Interview: Hand Brewed Beer founders Brian Hand + Anthony Castaneda

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Craft Beer Los Angeles

Brian Hand & Anthony Castaneda, the Co-Founders and Brewers of Hand Brewed Beer, are in the process of nailing down a San Fernando Valley location for their new brewery. You can check out their Kickstarter campaign, HERE. In between pouring homebrew for the L.A. Beer Bloggers on a recent Sunday and continuing the quest for a Chatsworth facility, the duo took the time to answer questions for Food GPS.

At what point did you know you’d work with beer for a living?

Brian Hand – About 2-1/2 years ago, Tony and I began brewing with a renewed focus on quality and original beers. We sought to make delicious beers, felt we succeeded and really just thought we could actually make it our full time job.

Is there anybody who mentored you along the way? If so, what did they teach you that was so valuable?

Brian Hand & Anthony Castaneda – When we first started Brewing 8 years ago in college, Woodland Hills Beer Wine and Cheese, plus the Maltose Falcons were a great resource while we got our feet wet.

Years later, I would say homebrew talk forums and even Reddit’s r/homebrewing were additional resources for questions and just tossing around ideas. The best part about brewing beer is that the community loves to support and foster newcomers and veterans alike!

What was the first beer you ever brewed, and how did it turn out?

Brian Hand & Anthony Castaneda – Our first beer was from a Mr Beer kit, the beer was terrible but the process was great! Our second batch was a partial mash amber that was delicious and we were officially hooked!

What’s the criteria for a beer that you brew at your brewery? What does a beer have to be?

Brian Hand & Anthony Castaneda – The criteria we follow at Hand-Brewed Beer is that ultimately our beers must have a unique identity that holds up a high level of quality control that we can be confident our guests will thoroughly enjoy.

What beer or brewery is a current inspiration for you?

Brian Hand & Anthony Castaneda – Mike Hess Brewing has to be the biggest inspiration for Hand-Brewed Beer as we approach opening up shop. Mr. Hess practically wrote the book on setting up a nano in California. Their most recent expansion further exemplifies what a well thought out plan can lead to for the future of a small brewery. We hope one day that our successes will match and exceed the level Mike Hess Brewing has achieved.

How do you go about naming your beers?

Brian Hand & Anthony Castaneda – Our beers follow one of two approaches when it comes to naming them: 1. It can be linked to our local region as we are great fans of the outdoors and implementing the local flora in to the brew. 2. Does it match our sense of humor? We are admitted goofballs and think that while the business of brewing is serious, the actual beer can be fun. Hence, Deez Nuts!

What was the most recent beer that you brewed, and what was your inspiration and approach?

Brian Hand & Anthony Castaneda – We most recently brewed a Kolsch, and as our first foray in to Belgians (beyond Erudite Wit), we wanted to follow a strict style-guided recipe. Once we know we can make a great standard, we then put the Hand-Brewed Beer touch on our recipes.

Where do you see the LA beer scene in 5 years?

Brian Hand & Anthony Castaneda – I think LA has an opportunity to be a beacon and trend setter in the craft beer world. Once we educate the local government to how a well established beer industry can bring communities together, I think we will see a bright movement across the city of Angels. We’re a kooky and diverse town with lots to offer the beer world.


Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

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