With the reputation of Lagunitas Brewing Company, you’d think the grand facility unveiling would have been scheduled for 4/20 and not 4/19. No matter the day, the sneak peek into their Azusa campus showcased one word: huge.
This third brewery in the Lagunitas Brewing empire encompasses three empty (for now) enormous warehouse buildings on 10th Street a mile, give or take, from Downtown Azusa. According to Communications Director Karen Hamilton, the brewery will be able to whip up around 1.8 million barrels of beer when at full capacity. It will also shoot out a staggering 700-800 bottles per minute from the bottling line and will also include canning in the future.
There will of course be a taproom perched on the second floor for a better view as well as a restaurant, gift shop, and rooftop beer bar, plus an amphitheater!
To further awe the beer visitor used to teeny-tiny operations, there will be three 250-barrel brew houses. 55-foot-tall fermenters, 12 bright tanks, and three centrifuges. There will also be capacity for cellaring and aging. The days of not enough Brown Shugga will be long gone when the brewery goes online.
That’s is the only bad news I can impart from my visit. LA(zusa)gunitas is a year away. They expect to open in Spring 2017.
Of the beers that I sampled at the Azusa brewery, the one that stood out was Waldo’s Special Ale and it is my Beer of the Week. A super hoppy imperial ale hides its massive ABV way too well. You had better be a fan of dank and herbaceaous IPAs for Waldo. If not, you can try their kettle-soured Aunty Sally. Part of the nationwide trend of sour IPAs.
The 210 freeway is fast becoming a parking lot and with so many breweries downtown you wish you could park somewhere. The best way to get around is to use the Metro Gold Line. I can rattle off a list of places that put you within a Dodgers flyball from beer. Pacific Plate, Congregation Ale House (2 of them), 38 Degrees Monrovia, Arts District Brewing, Angel City Brewery, Far Bar, Lucky Baldwin’s and Kings Row Gastopub. For your Homework this week, ditch the car and let Metro drive you.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.