What do you get when you mix affordable housing, art, ales, and environmental activism? Burgeon Beer Company’s latest taproom. Dubbed Burgeon at the Grove, the new location opens on February 3 and marks its fourth taproom, or fifth overall location (if you count their private events space).
Like the others, the Grove melds warm vibes with cold beers. The architect behind the space, Garrett van Leeuwen—who was named San Diego’s Young Architect of the Year in 2021 and whose brother happens to be Burgeon co-founder Derek van Leeuwen—says his close ties to the brewery made it easy to build something brand new that still felt familiar.
He describes wanting to create “a comfortable and friendly atmosphere reminiscent of our favorite outdoor hangouts,” pointing to details like live wood edging for the bar tops and tables made from fallen cedar trees in East County, which have become a signature for the Burgeon brand.
To make the corner suite feel even more open, van Leeuwen and contractor Mike Campell decided to take out the existing walls and install floor-to-ceiling accordion-style windows that open toward the Paseo Artist Village, a development that offers affordable housing to artists, veterans, seniors, and more.
Mackenzie Kline, Burgeon’s marketing director, says being a part of the Artist Village was a huge draw for the team when scouting for new locations. “When you get people like artists to live in your community, that brings something so different. It breathes life into a community,” she explains, adding they plan to constantly showcase and rotate artwork by local artists in the space.
But with such a strong presence already in North County, I wondered: Why open another location there? Kline laughs and admits it’s a good question. “As much as it seems like it’s relatively close to the brewery in terms of the entirety of San Diego, it’s far enough away that it allows us to root down in that community in a deeper way than we were previously able to,” she explains, adding that growing strategically and sustainably in order to keep their carbon footprint as small as possible is a core part of the Burgeon ethos. (The company recently became the first brewery to triple certify as Climate Neutral, Ocean+Positive, and with 1 percent for the Planet.)
There will be plenty of familiar faces behind the bar, promises Kline. Manager Eric Shepard worked at Coronado Brewing Company and The Lost Abbey, while assistant manager Matt (Matty) Lawson beertended for years at Burgeon’s Carlsbad taproom as well as Burgeon at the Oasis in Escondido. Burgeon’s new General Manager for the four taprooms, Jenni Jones, is another Burgeon longtimer, initially working as a beertender before moving to the assistant management position in Carlsbad.
The property seats 100 guests across 1,820 square feet of indoor space, plus an additional 300 square feet of outdoor patio space. No brewhouse on the premises means that all the beer will come from their nearby Carlsbad headquarters, with food available to order from nearby restaurants, including Best Pizza & Brew and 508 Tavern.
“We plan to have a QR code on the tables so customers can order food from either restaurant and have it delivered to their table at The Grove,” says Co-Founder and President Matthew Zirpolo. Kline adds there will be 18 taps available, including core brews, limited releases, and collaborations, plus cans and bottles to-go, which will include Nature Calls!, their triple-certification celebration IPA that will donate a portion of proceeds to environmental nonprofits.
But, no matter what style of beer you fancy, she hopes everyone feels welcome. “We want people to look in at night and see warm, twinkling lights and greenery and be invited into the space,” says Kline. “We’re treating it like a feast for the eyes from the street. But when you’re inside, we want that same feeling.”