In 2009, Alex Pierson and JC Hill opened the Mediterranean-inspired eatery California Kebab & Beer Garden on UCSD’s campus, eventually relocating to a bigger spot near the decidedly sweeter Pacific Beach boardwalk. In a stroke of wild genius, the guys set up a 3bbl brewhouse in the new restaurant’s kitchen, and thus Amplified Ale Works was born.
While Pierson and Hill still hawk killer kebabs, the team (which now includes brewers Cy Henley and Garrett Reed) has shifted their focus to super-fresh West Coast-style hop-bombs piped straight from the holding tanks into your pint. In true SoCal fashion, no style is safe from the bitter hop beast. Take Amplified’s beachy Citravesa, a 5.8% ABV American pale lager dosed with a heap of tangy, grapefruit-like Citra hops. The twist? All the beers are brewed with Clarity Ferm, an enzyme that breaks up protein during fermentation, rendering the entire fleet totally gluten-free. So put down that cider, Mr. Celiac, and treat yourself to a God’s honest brewski — you deserve it.