It took six years, but Brian Lethcoe and partner Loyd Kattro have finally managed to get Nibble Bit Tabby Brewery off the ground near downtown Los Angeles. Earlier this week, I met Lethcoe at the space, which features an alley entrance and previously housed a sweatshop.
“I’m probably here because of beer,” joked Lethcoe, a Mar Vista native and plumber who’s spent the paste 20 years manufacturing everything from art to cars. He eventually decided to switch to another kind of production: beer. “At the end of the day, I’m still cracking a beer, so I may as well spend my energy making what I want,” said Lethcoe. When asked how he and Kattro would divide the duties, Lethcoe said, ““He’s good at paperwork, I’m good at making things happen.” Kattro is also an electrician.
Lethcoe lived for awhile in Nevada, a state that can get extremely hot during the day and extremely cold at night. A friend stepped outside one day and said, “It’s a nibble bit tabby,” meaning cold, and the name stuck. Tabby also sounds like Taddy, a style of porter produced by Samuel Smith in England. Lethcoe also likes the resemblance of bit to bitter and nibble to food.
“The group of brewers I’ve known and been brewing with for 13 years, always seem to have a different edge,” says Lethcoe. “We’re always filling different holes. I’m not going to do the norm.” He and Kattro will start with a roster of seven different beers, including Uncle Arnie’s Irish Red, Nibble ESB, 16 Tons Barleywine, Several Schillings Scottish Ale, Funky Monkey California Common and Gnosis Belgian Strong, named for a type of enlightened spirituality.
For now the space features two seven-barrel tanks, with two 15-barrel fermenters on order. Nibble Bit Tabby also has bottling equipment, from Coronado Brewing Co.
“I don’t want a mango beer,” says Lethcoe. “I don’t want fruity. I want the way beer was 200 years ago. The foundation is there. We’re on the shoulders of giants. Why are you going to mess with something that’s already good?”
On Saturday, May 15, from 5 PM – 2 AM, The Nibble Bit Tabby Release Party is at Blue Star, featuring food, kegs of Uncle Arnie’s Irish Red, DJ Will, fire breathers, stilt walkers and special guests. Live bands include HDR, Ollin, Swords of Fatima, Suffering Luna and Black Babbath. The event’s open to the public.