And managing partners J.C. Hill and Alex Pierson didn’t want just anyone tapping their first cask on opening night. They wanted a prominent San Diegan to kick off the unforgettable evening.
Amid cheers from salivating guests, Mayor Jerry Sanders himself tapped Amplified’s first cask, officially inducting the microbrewery into the thriving realm of San Diego’s craft beer industry.
“Six, seven or eight [breweries] have opened up just in the last year, and there’s about six more in the works,” said Sanders at Amplified’s launch party. “What that means is that people in San Diego get the best beer in the world, and it shows every time there’s a national or international competition, we bring home gold medal after gold medal. It’s because of all the guys like this who do an incredible job and put their passion into their beer.”
Hill, an avid home brewer for the last three years, enlisted the help of longtime Ocean Beach-based brewer Cy Henley to help realize a dream and share his love for quality craft beer with the world.
“I met him and we’re just very like-minded people,” said Henley. “I was just leaving Alpine [Brewery] and wanted to brew my own beer, so this seemed like a natural fit.”
The duo — along with other staff members at California Kebab, which houses the brewhouse — also share a love of music and jamming, which served as the impetus for the brewery’s name.
“A lot of our staff have played in bands and we all love craft beer, so the name was just fitting,” said Hill.
On tap now at Amplified is a light, refreshing Belgian-style blonde beer called the “Leggy Blonde,” along with a dry-hopped San Diego-style India Pale Ale called the “Electrocution IPA.” More craft brews with amped-up flavor are in the works.
“We wanted to brew a really hoppy IPA because Cy and I are both hopheads, and my business partner, Alex, is really into IPAs too, so we thought, ‘Let’s come out with a really big, juicy IPA first,’” said Hill. “We also wanted to brew something a little more sessionable, meaning lower in alcohol, you can have a few — something that is refreshing. The Belgian blonde is designed for a hot day. It’s really easy drinking.”
Also in the lineup is a Belgian Quad called “Rare Form” — a strong, dark ale that really cranks up the volume in body and alcohol content.
“It’s going to be around 13 percent, and I’m going to take about half of it and age it in bourbon barrels, so it’s going to get even a little more extreme,” said Henley.
With a three-barrel brewhouse system, two seven-barrel conicals and a steady stream of thirsty customers, Hill and Henley are constantly on the move, tending to the equipment and ensuring no patron is left empty handed.
The understated brewing system and non-corporate nature of Amplified Ale Works allows the brewers to have fun with their beer and join the San Diego beer scene as innovative, independent architects of their craft.
“We’re really excited to be part of craft beer in the Mission Bay/Pacific Beach area,” said Hill. “We have a small brewing system, which allows us to get really creative. We’re not bound by any a set of staple beers that we have to produce. We can do what we want, we are free to experiment, and we hope people enjoy it.”
Amplified Ale Works is located at 4150 Mission Blvd., No. 208, inside California Kebab. The brewpub is host to 23 taps and carries myriad guest beers in styles that are likely to appeal to any beer enthusiast.
For more information, visit www.amplifiedales.com or call (858) 270-5222.