SNEAK PEEK: Mother Earth & The Lost Abbey’s new tasting room

A pair of longtime fixtures in the local brewing industry provide a pre-opening look at their shared Vista venue

In December, the owners of two long-tenured members of the North County brewery scene, Mother Earth Brew Co. and The Lost Abbey, announced they would be opening a shared tasting room at the former’s headquarters in Vista. Since then, their staffers have been pooling their energies, constructing a sampling space that equally represents both companies’ defined motifs and will serve beers from both of their portfolios. That teamwork has helped fast-track the project, and a two-day grand-opening has been set for Saturday and Sunday, January 27 and 28.

The arrival of this collaborative concept represents a return to servicing customers face-to-face after prolonged absences for both brewing concerns. The Lost Abbey has been devoid of a public venue in the North County since moving out of its original facility in San Marcos and becoming a tenant at Mother Earth’s headquarters last spring. And despite having simultaneously operated three locations in Vista at one point, it’s been nearly four years since Mother Earth has had a tasting room for local fans to visit. 

“We originally had no intention of opening a tasting room here,” says Mother Earth Director of Marketing Kamron Khannakhjavani. “It had been so long since we’ve done this and we weren’t sure if people would still be interested in the industrial tasting room concept.” 

Mother Earth had actually been exploring high-traffic spots for a tasting room in various coastal communities, but when working with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to relinquish their right to serve alcohol so The Lost Abbey could open its taproom on their premises, one of their agents implied it would be easier to go the joint-venue route.

The Lost Abbey & Mother Earth Brew Co.

“I asked Tomme about the idea and he was all ears,” says Khannakhjavani. “I called [Mother Earth founder] Dan Love and he initially said ‘no’, but after seeing what The Lost Abbey was up to with the space, he thought it was pretty rad.”

With Love’s mind changed, the dual-pronged project was set in motion. The companies decided to split the 2,000-square-foot space down the middle, with The Lost Abbey taking the east half of the room and Mother Earth the west.

“Leaving San Marcos was a monumental task; just the sheer scope of what we needed to do to move and restart our operations here. It’s gonna feel great to be back,” says The Lost Abbey’s managing partner Tomme Arthur. “We’ve repurposed tons of items from our former location and leaned into a lot of our legacy brands and storytelling.”

Since debuting in 2006, The Lost Abbey has used paintings from local artist Sean Dominguez, blending European brewing culture, Catholicism and subtle wit, to convey its love of Belgian ales and other Old World beer styles. They are very much at the forefront of the new tasting room, lining the walls along with a framed album and liner sheets from The Lost Abbey’s limited-edition 2012 box set of musically inspired experimental beers.

The Lost Abbey in Vista

The Lost Abbey’s side of the room also features some furnishings brought over from the San Marcos tasting room along with new metal tables made from keg racks and a refurbished pew that once belonged to well-known San Diego brewer Lee Chase (Stone Brewing, Automatic Brewing). The latter is situated along a row of backlit oak foeders.

The other side of the room includes a number of callbacks to different chapters of Mother Earth’s 14-year lifespan.

There’s going to be a ‘finally you’re back’ sense from visitors. People have been missing their breweries, so we want to make people feel comfortable while making it feel familiar. You’ll notice a lot of relics like high-top tables from our Main Street Tap House, barrel planters from our Mother’s Provisions wine bar and the original art piece that was the fascia of our original bar here in 2010.”

Kamron Khannakhjavani, Director of Marketing, Mother Earth Brew Co.

That name-bearing, graffiti-style piece is now mounted to the north wall and has been folded into a brand new mural from artist Matt Perdoni, who is best known in local beer circles for his work for Oceanside’s Northern Pine Brewing. His new creation centers around a tree occupied by gnomes, wildlife and cartoon characters recreating amid beer and Smurfs-style mushrooms.

Mother Earth mural

At the bar, 32 taps are split between both brands. The space is staffed by beertenders employed by each brewery, ringing up orders on registers exclusive to the individual companies as mandated by state regulations. While this will require customers to open separate tabs if they order beer from both companies, people can sit wherever they please and it will otherwise be a normal tasting-room experience.

Both companies will tap specialty beers over the grand-opening weekend, including the following…

The Lost Abbey

  • 2022 Duck Duck Gooze | American Gueuze
  • 2014 Cuvée de Tomme | Barrel-aged Wild Ale
  • 2012 The Angel’s Share | Barleywine
  • Red Poppy Ale | Flanders-style Red Ale
  • Serpent’s Stout | Imperial Stout

Mother Earth Brew Co.

  • Project X: Urban Solace | Hazy IPA
  • Four Seasons Winter | Bourbon Barrel-aged Triple Berry Imperial Stout
  • Four Seasons Autumn | Bourbon Barrel-aged Cocktail-inspired Stout
  • Wakumi | Japanese-style Lager

The tasting room’s winter hours of operation will be 3 to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m. on Fridays, noon to 9 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

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