Status of New Breweries on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach

by on July 18, 2016 · 33 comments

in Culture, Economy, Ocean Beach

beer glassesHere’s a real brief update on the status of all the new and in-coming breweries on or very near Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach.

There’s really 5 new brew places – and so far only one is actually a “brewery” where beer is brewed on site. The rest are or will be “beer-tasting rooms”.

OB Culture Brew googleCulture

The first new brew taster on OB’s main drag is “Culture Brewing Co.” right next to OB Warehouse in the 4800 block of Newport. Cultures has definitely established itself, serving quality beer with little overhead in terms of furniture. Any week night, there’s plenty of folks enjoying themselves.

Culture also has weekly art or photographic presentations on its walls – so the owners are trying to appeal to more than just good brewskis. The place is also beginning to do things for the community, and definitely hires some of its staff from the village.

OB Helms July016Helm’s

Prominently on the corner of Newport and Cable, stands Helm’s – one of those new beer tasters that has opened. The owners tore out a wall and have now joined the new faze of drinking beer almost on the street.

Despite early crowds when they first opened, the jury is still out and whether Helm’s has enough fan base to make it a go.

OB OB Brew 2OB Brewery

Finally opening after 2 years or so of being boarded up and under-construction, the OB Brewery is reportedly getting popular. With the only genuine brewery on Newport, with its tanks on the first floor of the 3 story building, and with dinning on the second, and roof-top eats with an excellent view on what really is a third floor, the place has promise.

Despite the intrusion of its encroachment of the first floor into the public sidewalk on a busy commercial street, the place’s owners – who own the well-established Newport Pizza across the street – are gambling that the encroachment will not deter its customers.

OB Belch Beav 071316 2Belching Beaver

Very little progress can be seen through the windows of another budding brew place, Belching Beaver.

OB Belch Beav 071316 1Coming in at 4836 Newport, right next door to OB’s only winery, there’s no signage or anything to indicate that a beer tasting room is planned.

OB killowatt signKilowatt Brewing

We reported last week on the fifth brewery coming to the Newport area, Kilowatt Brewing, that could be opened as early as November.

So, count ’em, folks.  Five new breweries on Newport.

They join, of course, the new winery, Gianni Buonomo Winery, and the re-configured former Gallagher’s, the new THC 1502 bar down the street. The only other genuine brewery in OB, Pizza Port, seems to be going bonkers. Always busy.

Over on Voltaire Street, Hess Brewing seems to be having success. And a new sports bar is planned for the former O’Bistros.


{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris July 18, 2016 at 12:33 pm

While I love SD’s beer scene and am stoked we have become the craft mecca, I think we are reaching oversaturation. Five tasting rooms on Newport alone? Wow. I DO really like Culture a lot though. And of course I always enjoy a good beer at Newport Pizza and Pizza Port. I guess time will tell but I wish all of them good luck.


Chris July 18, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Oh I did try OB Brewery and I can say not bad but nothing mind blowing.


mjt July 18, 2016 at 1:38 pm

We used to call them Beer Joints. One on every corner.


Serita July 18, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Ugh, ugh, and more ugh.
What public officials can be held responsible for this illegal alcohol saturation?
Whoever they are they need to be. v o t e d out!


Dita July 18, 2016 at 2:29 pm

The same officials giving all the permits also are asleep on the job in terms of sidewalk encroachments.
I plan to boycott the o b brewery until it gives u s our sidewalk back.


South OB Girl July 18, 2016 at 3:03 pm

Belching Beaver??!! Maybe some people like the name. I’m not sure you have to be a hardcore feminist to find the name a little surprising. The permits??!! The names?! What is going on!!


Chris July 18, 2016 at 7:00 pm

What would being a feminist have to do with anything? Also they are pretty popular beer in SD. Is this the first time you’ve heard of them? Anyway my original question is, what does being a feminist have to do with surprised by the name? Do you think there is a sexual connotation to it?


South OB Girl July 18, 2016 at 8:48 pm

Glad to know it is a popular beer. And it’s definitely a memorable name.


Chris July 18, 2016 at 9:35 pm

You should try it.


Dave July 18, 2016 at 11:49 pm

I’m not a stout guy (well, I am but I don’t generally prefer the beer genre), but their peanut butter milk stout is awesome.

That said, the name really is regrettable, even for those whose minds don’t immediately gutter-dive…


Chris July 19, 2016 at 12:22 pm

You gotta admit the name seems to get attention. And the DO make a good product and are doing really well. I’ve had several of their beers and yes the peanut butter milk stout IS amazing.


nostalgic July 18, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Please note the type of license in the picture: 23 – Small Beer Manufacturer. These licenses are easier to obtain than other types of alcohol licensing. The same is true for vintners. Their requirements were originally designed for the large vineyards in Napa Valley. This is one reason that they do not serve food. Then they become a restaurant requiring a license to serve alcohol. There are many types of licensing, and the ones with minimum requirements have become the most popular.


Sammy July 18, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Hi nostalgic….if these licenses are so easy to get, do we envision the rest of Newport with only beer and wine tasting places? Ugh.
Step up, politicians and do something.
And step up, obecians …before it is too late.


Rufus July 18, 2016 at 7:12 pm

Stop whining and get involved in the planning process if you don’t like what’s going on.

Or better yet, buy some commercial property and have a go at it.

Whining for the sake of whining is, like, so whiney!


Chris July 18, 2016 at 7:36 pm

Or just drink some beer.


Byron Wear July 18, 2016 at 7:39 pm

The variety of Ocean Beach beer tasting rooms are all good for the long term pedestrian traffic on Newport and Voltaire, attracting customers from throughout the Peninsula community to the adjacent cafes and mom and pop retail shops.


Frida July 18, 2016 at 8:12 pm

A variety of beer tasting rooms does not variety m a k e. Ocean beach needs to remain it’s vibrancy as a family town, not just be o n e large beer hall.


Chris July 19, 2016 at 12:24 pm

I don’t think beer tasting rooms are going lessen is vibrancy as a family town. If anything it will make it more so.


Rufus July 18, 2016 at 7:54 pm

Absolutely! The wife and I walk from home to Shades or the Warehouse (etc) then stop at Culture or Hess on the way home.


Rufus July 18, 2016 at 7:58 pm

And BTW Byron, your son is very responsive. I’d urge anybody with a Penninsula/OB problem to call or email him in Councilwoman Zapf’s office. He’s a great resource.


Barb July 19, 2016 at 6:21 am

Councilwoman zapf….is this her vision for o b? A big beer hall? Or can she help put a halt to what should be illegal?
Between booze and air b and b, o b is under siege.


cc July 19, 2016 at 7:16 am

yea, it’s just OB, and I think they mentioned your name directly, Barb. Get your tinfoil hat on


Rufus July 19, 2016 at 7:32 am

Barb…Zaph is not a dictator. She has little to no power to affect the planning process as defined in the muni code.

But you do! It takes a long term committment to the community planning process. YOU have to attend OB Planning Board meetings and YOU have to attend city council meetings. YOU need to make your voice be heard.

Anything less is just howling at the moon.


Barb July 19, 2016 at 7:59 am

Hi Rufus,
Do you mean to tell me that t h e power to regulate liquor licenses and air b and b lies with the o b planning board?
All these decisions are run by it for yays or neighs? This was not my understanding.


kh July 19, 2016 at 11:45 am

The OBPB has no say over the excess number of licenses, or the encroachments, but they should stick their neck in it anyways. The city council and police chief absolutely DO have a say, in fact it’s their responsibility.


Barb July 19, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Thanks for clearing things up, kh
So our city officials are looking the other way, and rubber stamping all these?
Do we know if they have denied any of these licenses, or worked to crack down on air b and b, as other cities have?


nostalgic July 19, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Again, the State of California grants liquor licenses. If you are opposed or have issues, go to the ABC web site, and fill out the appropriate form:

This is the only way to take action. Not that I think it should be this way, it just is how it is.


kh July 19, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Here’s an informative report on the issue in PB, read the bullet points on the first 5 pages at least. OB is oversaturated, and therefore ABC does not have carte blanche to issue more, although it sure seems like it.


Barb July 19, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Thanks, nostalgic and kh …
Now at least the situation becomes more clear.
To the hustings!
We can choose the complacent way,or act in our own behalf, including getting our public officials to do their part.
Thanks for the forum, o b rag.


Hunter July 20, 2016 at 12:10 pm

This is great for OB and great for the Community – better than row after row of Antique stores. Let’s not forget OB has long been a rowdy drinking neighborhood. The times are changing in OB and for the better. These tasting rooms are dog and kid friendly and bring nothing but positive energy to the community.

That being said, to all the nay-sayers – what would you like to see on newport/voltaire? what new shops/stores/industries would you like to see? OB has it all.

As far as Air B&B – if you own your own property you should be free to do whatever you like with it. Now full-time vacation rentals is a different story.


Barb July 20, 2016 at 12:55 pm

Someone told me these tasting rooms are saturating o b by exploiting a loophole. Much “easier” license to get than a full liquor license.
As for what else o b could use, how about a small art movie house, a bookstore, art supplies, an arcade as was mentioned above, a children’s book and toy store, an army navy store. Just for starters, in terms of mom and pops.


Hunter July 20, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Barb – the licenses are easier to get – because they only serve beer. The public can protest against any proposed licenses (see photo of license above). Let’s remember that these are established Breweries and we are located in the “Craft Beer Capital of the US”.

Small art movie house – the Porn theater went out of business and is now a Wings – not sure where this would go.
A bookstore would be good but those don’t really exist any more.
Art supply store – got the the Art Box on Cable.
Arcade – just like a bookstore, these do not really exist any more.
Children’s Store – would be good addition.
A normal grocery store would be the best addition – oh how I miss the AppleTree!

OB has a very well rounded selection of businesses and these breweries may or may not last but at the very least they are good neighbors and it brings the community together.


Barb July 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm

Gosh, Hunter. You are such a fan, you must own a tasting room.
Other neighborhoods in san Diego have independent bookstores.
And just because something didn’t work once is no reason to naysay another try.
Apple tree is opening up again on Newport.
And there still are arcades here and there around the country. We are a beach town, with a huge number of tourists. Not all of them put beer tasting at the top of their fun thing list.
Check out the Santa Monica pier with its merry-go-round, for example.


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