When Matt Akin graduated from UCSD in 2003, he didn't waste a second translating his high-powered degree into a lucrative position in the keg-scrubbing industry. Despite the glamour and allure of his new career, he somehow found himself craving more. A mere three years later, he was head brewer at AleSmith and a key hand in developing many of its delicious beers.
If the story ended there, we could rest well knowing that Akin was destined to be content and fulfilled in his work. However, perhaps sensing that finale would make for a really shitty article someday, he decided in 2011 to go his own way and founded Benchmark Brewing Co.
Since its founding a little more than a year ago, Benchmark Brewing, located at 6190 Fairmount Ave. in Grantville, has been almost entirely a family affair. Akin handles all aspects of brewing, while his wife, Rachel, essentially handles everything else, including the interior design of the tasting room. Further, all of this came to fruition because of the financial backing of Akin's parents, meaning this "mom and pop" earns the designation twice over.
Benchmark Brewing's motto is "Setting the Standard," and it's a pretty apt way to describe the company's philosophy. There's very little indulgence in esoteric ingredients or zany infusions in this brewhouse. Most every brew stands as the sole representative of the style for which it's named and does so astonishingly well.
The one departure from this model is Benchmark's Table beer, which is really more an adaptation than a standard beer style. It's a sessionable Belgian brew once deemed suitable for children or monks who didn't want to get high on their own brewing stashes. Light, sparingly sweet, and only 4-percent ABV, it's a prime example of how Benchmark Brewing modestly puts its substantial stamp on the San Diego beer scene.