to be up and running by summer. Back at Latchkey, the tasting room has been completely refaced. Gone is the dark, old-timey living room feel. In its place is a bright, open space. Currently, only 1,500 square feet of the taproom is being utilized, but the rest will be open to the public by the end of the year, and West and Dollente have already submitted plans for an outdoor space to the City of San Diego. Latchkey’s tasting room is located at 2120 West Washington Street.