Modern Times Beer Lomaland Fermentorium – San Diego, CA
Tours Offered: No
Food Service: No (they have bagged snacks)
Kids & Pets: Kid friendly, no pets
A Brief History
Modern Times Beer was founded by Jacob McKean, a home brewer, and former employee of Stone Brewing. Their first batch of beer was brewed in May 2013, and doors to the Point Loma tasting room, aka the Lomaland Fermentorium, opened in September 2013.
Modern Times was named after a utopian community residing on Long Island New York in 1850. Almost every one of their beers are “named after real utopian experiments and mythological utopias.”
Their initial canned offerings were Lomaland (Saison), Black House (Stout), and two hybrid IPA-like ales, Fortunate Islands and Blazing World. These sessionable ales got this rapidly expanding brewery off the ground. Since late 2013, they have opened a second tasting room in North Park called the Flavordome. They are also working on expanding the Lomaland Fermentorium facility, and upgrading its brewing equipment.
Modern Times’ newest venture is whole bean coffee, with bags for sale or cold-pressed at the brewery. They now offer a subscription model as well. The coffee is delicious, and quickly becoming intertwined into many of their dark ales, but more on that later…
The growth of the brewery can also measured by the amount of exciting beer they have been dropping lately. Modern Times Beer’s massive release calendar includes year-round, quarterly cans (Booming Rollers, anyone?), and monthly specialty bombers. Not to mention their sours are aged and ready, along with limited Monsters’ Park stouts that sold out online within minutes.
These cans, and all Modern Times brand for that matter, can be spotted anywhere with its iconic white background, bowling league font, and colorful racing stripes. Modern Times Beer is currently distributed throughout Southern California in 16oz cans, and seasonal / specialty release 22oz bombers.
More Pictures from Modern Times Beer
Our Visit to Modern Times Beer
Modern Times Beer is located in an industrial zone, inside a metallic sided warehouse. Just follow the “Modern Times Beer tasting room this way” sandwich board signs, and look for the vaudeville style wooden and lightbulb logo signage mounted on the side of the building.
There’s only 100 different breweries to visit in San Diego, but when they are not kid friendly it makes it tough, at least for us. Luckily that is not a problem at Modern Times, who even had their own sets of crayons and coloring books available for kids (not pet friendly though).
Once you walk through the door, you need a second to adjust to the dimly lit tasting room, where your eyeballs are immediately popped out of your head with sensory overload. This place was positively wacky inside!
The Lomaland Fermentorium decor marches to the beat of its own drum — of era bending style. It’s avant-garde, vaudeville, retro, modern, renaissance, and post-modern all rolled into one.
We were there to sample the beer, so first things first…
After getting poured, each of us took a walk around to explore the place in closer detail. The Lomaland Fermentorium was like a museum of kitschy art you got to stroll through with tasty beer(s), and the background groove of bossonova and jazz music. Here’s some of cool stuff you will find along the way:
- The bottom facade to the entire tasting bar is comprised of old hardcover books
- Wood shipping palettes are hung for the beer menu
- Large tumbleweed chandeliers
- A library in the right corner with instrument cases, a globe, and throwback devices like microscopes, clock radios, and TVs
- One wall is wallpapered with pages of old text books, with framed pastel paintings and needlework
- Post-it Note mosaic on right wall reveals a monkey
- Comic book cover wallpaper along the left wall
- Beers are barrel aged in the other library (left side of bar)
- A founders wall with high society paintings of each member
We almost feel bad describing it here, and hope we did the distinctive ambiance of Modern Times justice. You have to go in and see for yourself — we wish we did sooner.
You can get a taster set of their original line-up, or choose from other creations including limited / seasonal, one-offs, and experimental iterations of previous releases. If you order enough tasters at once, a cigar box is used as your serving tray.
Modern Times is mostly known for their brighter and hoppier offerings, but we went pretty much all dark beer on this visit, and were very impressed. Between all the tasty beer to choose from, and its unique atmosphere, Modern Times Beer Lomaland Fermentorium is a must-visit.
*** Parking can be tight in that neighborhood, especially when other businesses are in operation. Try the opposite end of Greenwood from the brewery, and take a short 2 block walk.
Exclusives on Tap
Exclusive or experimental brews available on tap during our visit:
- Black House (on Nitro): 4/5
Black House is part of their everyday line-up, but it’s not everyday we get to have this oatmeal coffee stout on nitro. Had to try it, and of course loved the added creaminess.
- Universal Friend with Merlot: 3/5
A special edition of their seasonal release. A Saison brewed with grape must (the skins, seeds, and stems), only in this case Merlot was used instead of Pinot Grigio. It left candied fruit flavor in the finish.
- Devil’s Teeth with Java Coffee: 4.5/5
A hybrid Old Ale / Baltic Porter with intense coffee roast. It seemed more porter than old ale to us, but there was a rich malty character, so maybe that’s where old ale came from. One of the best Modern Times ales we have tasted.
- Sleepless City: 4/5
Another ale with coffee in it, only this time their house roasted single origin Kenya Nyeri Othaya Peaberry was used. It could have packed more coffee punch, but a good brown ale is hard to find these days, so luckily there’s this one.