10151 Prospect Ave., San Diego    |    Neighborhood: East County
(619) 334-1757
    |     TwistedManzanita.com

by Jeremy Pritchard

Go east, young man! That was the call I heard when I decided to buy a house in East County. While I can afford a place in Lakeside, I am leaving the comforts of my well rooted urban lifestyle behind. No longer will I be a stone’s throw away from Acoustic Ales, Modern Times, Ballast Point and everything 30th Street has to offer. Whatever will I do!? Easy, explore the burgeoning East County craft beer scene, and there’s no better place to start my quest than with one of the O.G. East County breweries (with respects to Alpine), Twisted Manzanita.

Twisted Manzanita Ales and Spirits started as Manzanita Brewing Co. in December of 2009 with two software testers at the end of their ropes. Owner and co-founder Jeff Trevaskis along with co-founder Garry Pitman had spent the five previous years home brewing; between barbecues and parties they often found their beer was the first to go. Together they put together a business plan, phased out of their software jobs and plunged fully into Manzanita Brewing Co. Launching with their core line of beers, the Manzanita brand grew fast, even getting distribution in Albertsons grocery stores at a time when big beer ruled shelf space.

Being an engineer, Jeff has a unique perspective on beer. He likes to eliminate what he calls “water spots” in beer. For him, a water spot is any point while tasting a beer that there is zero palate experience. Have you ever had a beer that was so overbearingly hoppy the mouthfeel and finish were completely lost? Jeff would call that a water spot. He engineers Manzanita beers to deliver wave after wave of flavor so you can savor beer from front to finish with no lulls in the flavor or experience.

It wasn’t long before demand outpaced their supply and Manzanita needed a new space. They built a production facility just down the street from their original space and much the same way Stone sold their old brewery to Port/Lost Abbey, Manzanita sold theirs to Butcher’s Brewing in 2012. Along with the move, Jeff decided that the company brand still needed a little something extra to reflect who they are as a brewery; after some employee brainstorming, Twisted Manzanita Ale and Spirits was born.

I’m sure at this point you’re curious on how the spirits side came to be. It was a case of kismet and rotten luck all rolled into one. When a batch of beer went south and was deemed not to standard, instead of dumping all 2,000 gallons Jeff had the idea to make lemonade out of lemons and distill the alcohol out. Garry’s brother Jake Pittman had been the company handyman since day one and was always more of a whiskey drinker than a beer guy. When the idea came up he leaped at the chance to take the helm on the new project. Jake and Jeff worked together to create their distillation process from ground up, even custom building their still to create a spirit that was truly unique to what they wanted to craft.

Last year, Twisted Manzanita expanded to a Pacific Beach tasting room and Jeff tells me coming in November you can expect to find a collaboration in North Park called Twisted Taps. What’s next? Exploration into sour beers and, after trying their Fifth Anniversary American Wild Ale, they will be a force to be reckoned with. Also, Jeff hints that they are playing around and innovating some new ideas on the spirits side. Want to experience some Twisted Manzanita innovation for yourself? Next time you see a 20-ounce bomber, try the QR code on the bottle.


Sol(lilla) Saison  6.00% ABV  30 IBU
Style:  Farmhouse style ale
Appearance:  Golden amber with a creamy white head
Aroma:  Distinctly hoppy with slight Belgian funkiness
Taste: Clean malt layers with complementing hops and a clean finish

Between Nothing and No Where  7.00% ABV  45 IBU
Style:  Belgian style IPA
Appearance:  Clean, crisp, hoppy
Aroma: Forward-hoppy nose with subtle sweetness
Taste:  Light and balanced malt body, with a slight hint of apricot and bright hop finish with a hint of Belgian yeast.

Danger Ranger  8.70% ABV  50 IBU
Style:  Imperial red
Appearance:  Dark amber with tannish head
Aroma:  Hints of hops and malt
Taste:   Smooth, malt body with mild hop bitterness and chicory on the finish

Chaotic Double IPA  9.70% ABV  93 IBUStyle:  Double IPA
Appearance:  Golden yellow with white foamy head
Aroma:  Piney, hoppy
Taste: Loaded with all your favorite “C” hops with a well balanced malt body in the middle and a piney finish

5th Anniversary American Wild  6.00% ABV  1 IBU
Style:  Sour
Appearance:  Brownish yellow with a thin white head
Aroma:  Sweet, acidic
Taste:  Distinctly tart with a sweet, clean finish. Grab this beer if you ever see it. Even if you’ve never liked sours, this one may just change your mind.


Rebellious Rye Whiskey  98 proof  30 IBU
Aroma:  Notes of vanilla in the nose
Taste: The bottle says it’s the softer side of spirits and it’s true: At first sip I had to check the proof on the bottle just to make sure it wasn’t some 60-proof whiskey. Delicate hints of pepper, caramel and vanilla with a port barrel finish make this rye whiskey easily drinkable. This one you can drink neat or make an Old Fashioned out of it; both ways are equally enjoyable.