History, specifically popular music history, is rife with stories of lightning striking in humble beginnings. Much like catching a wave, sometimes it can seem like predestined chance. However, often it’s the keen eye and intuition to paddle with the right break. We all know the classic Rock ‘n Roll tale: two classmates bond over being outcasts. They go abroad and become inspired. They refine their craft, catch fire, the clouds split and the heavens pour out. We can be sure that some of our favorite groups of all time were formed out of garage jam sessions. Even some of our favorite breweries.
Amplified was borne of a passionate side project concept amongst friends in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego. In the mid 2000s, California natives Alex Pierson and J.C. Hill bonded over their shared love of surfing, live music, and craft beer during their cold winters at Cornell University. While traveling through Australia and Europe post-graduation, they saw an opportunity to create a market back home for the wildly popular late night cuisine abroad. They moved back to Southern California and opened California Kebab in 2009, employing traditionally popular Middle Eastern cuisine with the familiarity of California gastronomy.
While running their new restaurant, Alex and J.C. were feverishly pursuing their homebrewing projects in between jam sessions in their beach house garage. In 2012, the duo opened a 2nd location just a half block from the beach and included a small, 3-barrel brew system and a separate beer-focused brand they coined Amplified Ale Works.
As the success of both brands took off, Alex (for family and business opportunity, J.C. relocated to Monterey where he established his wildly popular Alvarado Street Brewery) shifted the branding focus to Amplified, dropping the “Kebab” moniker and increasing the focus on creating world class craft beer in a musically-inspired, idyllic West Coast environment, Amplified Kitchen & Beer Garden. That original, scratch-made Mediterranean-style food menu can still be found as we’ve moved forward as an award-winning contributor to the meteoric rise of San Diego beer, aka “Capital of Craft”.
In 2016, Amplified moved its production to a turn-key brewing facility and tasting room in Miramar, where they expanded annual production from 300 barrels to maxing out capacity at the facility with 2,000 barrels.
2018 was a busy year of expansion as a small music venue and event space (“Backstage Beer Lounge”) opened below the PB beer garden and a second Amplified Kitchen & Beer Garden was opened in downtown San Diego in the East Village neighborhood.
Experience has proven that where there is an Amplified, there is an undeniably strong community. We’re an institution for numerous craft beer fans, dog lovers, outdoor groups, and an exciting growing music and arts scene. Our rotating 20+ house beer offerings, all gluten-reduced, that traverse across the flavor and style spectrum, as well as our healthy, vegan-friendly Mediterranean/California fusion menu are sure to satiate any palette. We operate under the auspices of “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus!”. We don’t have time for solos. We’re building these harmonies together. Open auditions to join the band.