My Beer Pix

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Backstreet Brewing turns into a dark alley


Adam Carbonell, up-and-coming San Diego brewer

Adam Carbonell, up-and-coming San Diego brewer

Word has just come down that Adam Carbonell was just laid off as head brewer at Backstreet Brewing in Vista, CA. According to Adam, he was told that the company, which operates numerous Lamp Post Pizza outlets (Backstreet Brewing is the microbrew side of the operation), is “downsizing” and corporate head brewer Ryan Aikens, who runs the operation from the Ladera Ranch, CA location, will be brewing at Vista as well as his home location.


This is a dark day for Backstreet, as Adam’s creativity was one of the bright spots in the brewery’s otherwise mediocre beer line-up. In the year or so since Adam had taken over the brewing operations we’d seen him produce some great Saisons, double IPAs, stouts, IP Lagers, etc. and earned himself a reputation as one of the young up-and-comers in San Diego brewing. No small feat either, as Backstreet is along the Highway 78 corridor which is also home to Pizza Port, Green Flash, Lost Abbey and Stone Brewing.

We’re sad to see Adam go as he was the one reason we’d visit Backstreet. (No offense to Ryan, but the last time he had to brew at both Vista and Ladera Ranch, the beer selection, for the lack of a better word, sucked.) Fortunately for us, we’ve got other places we can frequent for great local brews, which isn’t something Lamp Post/Backstreet corporate up in Orange County seems to understand. As the beer quality declines good beer lovers will leave leading to lower revenue, which is (ostensibly) what corporate is trying to prevent with the layoffs.

Just goes to show you the follies of corporate execs when they don’t understand their market. (Contrast Backstreet to Pizza Port who, rumor has it, is preparing to expand.)

Ah well. We’re wishing Adam Carbonell the best and hope that he quickly lands at another brewery/brewpub in the area. Anyone who picks him up will be glad they did.

And if you happen to run into Adam at one of his local haunts (he’s at The Ritual and Hamilton’s fairly frequently) make sure to buy him a beer and tell him that he needs to get to making more.


  1. Andrew

    As someone who thinks that Adam’s beers were the only reason I was going to Backstreet, this is bad news. He was doing some really cool stuff and this is sad news. Adam (or those who speak for him) let us know where you end up because I will be there to drink that which you make.

    Thanks for your hard work at Backstreet.

  2. Ian Allan Young

    Adam Carbonell is an excellent brewer and deserves to run the show at a well established, high quality brewery. Working with him at Karl Strauss, I experienced the great brewing skills and creativity Adam has. I like how this article represented Adam and showed some light on this negative situation. Adam is well know in the brewing industry and will continue to make delicious beer. Adam (ace) your’re big!


So, what do you think ?