Interview: brewmaster Brian Brewer (The Brewery at Abigaile)
1301 Manhattan Avenue
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
View Web SitePhoto courtesy of Abigaile
Brian Brewer began his professional beer career at PH Woods in Moreno Valley and Babe’s BBQ in Rancho Mirage under the tutelage of multiple award-winning brewer, Hans Johnson. Brian then became a Brewmaster at Riverside Brewing Company where he developed his style and passion for making beer. Brewer was then selected to brew for the incredibly successful Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido. Brewer reflects, “This is where I learned attention to detail, consistency in production, impeccable sanitation standards, and recipe design through working with true beer experts. It was an enlightening experience.” He now heads up the Hermosa Beach brewery at Abigaile, “the only true beach-based restaurant in the South Bay that brews on-site.”
At what point did you know you’d work with beer for a living?
I decided to brew professionally while in college for Business (after changing from Chemical Engineering) and witnessing some of my older friends that had graduated already regretting their chosen fields. I decided I might as well go with a career where there was passion, instead of just aiming for a job where the salary was higher but I might not enjoy the day to day activities.
Is there anybody who mentored you along the way? If so, what did they teach you that was so valuable?
Hans Johnson (multiple GABF and World Beer Cup winner) was a mentor, as well as Dan Koch, now of Buckbean Brewing. They both taught me the value in getting a professional brewing education and being the guy that can fix almost anything.
What was the first beer you ever brewed, and how did it turn out?
I brewed a red ale. It turned out drinkable but not all that great. It inspired me to find out how to make it exceptional.
What’s the criteria for a beer that you brew at your brewery? What does a beer have to be?
A beer in my brewery needs to be drinkable, taste fresh, and be free of off flavors. I don’t always adhere to style guidelines.
What’s your top selling beer, and why do you think that’s the case?
Right now I would say the Orange Blossom Honey Blonde is the best seller. I think that’s because it is an approachable beer that has lots of flavor without the bitterness a lot of people associate with craft beer…it appeals to the macro beer drinking crowd.
If you could only drink one more beer, and you couldn’t brew it, what would it be and why?
That changes as I continually try new beer, but as of today I would have to say Alpine Nelson, it’s just a delicious and unique IPA!