Interview: beer pro Jason Averweg (Alosta Brewing Co.)

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Craft Beer Los Angeles

Hopefully you will be seeing the iconic water tower of Alosta Brewing more in the future. Herb Adams, the head brewer, has been homebrewing for over 20 years, and is combining forces with Brendan Wehrly, who caught the homebrewing bug from his step-dad. Now with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, they are looking to launch Alosta in the City of Covina. Jason Averweg, the sales director for Alosta Brewing, recently coordinated with the rest of the Alosta team to answer questions about their “in the works” brewery.

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

Jason Averweg: Brewing and craft beer in general has been a passion for most of us for some time. For some of us, the interest goes back over 20 years. There have been conversations that some of us have had with each other in the past that seemed to make this a dream more than a reality, but once everyone involved came together and we started having serious discussions as a group, it quickly became evident that this was absolutely going to happen.

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

JA: Herb, who has been brewing longer than the rest of the team combined, was self taught, and read anything he could get his hands on along the way. The entire team, however, has been fortunate to find ourselves in the good company of Crown of the Valley Brewing Society, a homebrew club that originated in Pasadena, but has since migrated slightly to the East. COVBS has been a smaller homebrew club, but  one that has had made great impressions along the way. To date, there are several professional brewers that are or have been associated with the club, and members that are such incredible homebrewers that they have earned national acclaim for their beers. While we may not have had mentors so to speak, our involvement with COVBS has certainly provided great resources of information and encouragement to become better brewers.

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

JA: Well, there’s always the obvious: clean, balanced, and refreshing, but there is so much more to it than that. Make no mistake, we are eager to push the envelope and release some experimental beers along the way, but there is just so much to be said for a well brewed classic style. I think the big key to what we are after, is to not just brew the standard styles that everyone is used to because it’s something that sells. We are homebrewers at heart and will be brewing what we want to and love to brew.

JL: What’s your flagship beer going to be, and why?

JA: All of us feel that it is ultimately going to be the craft beer fans out there that decide what our “flagship” is. While individually we all have opinions as of to what we will sell more of, we are planning on opening with five different styles: A Blonde, Saison, Brown Porter, Oatmeal Stout, and Some sort of Pale Ale… This last one has been subject to a lot of internal debate as of to what it will actually be. Stay tuned…

JL: How do you go about naming your beers?

JA: One thing almost any homebrewer can tell you is that naming your beer is often a very personal experience. Of course, once you’re naming a beer that you will bring to market, different factors are involved. Much like the naming of the brewery, we intend on incorporating some aspect of the rich history of the San Gabriel Valley and it’s outlying connections in to our beers, of course, this could be very subtle, or very obvious. We found alot of inspiration from the book “Stories of Old Glendora,” by Ryan Price, as the book talks a bit about the old township of Alosta. At the end of the day, we will all be brushing up on the local history of the region as we can. This is also something we encourage to our fans and future patrons.

JL: What was the most recent beer brewed, and what was your inspiration and approach?

JA: While we haven’t brewed anything under the Alosta name, as homebrewers we are always fine tuning some of the recipes that may someday make it to the stage at Alosta Brewing Co. With Herb’s recent Imperial Pilsner, Brendan’s Brown Porter, and Jason’s Oak Aged Imperial Irish Red you can be sure that the Alosta team has some good stuff in the works, but we’re going to wait to give too many specifics. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to receive updates.

JL: If you could only drink one more beer, and you couldn’t brew it, what would it be and why?

JA: You have officially asked what might be the most difficult question on the planet from a beer fans perspective. We’ve come up with a couple ideas, but Brendan has a clear cut beer in mind: a 20+ year-old gueuze from Cantillon in Belgium. As a sour beer junkie, Cantillon is one of Brendan’s favorite breweries. I have heard of them opening these extra-aged vintages and the experience being amazing!

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Sean Inman

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

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