New English Brewing Company – San Diego, CA
Tours Offered: No
Food Service: Foodtrucks
Kids & Pets: Kid and dog friendly
A Brief History
New English Brewing Company was founded by owner and head brewer, Simon Lacey, in 2007.
After moving from England to San Diego in 1995, Simon soon realized there was a lack of “real ale” or cask conditioned beer he used to enjoy back home. Brewing under the slogan “Traditional New English Style ~ Authentic West Coast Character”, Simon aimed to blend English Style ales with a then emerging West Coast influence.
After brewing in a shared space at the historic Mission building for several years, New English was moved to its current Sorrento Valley location in 2011. Brewing on a 15-20 barrel system, fermentation capacity was recently increased with the addition of two new 40 barrel tanks. Their original 15 barrel fermenters were also retained for smaller batches, and seasonal ales.
New English Brewing Company has won countless awards (40+) over the years in California, with their most prestigious wins coming recently on the national stage:
- Gold – 2015 GABF: Zumbar Chocolate Coffee Imperial Stout
- Bronze – 2016 World Beer Cup: Brewers Special Brown Ale
Their award winning beer can be found throughout Southern California on draft, or in 22 oz bottles. 64oz growlers can be purchased at the brewery, and blank glass or stainless steel containers in 32 or 64 oz sizes are also welcome for to-go fills.
More Pictures from New English
Our Visit to New English Brewing Company
We had tried several bottles of New English Brewing Company ales before, and after being impressed each time, we’d consider this a long overdue visit to the brewery. This was a great opportunity to check out the rest of what New English had to offer in person, and they did not disappoint in the least.
San Diego breweries can sometimes be style limited, (or heavy) depending on how you want to look at it, but the New English menu offered a variety of choices you don’t see all the time. More traditional styles like browns, ESBs, wheat beers, and red ales cannot be found everywhere, or on New English’s level of quality.
Besides ensuring your hard earned dollars go to a local business, one of the coolest aspects of supporting independent beer is accessibility. Smaller breweries often provide us craft beer geeks with the opportunity to say “oh look, there’s head brewer so-and-so back there mashing in.” Not only can you say that about New English, but owner and brewmaster Simon poured our beers, and was more than happy to answer any questions, and discuss his tasty creations.
We really enjoyed that hands-on approach, and level of dedication to their patrons. Every member of the New English staff we interacted with helped make their establishment the friendliest San Diego brewery we had ever visited. New English customer service was as outstanding as the beer itself.
It seems like every brewery in San Diego is expanding somehow, and New English is no exception. Recent enhancements in 2015 were made when neighboring space in their building was acquired. That allowed additional space for various brewing equipment and to house their original 15BBL fermenters, a bottling line, and storage for barrel aging Brewers Special Brown, and Zumbar.
More exciting changes on the horizon include a massive new special event space that is currently under construction in the building nextdoor. New English hopes to see it open in the fall, with an elongated tasting bar and draft system providing tasty brews for partygoers, weddings, and corporate events.
In another step forward, plans are already in place to begin bottling in 12oz six pack format, for late August to early September release. Look for Pure & Simple IPA first, followed by Zumbar Chocolate Coffee Imperial Stout.
New English Brewing Company brews world class beers with a level of hospitality everyone should check out. Just be sure to learn from our mistake — don’t delay, get in there as soon as possible!
Exclusives on Tap
Having tried several of their core offerings, we chose to sample all “new” beers:
- Why ? Not Wheat Ale: 3.5/5
We have started paying more attention to wheat beers lately, and this one was absolutely worth taking a closer look at. And a drink, or two or three. This vibrant straw colored ale showed amazing clarity, along with a super clean finish on the palate. Its crispness made Why Not an ideal beer choice for summertime.
- Explorer ESB: 4/5
Like we had said in a review of their Brewers Special Brown, this ESB could be another bar-setter for best in style brewed in San Diego. An ESB is not a style you see it brewed in town much, but wow is it worth checking out! Medium bodied, with a very complementary balance of malt and gentle bitterness that left pleasing hints of caramel behind.
- Pacific Storm Stout: 3.5/5
This Dry Irish stout has won 6 awards, most recently Gold at the 2016 SDIBF. Very true to style, this light bodied stout featured a heavy, robust roasted malt character. Of course serving it on nitro only enhanced its creaminess, and coaxed out more deep roast.
- Humbly Legit IPA: 4/5
We love rye-PAs, and this one was fantastic! Brewed with “a touch of rye malt” and two of the C hops (Cascade and Centennial), it delivered that traditional old school bitter pine IPA profile, paired with a kick of peppery spice in the finish. Besides Zumbar, this could be our favorite New English beer.
- Two Legit IPA: 4/5
No, this was not an imperialized version of the beer above (although that would be amazing). Brewed with Simcoe, Summit, and Centennial this hearty DIPA checked in at a “legit” 9.2% ABV. A sturdy malt backbone allowed this beer to pack a whallop of hops that started with undercurrents of melon, followed by sappy pine and orange citrus for the finish.