The Roanoker - January/February 2018 - 53
B A L L A S T P O I NT: H O M E B R E W R O OTS
"The values of Ballast
are very important
to us. We have home
brew roots; it's where
we come from. It's
how we started."
- M I K E A LVA R A D O (P I C T U R E D A B O V E)
throw himself into the craft beer arena. He went to work
for San Diego Tap Room, a tap house and restaurant
serving only local brews.
Though Alvarado was highly trained in the restaurant
business, he started at the bottom as a prep cook with
the goal of working his way into a management position.
Within a year, he was the front of the house manager.
This afforded him the opportunity to visit and tour breweries of the brands Tap Room sold.
"I fell in love with the craft brew scene," says Alvarado
when describing his days of learning the craft beer art
form and building relationships within the local craft
One important relationship Alvarado forged during this
time was with the Scripps Ranch Tasting Room manager.
So important, in fact, that in 2013 when Alvarado needed
to make a career move, Ballast Point was waiting to receive him with open arms. Alvarado worked as an assistant
manager at several of the Ballast Point locations, always
willing to go where the company needed him and do what
they asked of him, quietly hoping a general management
opportunity would eventually come his way.
Alvarado found his opportunity in 2017 when Ballast
Point expanded to the East Coast. "It was a major move
for me," explains Alvarado, who'd never lived outside the
San Diego area. "I left my family and home for this." He
says he remembers flying out to visit the new site during the building process. He walked up the steps to the
second level while everything was still open air and dirt.
"I looked out at the view and fell in love."
Five employees from the West Coast Ballast Point locations joined Alvarado in Daleville, including his Executive Sous Chef, Travis Giffin, and Assistant Sous Chef,
Tyson Owens. Together, with the rest of the Daleville
kitchen team, Giffin and Owens collaborate to create
menu items that celebrate the East Coast region in which
they now live. While some menu items are consistent
across all seven Ballast Point locations-created and disseminated by Ballast Point Executive Chef Colin MacLaggan-Giffin and his Daleville team are given ample
space to creatively imagine area favorites.
In my visits to Ballast Point I've enjoyed both: menu
items I could eat at any Ballast Point location, as well as