Water, malts, yeast and hops are the blank canvas of beer. To the outside world they are brewers, but in the world of craft beer they are artists who create and twist flavors into mind blowing concoctions.

Anyone can brew their own beer at home as a hobby but it’s the passion of people like Chris Kramer and Matt Rattner that has shaped San Diego County into one of the world’s largest craft beer communities. After the age of prohibition when the making and selling of alcohol was outlawed, there were no breweries in San Diego. Fifty-six years later, two friends, Kramer and Rattner, were passing a football back and forth at their favorite spot at Mission Beach next to lifeguard tower 10 when they had the idea of sharing their love for beer with the world. In the year of 1989 Karl Strauss Brewing Company was born. After the launch of Karl Strauss, San Diego County steadily grew and today it has over 150 craft breweries. It paved the way for smaller places such as Burgeon Beer Company. to come and put their twist on craft beer.

Because of the extensive list of beer styles and the many different ways that brewers have reinvented them, the Craft Beer Association (CBA) has had to define what makes a brewery “craft.” To be considered a craft brewery you have to produce six million barrels or less of beer, 25 percent has to be owned by someone in the industry that is not a brewer and they have to be true to the traditional styles of beer.

For decades a community of artists and drink engineers have taken their blank canvases of the simple structure of beer and grown into a culture of “beer geeks” as Ron Adams, owner of Prohibition Brewery in Vista would say. There is a sense of community in and around the world of craft beer and in Vista Calif. alone. there are 14 independent craft breweries. Among the 14 is Prohibition Brewing Company a small, family-owned brewery started by Ron and Kathy Adams. They are a couple who used their hobby-turned-passion into a business. Like many owners of these companies the couple started home brewing. Sharing their passion with family and friends they decided to take their craft and open it up to the public. Fast forward six years to a successful brewpub with loyal regulars and award winning beer. When asked why being in the industry was so special Ron said, “There is a sense of community.” Being one of the first to open up in Vista Prohibition has helped spread the appeal of craft beer. “We help each other out,” Ron said. “If someone needs something we lend a hand.”

Compared to big companies like Pizza Port or Ballast Point places like Prohibition has formed a bond like one you would see in a small town. That is one of the many things that make these small breweries so appealing. They are all so willing to help out not only each other, but also the community around them.

“The craft beer industry really is unique because while we’re all competitors, there is an amazing sense of camaraderie and willingness to help your fellow brewers,” Melody Crisp of Coronado Brewing Company said. “I think most craft breweries take to heart the adage, “a rising tide floats all boats,” so as a community, we work hard to further the industry as a whole. That idea of furthering the industry and really pushing the boundaries of what you can do with beer is something that Burgeon Beer Company has taken it and run with it.”

About four years ago, three friends who grew up in Carlsbad Calif. decided they wanted to take their love of beer and create their own brewery. After three years of non-stop work friends: Matthew Zipolo, Anthony Tallman, and Derek Van Leeuwen opened Burgeon Beer Company. If you were to look up the definition of the word burgeon you would find it defined as begin to grow or increase rapidly; flourish. That is exactly what this little brewery has done and hopes to continue to do.

Situated in between two big name breweries in Karl Strauss and Pizza Port, Burgeon has started to make a name for itself. Because they are only one year old they are still creating their core lineup of regular pouring beers, but hey have also become known for their ever changing rotation of tasty creations.

Burgeon Beer Company in Carlsbad, Calif. Cameron Niven/Impact Magazine

Burgeon Beer Company in Carlsbad, Calif. Cameron Niven/Impact Magazine

In the spirit of helping and supporting their neighbors and local businesses, the men of Burgeon Beer decided that they were going to really test limits of beer. For their first anniversary the Burgeon Brewers took whole donuts from VG Donut and Bakery a place that they all grew up going to and loving, and they created a pastry stout. That is one of their main goals as brewery according to Zipolo, one of the owners. It is that willingness and wanting to connect with the people around you that drives the industry of craft beer.

San Diego is known for having a unique style of IPA (India Pale Ale). It is a style of beer that people across the country try to imitate. It is one of the many reasons that Matthew of Burgeon Beer and Melody Crisp of Coronado Brewing mentioned IPA’s as one of their favorite styles of beer. It is just one of the many thing that make San Diego a destination for beer enthusiasts. It is also home to so many breweries that are family owned to this day. They have become a gathering place for not only their own families but the families in the community. The owners of Coronado Brewing Company are still there everyday and know the names of all of their employees. These staples in the craft community have changed the way young people are drinking.

It has become increasingly clear that it is not just your stereotypical older generation of drinkers that are seeking out craft beer. Through organizations like the California Craft Brewers Association, National Brewers Association, and the San Diego Brewers Guild, the community of brewers work together to further the industry as a whole. Millennials are more willing now to pay the extra two dollars a pint to enjoy craft beer instead of buying your average case of Bud Light. It is more for the enjoyment of new and exciting flavors, rather than trying to get buzzed.

Drinking craft beer has become somewhat of an art form itself, almost like tasting fine wine. It is an industry grown on the passion of people like Chris Kramer, Matt Rattner, and Ron and Kathy Adams. It will continue to thrive because of beer innovators like the men of Burgeon Beer that continue to push the limits of beer styles.

“I think if you’re in the craft beer industry, you are passionate about beer, people, and doing what you love everyday,” Melody said. “It’s an awesome industry to be a part of and there’s no better place to be a craft brewery than in San Diego.”

“I think if you’re in the craft beer industry, you are passionate about beer, people, and doing what you love everyday