• Staff member pouring beer
  • Beer taps
  • Beer in barrels
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About us

He says, “Well, it actually started with my dad getting me a homebrew kit, nothing fancy just some buckets and dry yeast, but that was all it took to get me hooked.” After finishing school at the University of Southern Maine a college friend, knowing that Donovan was an avid homebrewer, told him he was starting a brewery. Donovan jumped at the chance to put his chemistry degree to use. The brewery was small, housed in an old garage that they had renovated. While in principle it was the same it was a big departure from the five-gallon carboys he had been fermenting in his basement. “However,” Donovan states, “it was and is just as much fun, maybe more than that first batch of homebrew.” Donovan came to San Diego from Funky Bow Brewery and we are excited to introduce him to San Diego Craft Beer scene. His favorite type of beer to brew and drink is a stout unless it’s over 100 degrees then he’ll go with a Saison.


Just like the beers, you drink, the names they have to tell a story of how they came about. Knotty Barrel is a family full of owners, partners, staff, regulars, and more; all these wonderful people give us inspiration, and ultimately give our beers a personality beyond what you’re tasting!

Tom Tom Blonde

An ode to our most loyal regulars; coincidently both named Tom! Throughout the years they’ve given us so much more than their business, including our first Christmas tree, which they still help us decorate each year, crazy gifts for the staff, and the large cement sun on our back patio.

Transfixed Red

Named after our Brewmaster who once was described as “transfixed” in an interview with West Coaster, the go-to publication for beer news in San Diego.

Kicked out stout

Inspired by another devoted regular who had a love for Stouts. Kasie would exclusively drink Guinness, even though it came in a can the majority of the year! It was a natural fit to name our Stout after her, giving her a great beer option that was always on tap. Our employee Kacie also takes credit for this particular name!

Superfresh Pale Ale

Even before Knotty Brewing, the Knotty brand has had a devotion to craft beer. One of our favorite Lagunitas reps would always try and sell us the latest beers, convincing us they were “Superfresh.” We got a kick out of the repeated adjective and promised him our first beer would be named “Superfresh,” and so it was!

Kama Kama Chameleon

Originally brewed in as a collaboration with our friends over at Thorn Brewing during the harsh winter of 2016, this midwinter seasonal is a perfect blend of rich roasted flavors and smooth drinkability.


As you can tell, regulars are a huge part of the Knotty family. Clay and his wife have always been generous with their time and are constantly helping promote our bar. You can often find them in our pass-through window enjoying a cold beer with their pup. Clay hounded us for a while to make an IPA, so when we did, we had to name it after him!

Rosco P. Koschtrane

Some might recognize the name of this truly crushable beer as a reference to a character on a certain early 80's tv show, but really it is a tribute to our most popular regular, Rosco the dog.