La Cruda, or Makanudo Porter as it was known back in 1996, was one of the first beers Tomme ever brewed as a professional. At the time Tomme was assistant to Troy Hojel, head brewer at Cervezerias La Cruda (roughly: “the hangover brewery”), a new brewpub in downtown San Diego. La Cruda’s brewhouse wasn’t quite up and running early enough, so Troy and Tomme approached another brewer, Skip Virgilio, the former brewer at Pacific Beach Brew House, about brewing a beer at Skip’s new brewery, AleSmith. Skip consented and the three proceeded to brew a robust porter recipe by Troy that they named Makanudo Porter (yes, Makanudo with a “k”).
It was the worst selling beer in La Cruda’s brief 12 month lifespan, but it also won a gold medal at the 1996 Great American Beer Festival — only the third medal to be won by a San Diego beer† in the GABF’s 13 year history. (Oh, how times have changed…) Troy left professional brewing after La Cruda as did Skip a few years later. Tomme, of course, landed at Pizza Port Solana Beach to begin that brewpub family’s dynasty (one that continues today), and in 2006 spun off to found Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey and do it all over again.