On my way out of town last Sunday, after a week in San Diego for the Craft Brewers Conference, there was one more stop I wanted to make. I’d known brewer Travis Smith since his days at Russian River, where he brewed all the beer on their brewpub system, which was especially important while Vinnie Cilurzo was building their production brewery a few years ago. Smith then moved south to The Bruery, where he also brewed for a time, before setting off to start his own brewery. That effort has now paid off, as his new venture, Societe Brewing, founded by Travis and his partner Douglas Constantiner, quietly opened their doors this Wednesday, May 9. On Sunday, he agreed to show me around as I was leaving town and I met Travis and his family at the brewery.
The new Societe Brewing. BTW, it’s pronounced “society,” spelled differently for ease of copyright.
Inside the large 16,000-sq. ft. space, 2,000 of it is dedicated to a tasting room. By the time you arrive, there will be tables and chairs here, too. There’s also a dedicated outdoor patio that’s licensed for patrons, too.
The shiny new brewhouse. Travis will have essentially three lines of beers. A Belgian-influenced line, a line of hoppy beers, and a barrel-aged line. Societe’s brewery includes a separate cold room for barrel aging, with room for around 400 barrels.
Co-founder and brewer Travis Smith behind the handmade redwood bar. When I was there, two of his beers were already on tap. The first, The Harlot, which he called a Belgian Extra, is essentially a low-alcohol version of a Belgian Golden Strong. Whatever you call, it was tasting fine, a really nice beer to kick things off. All of their beers will be named from society, occupations and people, as society is many things. The second beer on, The Apprentice, was a nice hoppy IPA brewed with Cascade, Centennial and some other varieties of hops. Travis, who is a perfectionist, wasn’t 100% happy with it, but I certainly was. The Apprentice is terrific, a solid hoppy beer.
The soft opening began Wednesday, and they’ll be open now Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. They’re “keeping this soft opening low key so [they] can continue putting the finishing touches on the tasting room” as they work toward the big Grand Opening, which will take place on Saturday, June 30. So come down and help them work out the kinks of operating a tasting room, and get a preview of San Diego’s newest brewery. I’ve been impressed with everything Travis brews, so I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Check them out, and become part of Societe’s society. Oh, and the address is 8262 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, San Diego.