The San Fernando Valley has waited a long time for a brewery to call its own. While Central L.A., South Bay and even the San Gabriel Valley have grown into craft beer mini-meccas over the last four years, the Val - home to the oldest homebrew club in America - has been left to ride the coattails of the few 818-area-coded brewpubs in Agoura.
No longer is this the case, thanks to Pac City Brewery in Pacoima, the first microbrewery to legally make beer in the flats of the San Fernando Valley since, well, ever. As far as we know. (Fireman's Brew, based out of Woodland Hills, contract brews its kegs and bottles and the liquid made at the Budweiser plant in Panorama City hardly qualifies as beer).
The passion project of City of San Fernando native Robert Cortez, Pac City is the culmination of more than eight years of homebrewing and craft-beer exploration, during which Cortez grew an appreciation for drinking local, one he wants to share with others from his East Valley digs.
"I want to educate," Cortez says. "You should know what's in your beer and enjoy it."
Cortez wanted to open a brewery as close to his hometown as possible and found a space in Pacoima where he - along with assistant brewers Fernando Palacios, Arturo Cortez and Miguel Duran - now experiment with new recipes weekly on the small three-barrel system.
The location does not have a tasting room, so most Angelenos will have to wait until distribution comes sometime in the next month to try beers like McAllister's Dirk, a 10%ABV Scotch ale, or the refreshing ML1371, a pineapple-mango, citrusy Mexican ale with smoked Anaheim chiles that has more flavor than heat.
But since some of the beers are ready to drink now, Pac City is hosting a private fundraiser (everyone is invited, but tickets are required) with all the proceeds going to the No Kill L.A. fund and Los Angeles Police Department's Baker to Davis run.
For $35, you receive an official Pac City imperial pint glass in which you can pour the aforementioned beers along with a hazlenut brown ale, a triple IPA made with five different hops and a rasberry tripel. And the people behind other in-progress San Fernando Valley breweries - like Van Nuys' Macleod (grand opening June 15), 818 Brewing and Chatsworth's Hand-Brewed Beer - will also be hanging out, evidence of a supportive brewing scene already forming in what could soon be L.A.'s newest beer destination.
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"I just want people to drink local and get off of bad beer," Cortez says.
Pac City Brewing's "A Night With Pac City Beers," Saturday, May 31, 7-9 p.m., $35, 12780 Pierce St. #5, Pacoima. Purchase tickets here.