3R Brewery opening in OB
It was nearly a year ago when the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians took over the Ocean Beach tasting room formerly operated by Belching Beaver Brewery. Opened in 2016, it did good business in the quirky coastal community, but a lack of outdoor space in the pandemic era led the Oceanside-based brewing company to opt out when its lease was up for renewal. This allowed the Rincon Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) to move in and overhaul the space. After nearly a year of renovations, the tribe is readying to open the OB tasting room for its Rincon Reservation Road Brewery on Sunday, January 16.
The county’s only tribal-owned brewing interest originally debuted at Harrah’s Southern California resort as SR76 Beerworks in 2016. Three years later, it temporarily closed before returning under veteran brewer leadership with a new name and branding. Since then, beers from “3R Brewery” have been sold into Costco and BevMo! stores, expanding the tribal brewery's reach beyond Valley Center, but this will be its first off-reservation venue.
Located on Newport Avenue, the 3,200-square-foot space is divided into a main bar and tasting room with views onto OB’s main commercial drag and a back room. A colorful, meaningful mural from artist Joe Hopkins, a citizen of the Muscogee Nation, is visible upon entry and spans the length of the front room.
“Our story is about our Luiseño ancestors and the route they traveled from Palomar Mountain to the ocean,” says REDCO Board Chairwoman Ruth-Ann Rodriguez Thorn. “We want to let people know we are the original Californians, and we believe Joe has captured that in his mural.”
“I have depicted the sacredness of the traditional ancestral lands of the Luiseño people in a modern way,” says Hopkins. “Traveling from inland to the shores, not only to admire the beauty, but to take in the indigenous culture from a visual perspective that honors them, this mural is a celebration of who they are, where they come from and who they are today.”
The consumables at the OB tasting room are meant to celebrate the tribe, as well. A dozen taps will pour 3R Brewery’s beers, including Red Rattler Amber Ale, Chief IPA, Luiseño Hazy IPA, Oasis Blonde Ale, Rez Dog Hefeweizen, Tuupash Blueberry Saison, Alaawaka Spiced Hefeweizen and a pair of stouts (oatmeal and coffee). Upcoming collaboration beers brewed with fellow San Diego breweries will also be offered, along with beer-based cocktails, including Micheladas, Beermosas and "The Grazy", a blend of hazy IPA and grapefruit soda.
While the OB tasting room is not yet licensed for food service (an application is in to the ABC for an upgraded license), former Marine Room chef de cuisine Ron Oliver is working up a menu utilizing Indigenous American ingredients, including elderberries, mesquite, tepary beans and acorn oil. Oliver is further honoring tribal food culture by growing foodstuffs such as squash, corn and beans for use in 3R Brewery’s dishes. The aforementioned ingredients find their way into new takes on traditional dishes such as fry bread and wewish (acorn porridge) as well as other creations created with the Luiseño people in mind.
“As the very first off-reservation tribal enterprise, we are thrilled to share our culture by way of our beer,” says Rodriguez. “Our documented history dates back 14,000 years and it’s about time we shared who we are as native, indigenous people. We are still here!”
As REDCO prepares to unveil its OB location, it is looking even further ahead. The tribe is planning to open another 3R Brewery tasting room in San Diego County. Next time around, REDCO hopes to purchase a building versus leasing a space. A specific site has yet to be determined, but if all goes as hoped, a second satellite brewery venue will debut before the year is out.
3R Brewery’s OB tasting room will be open Sunday through Thursday from noon to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to midnight. The venue may be rented out for private events, and 3R Brewery's current license will allow Oliver and his culinary team to provide on-site food service for such affairs.
Rincon Reservation Road Brewery’s tasting room is located at 4836 Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach