Beers for dad by ‘Dad

Podcaster teams with Creative Creature Brewing to launch BeerDad’s Brew Works

Native San Diegan Justin Allen has worn a lot of hats in his life. He’s worked in restaurant management and RV sales, both wholesale and retail, and over the past 15 years he’s served as a first responder, working as an emergency medical technician and a 911 dispatcher. Yet it’s the role of father to his three children that he’s most proud of and best known for through his on-air persona, “The BeerDad”.

“In 2019, I started the BeerDad and Brewed Podcast with my friend Joshua Kunkle, who taught me how to homebrew. At the time, he was president of the Coachella Valley Homebrewers Club, and we started the podcast to have fun and show love to craft beer and homebrewing. We never thought it would take off like it did,” says Allen. “During the pandemic, we started focusing on spotlighting breweries and encouraging the community to support their local independent brewing companies. Once things started opening back up, several breweries invited us to record shows at their spots.”

Things snowballed from there and it wasn’t long before Allen and Kunkle had a stocked rolodex of brewing-industry contacts. Interviewing those individuals and spending time in their breweries inspired the duo and got them pondering the idea of opening their own brewing business someday. It’s something they discussed often over many a pint of craft beer, but sadly those aspirations were dashed in May of 2021, when Kunkle lost his life in a tragic automobile accident.

Grief-stricken, Allen considered discontinuing the podcast, but Kunkle’s family urged him to keep going as a way to help keep their loved one’s memory alive. Allen soldiered on and the show is not only going strong, but has expanded its reach. These days, Allen interviews brewers from across the country. That was one of his and Kunkle’s goals when starting the podcast. With that accomplished, Allen is shifting his attention to realizing another of their ambitions: getting into the beer industry.

Justin “The BeerDad” Allen (left) with distribution partner Jon Mattson of Thin Vine Wines

Allen now resides in San Jacinto, but his heart and his family remain in San Diego. Ditto some of his favorite craft breweries are located. So, when looking for a partner to contract-brew the initial beers for his upcoming BeerDad’s Brew Works, he reached out to San Marcos-based Creative Creature Brewing.

“Many in the industry have started out contract-brewing and made a success of it. I think it’s a great way to get your feet wet in the industry and learn from great people,” says Allen. “I love Creative Creature’s ‘creative’ approach to brewing. They aren’t afraid to push boundaries and have fun, but also make solid traditional beers. Plus, [owner] Derek Carnation is a dad like me, and he is supportive of my brand and ideas.”

Geography is another plus, as Allen is partnering with longtime friend Jon Mattison, who will distribute his beer to Southern California retailers through his company, Thin Vine Wines, which is headquartered in Escondido. BeerDad’s beers will be designed to be clean, drinkable everyday beers, and the first two releases will be a blonde ale and a West Coast IPA. Those beers are scheduled to hit shelves in early June, and the can-art for both will convey a light-hearted motif in keeping with BeerDad’s overall brand.

“I want to create a brand that everyone will have fun with and enjoy, so it will mostly be dad-themed with dad jokes, plays on words, retro themes and pop-culture references,” says Allen, who eventually wants to bring that thematic to life in brick-and-mortar brewery and tasting room in San Diego’s North County. It’s one of a long list of future plans he has for the business.

“I feel that several years down the road we will be an established family-friendly and welcoming business. I want to make this a family business, something that our kids can invest in and learn the trade,” says Allen. “For now, I’m looking forward to coming home and establishing relationships in the San Diego craft community, so if anyone is interested in collabs or carrying our product, please contact us.”

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