Societe Brewing Company – San Diego, CA
Tours Offered: By appointment only
Food Service: Foodtrucks
Kids & Pets: Kid and dog friendly
A Brief History
The name is pronounced “society.”
Societe Brewing Company was founded in 2011 by Travis Smith and Douglas Constantiner. The brewery opened its doors in the summer of 2012.
Travis got his start at Russian River Brewing Co, under the tutelage of Vinnie Cilurzo. After a few years in Bay Area, Travis headed south to The Bruery in Placentia, CA, where he met Douglas Constantiner.
Little did they know both would found a brewery together just a few years later…
Before his brewer job at The Bruery, Doug worked as an investment banker in New York, and then moved to San Diego. He held an internship at Oggi’s, worked at Pizza Port Carlsbad, and on the bottling line at Green Flash.
Doug had previously taken brewing science classes at The Siebel Institute of Technology / World Brewing Academy. But it was Travis Smith who truly trained Doug how to brew beer during their time together at The Bruery.
Eventually Travis would leave for another brewery position in San Diego. The two stayed close, and once Travis was ready to move on from his job, they decided the time was right to start their own brewery.
Their award winning ales are grouped into three series: Out West for hoppy styles (mostly IPA), Old World for their Belgians, and Stygian for their dark stouts. A fourth, yet-to-be released series is Feral, which is reserved for their barrel aged beer.
Societe Brewing Company can be found throughout San Diego, The Bay Area, and parts of Los Angeles, CA. Their beer is not bottled, so the only ways to enjoy their creations are at the brewery, or to find it on tap.
More Pictures from Societe Brewing Company
Our Visit to Societe Brewing Company
The ambiance at Societe Brewing Company was like nothing you’ll find at any other San Diego brewery, and we loved it. What’s so unique about it?
The whole experience at Societe is turn of the century, or Gilded Age themed, with both the beer menu, and facility decor. The front bar, signage, and merchandise area resembled a trading post in a mining town, and large painted silhouettes of society members from that era were hung along the wall for decoration.
Aside from the bar and brewing area, the remainder of the building’s real estate was all seating. There were large cafeteria tables for sitting in a group, or wine barrels to rest your beer on if standing.
A sit-down counter also ran the length of the brewing area, for more seating accommodations. The roominess of Societe Brewing Company was a huge plus, and you could even find additional chairs outside in the front patio.
Societe Brewing Company utilized a beer menu classification system and naming convention for their ales like we had never seen before. Not only was everything creatively named from olden times, but it really eased the decision making process for those unfamiliar with their offerings.
In the mood for a Belgian style ale? Choose from the Old World column, find all hoppy ales under the Out West category, or stouts under Stygian. Their (fourth) barrel aged family is coming soon, but we could take a peek at them aging in the window next to the production equipment.
Within its family / style of ale, each beer was also cleverly named after turn of the century jargon, occupation, or placement in society. For example: The Dandy, The Haberdasher, The Butcher, or The Debutante.
As for the beer itself, you could taste Travis Smith’s Russian River roots, especially within the Old West category. Societe IPAs were in the same vein as Blind Pig or Pliny the Elder — clean, bright, and refined.
Although delicious, The Dandy, The Pupil, and The Apprentice were very similar, and seemed to run together while tasting. It might not be a bad idea to commit the cardinal sin and throw something dark in between them, for your palate’s sake.
We try to leave economics out of craft beer enjoyment, but we did have a few observations about their pricing structure. Societe offered competitive tasters at $1, but some of the priciest growler (the container hardware) prices we have seen in San Diego.
In their defense, the growlers looked pretty high end, either glass or stainless steel with swing-top lids. Just like their full pour prices, growler fills were charged on a sliding scale based on the beers’ ABV% – another unique way to do things…
Whether you’re in the mood for a smoked stout, classic Belgian ale, or a well-balanced IPA, be sure to visit Societe Brewing Company, to experience their one-of-a-kind, turn of the century concept for yourself. We wished we had made it in there sooner!
Beer on Tap
Unfortunately we missed the release of The Miser Triple IPA by a week. Here’s some of the beer we sampled during our visit:
- The Pupil: 3.5/5
One of Societe’s staple ales. This smooth India Pale Ale was both sweet and hoppy, but not overly bitter. A good start to the day…
- The Scrapper: 3.5/5
Classified as an SD dark ale, it turned out to be a good ‘ol fashion dark ale. It was reminiscent of a winter warmer with solid malt profile, and roasted notes, or a well-hopped black lager.
- The Roustabout: 4/5
Another very clean and bright double IPA, with a balance of pine and citrus that intensified in the finish. It was on the light side (bodied) for a double — but its strength snuck up on you from its drinkability.
- The Butcher: 4.5/5
The best beer of the trip for Mike. An Imperial Stout with an incredible velvety mouthfeel, that tasted of coffee roast and chocolate. It got sweet in the finish, with hints of barrel aged-ness.