I posted here that Manzanita's old brewing facility in Santee had been taken over by Butcher's Brewing, but that I didn't know the status of the tasting room. I'm happy to report that as of this past Wednesday, May 1st, the tasting room is officially open to the public. I was excited to see it transformed from the last time I was there, back when Manzanita was still occupying the space. I didn't feel like a new brewery was operating out of "Manzanita's old building", but that the décor reflected the new owner's point of view and made for a great place to enjoy a new product. Although not new to the San Diego craft beer scene, having brewing space of their own is a nice change for the brewery, who used to contract with Orange County's Bayhawk Ales to brew their beers. Owner-brewer Rey Knight roved about the tasting room chatting and answering questions about his brews, and even pulled some Double Shaka, a delicious 10% alcohol IIPA, off the bright tank for those in attendance to sample. I was highly impressed by Rey and the beers he presented. The one that took me by surprise, so much so that I ended up taking a growler of it home with me, was Iron Hide ESB. Extra Special Bitter is not a style I have explored very much, but this beer definitely turned my head. Rey explained that the specialty malts used in the brew along with an experimental hop variety were to credit for its unique taste. I recommend trying it for yourself to fully appreciate all the nuances this beer has to offer. Ultimatum IPA was also awesome, but I honestly found each beer on the board to be excellent, and would have a hard time advocating one over another. With multiple styles represented, the best thing to do is to make your own trip to Santee and see what strikes your fancy. I have a feeling there will be surprises with each visit, which is why I'll be back again soon myself!