While new to San Diego, the Mikkeller brand is well known throughout the world thanks to the craft beer recipes of Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. The internationally acclaimed gypsy brewer has approximately 900 beers on his resume with little indication of slowing down anytime soon. After a decade of contract brewing, Mikkel has finally decided to hang his name on his own brewhouse right here in San Diego. And what batter place to lay claim to than the old Alesmith facility on Cabot Drive in Miramar?
Alesmith President Peter Zien describes Bjergsø as the “third generation of brewers” to take over operations at one of San Diego’s oldest craft beer brewing facilities. The brewhouse had always carried the Alesmith brand but Zien purchased it from original founders Skip Virgilio and Ted Newcomb in 2002, marking the beginning of the reign of the second generation. In 2015, Zien made official his intent to partner with Bjergsø in the establishment of Mikkeller Brewing San Diego.
Bjergsø and Zien first crossed paths when Mikkel contacted Peter during his home brewing days to find out Alesmith’s “secret” to infusing the coffee flavor into their famous Speedway Stout. Zien admits to being more “loose-lipped” in the early going and didn’t hesitate to clue Bjergsø in on how the magic was created. Since that time, Mikkeller’s own Beer Geek series of stouts have left their mark on the industry as one of their most celebrated offerings.
The two quickly became friends and stayed in contact over the years and when Alesmith’s success outgrew their Cabot Drive digs, Zien was only too eager to have his friend take over what has become a landmark of sorts for San Diego craft beer.
Though the recipes would surely change, in order to maintain the flow of quality beer unabated, former Alesmith brewer Bill Batten stayed on with Mikkeller to help guide the process from the inside.
If you haven’t been already, a visit to Mikkeller is a must on your next beer outing in Miramar. Whether you’re new to the scene and want to ease into craft with a nice hoppy pilsner or are a hardened beer geek looking to challenge your palate, you’ll find what you’re looking for amongst their 19 tap handles.