Wes and Andy, two former Navy Seals, a local firefighter by the name of Tom, along with a silent partner cofounded BNS Brewing & Distilling Co. in 2012, located by the drive-in movie theater in Santee, California (East County). The two Seals have since moved on to other ventures. The current head brewer, Dan, previously worked at Coronado Brewing Co.
The craft spirits produced on the distillery side of BNS – gin, vodka, and whiskey – have not yet been available to the general public, although recipes and product have been tried and tested. The only obstacle preventing these spirits from being served is the law. Fortunately, they will be making their debut in the upcoming months as soon as labeling is approved by the ABC, and once Santee passes a law permitting them to sell spirits in-house. They are currently aiming to have bottles and cans of their craft brews available by Labor Day this year (September 7th, 2015).
The overall theme/atmosphere of the tasting room is very western and oozes patriotism: country music, a motif silhouette of a gun-toting cowboy, American flags, and beers with names such as Saloon Girl, Gatling Gun, Revolver, and Law Maker. They have two flat-screen TVs, a glycol strip on the counter to keep your beer chilled, four deer heads mounted on the wall, the most American fermenter I have ever laid eyes on (so American a bald eagle would shed a tear), and for the most part cater to and attract an older demographic of beer enthusiasts than many other microbreweries.
The beertender who served me, Jackie, informed me that both pets and children are more than welcome so long as “they aren’t jerks.” She was very polite and knowledgeable, and more than happy to answer any questions. She described weekdays as being “pretty hit or miss” on weekdays, but that weekends can be rather busy, especially when they host live bands (Fridays and/or Saturdays) and have food trucks available. Pricing in the tasting room is fair overall, though their imperial stout and double IPA are way overpriced for growler fills ($32/64oz).
Each Thursday they try to have a unique five gallon batch of a new beer available. The one I tried during my visit was an IPA called Kamasimtra, which based on its name I correctly assumed had Citra and Simcoe hops. And boy, was it delicious.
You can check out their webpage at www.bnsbrewinganddistilling.com.
What is something you, the reader, know about beer history that would make anyone think to themselves, “damn, that is SO American!”?