With more than 160 breweries churning out liquid gold in America’s Finest City, it’s rare for there to be too many firsts in the local beer-making industry. But in 2017, San Diego welcomed its first-ever USDA certified organic operation when Protector Brewery opened in Miramar. Former Navy SEAL Sean Haggerty worked with fellow sea, air, and land vets to brew up his business. Together, they’ve not only crafted delicious brews, but celebrated their country and its service members past and present with its motif, beer nomenclature, and by contributing to veteran-focused charities, including the Navy SEAL Foundation.
It’s been rewarding, but it hasn’t always been easy. Being a trailblazer has made Haggerty’s all-organic row a bit tougher to hoe than most. Organic beer ingredients — particularly malted grains, hops, and yeast — are more difficult to come by and command a higher price tag. It takes smarts and creativity to manage other expenses and keep things affordable for customers while growing the business on a larger scale, but it’s been worth it for Haggerty.
“It must be done, no matter the cost or the hardship. We owe it to our planet to make choices that protect our environment for future generations,” says Haggerty, who makes a practice of consulting his legions of pleased patrons. “The customer is the most important priority to us. We just keep listening to customer feedback and try to align our operations to provide them with beer they want.”
So what does organic beer taste like? The answer is simple: beer. Though his ingredients are sourced from different purveyors than those utilized by San Diego’s other breweries, Haggerty’s broad range of IPAs (India pale ales) pack the pungent punch adored by local hop heads, and his other styles deliver trademark flavors and characteristics.
Those beers will be at the center of Protector’s two-year anniversary party, which will take place from 2-10 pm on Saturday, November 2, at the brewery’s tasting room (8680 Miralani Drive, #128). The tap list will be stocked with two special releases: Protector’s American Lager and Prestige Belgian Blonde. Cans of Mosaic Hazy Pale Ale and American Amber Ale will also be available for the first time ever. The family-friendly brewery will have games and entertainment, commemorative apparel, and food. As if that weren’t enough, everything will be discounted 25 percent as Haggerty’s way of saying thank you for two successful years.
Protector’s two-year fête will take place during San Diego Beer Week, a ten-day stretch from November 1-10 that will see breweries, bars, restaurants, and various other hospitality venues celebrating our county’s ales and lagers via hundreds of pint nights, tap takeovers, pairing dinners, festivals, and other fun events. For more information, consult the San Diego Brewers Guild’s website, sdbeer.com. protectorbrewery.com