New Brewery: Ventura's Surf Ranch To Open This Spring

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Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 10:00 AM
click to enlarge Ventura's Surf Brewery: Expect A Varied Tasting Flight - J. GARBEE
  • J. Garbee
  • Ventura's Surf Brewery: Expect A Varied Tasting Flight

Get ready to add another brewery to the growing list of those north of the San Diego County line -- Ventura's Surf Brewery is set to open this Spring. Does it have the requisite SoCal brewery cheesy name? Sure. Will the beers be any good? Who knows. We'll let you know when we get our first taste.

Here's what we do know. According to co-owner Bill Riegler, the brewery is "about three months away" from completion and will be housed in a former industrial warehouse a few miles from Surfers Point (hence the brewery's name; the décor will include local surf memorabilia). There will be the usual house keg and bottle offerings, but also promises of growlers -- and an on-site shop selling home brew equipment.

For more on the six brewery owners/friends (and homebrewers) opening the brewery, and what they plan to brew, turn the page.

Riegler will be the general manager of the brewery (check out the construction progress in the video above). He says the idea to open it started when he and his friends wondered why they always had to drive to San Diego or the Bay Area to find a good brewpub. "There's no reason for that, really, so we decided to do something about it," he says. The surf angle? "We wanted to mix the beer and surfing thing together to have some fun." Finding home brewing equipment had also required a drive, so they decided to add a homebrew shop (in the construction video above). You can contact them if you are particularly keen on seeing certain equipment in stock.

Riegler says they have hired Chas Cloud, formerly head brewer at Santa Barbara Brewing Company. "He was looking to do something more than a restaurant brewery," says Riegler, who declined to confirm the brewer's name at press time. Riegler says their goal is to produce "beers that are a little different than what you usually find around here."

What exactly does that mean? We're not sure either, but when we asked Riegler whether the brewery will have a distinct brewing style, he told us their point was to do the opposite. "We don't need to get into Belgians right away," he says. Ya, that front is pretty well represented locally by The Bruery.

Riegler says first up on the taps will likely be a black IPA, that increasingly popular dark IPA that has been making the brewery rounds lately. "Everyone makes an IPA around here, so we wanted to start with something a little different," he says. "We also want to do a rye beer -- a lot of the whiskey guys are pushing rye but you don't see so many around the beer world. Lagers, too... and maybe at some point we'll try to get into sour beers."

Fine. This group of eager homebrewers/beer fanatics may not be sure yet what will be coming out of those Ventura's Surf Brewery taps, but they've still got a couple more months to figure that out. In the meantime, Riegler is pretty certain about one sudsy North/South dividing line that he has no intention of crossing. "L.A. has that great Beer Week, and we'll be down for that, but we don't plan to go much farther south."

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