In a town awash in hoppy IPAs it can be a challenge for new breweries to make a splash with its own. Not the case with Resident Brewing Company (1065 Fourth Ave.). Brewmaster Robert Masterson gained wide acclaim after winning a homebrew competition, and his entry was produced and distributed as Stone collaboration R&R Coconut IPA.
R&R Coconut was a revelation long before shelves were crowded with fruit-infused IPAs. Today, even with grapefruit, mango and blood orange haphazardly finding its way into brewer's recipes, no one has come close to the delicious and complimentary flavors captured in R&R.
Resident Brewing has been in planning for more than two years, touched off in no small part due to the reaction to R&R.
"Stone's big," Masterson said. "It got distributed in 40 states. It was all over the place and we got a bunch of press on it."
Masterson has resurrected his coconut creation. Vacation IPA is truer to his original homebrew recipe, he said. He is still perfecting the recipe, and said the next batch would have an even more pronounced hop flavor.
"It's pretty tropical, using Citra and Amarillo hops," he said. "We're trying to get that pineapple-tropical goodness, like a pina colada."
Resident Brewing is tucked into the back of downtown restaurant The Local. It is difficult to tell where the dining room ends and the tasting room begins. The Local has several taps at its own bar, serving other local and out-of-state brews. The Local/ Resident Brewing is easily accessible, a block and a half north of Horton Plaza and has a generous parking validation policy. Together, they challenge the notion that downtown is not much of a craft beer destination.
The rest of the lineup at Resident is outstanding as well. Anyone with a love for the new generation of San Diego IPAs is going to be happy and impressed. Two other IPAs are on tap, the Mosaic-hopped Urbanite and the single-hopped Chasing Citra.
It is not all IPA at Resident; also on tap is Perky Blonde, Loudmouth hoppy amber and Back Alley porter. Human Submarine, described as an American wheat, is the perfect hot weather beer. A coffee stout is set to debut this week, and Masterson has several white wine barrels soon to be filled with tart saison.
"It's one of my favorite styles," he said, noting that he would like to bottle the saison as well. "It makes the beer more special, but we don't have a bottling machine. If we do it will be kind of like the way Toolbox and Council bottle theirs. We can ferment it in the bottle."
Masterson said that even when he was home brewing, he did not really see himself eventually doing it professionally. He is still working full-time at his day job in IT.
"I like brewing, but it's different selling beer," he said. "But I get to make all the beers and pick all the names, so I'm doing whatever I want."
If his opening salvo of beer is any indication of what is to come, it looks like what Masterson wants is perfectly in tune with what beer lovers in San Diego want.