Ladyface Ale Companie has become a regular at SoCal craft beer festivals, including Stone Sour Fest, due to some inventive brews. We recently e-mailed brewmaster Dave Griffiths to get some backstory on how he started and what’s upcoming.
1. Do you have any brewing mentors?
I have been very lucky to have worked for and with a few people that have heavily impacted my brewing life. I never got a chance to go to UC Davis or the Siebel Institute so much of my knowledge came from on-the-job experiences. Very early the first Brewmaster I worked under was David Mathis formerly from BJs Woodland Hills (de-commissioned). He was quite tough and expected precision in all aspects of my duties which at the time I couldn’t understand why he was so uptight. Now when I look back on my time with him I see that he was (at least I hope) being tough because this is not an easy road (brewing) and if you really want to be a “brewer” that it doesn’t happen over night, it takes time, repetition, and a very exacting personality. When we were in the brewhouse together I didn’t like him that much but now I really appreciate all the yelling because it helped form the importance of every action mentality it takes to make great beer consistently. The second mentor I had was Darin Haener from BJs Oxnard (de-commissioned). We worked together for about 4 years. He was more my age but much more advanced in problem solving and mechanical maintenance. He also had much more of a “try it and see what happens” approach, which at the time all of my moves were calculated. He definitely showed me that there is a lot of weight in the creative side of brewing and brewing philosophy. We are still friends now and I wish we were still brewing geographically closer to each other, he has a ton of talent.
2.What was the beer that opened your eyes to the craft brew scene?
As I’m sure with a lot of people in California it would have to be Sierra Nevada. When I was too young to drink I was drinking what my friends were drinking which was BMC and the random malt liquor. A friend of mines father went to Chico State in the 70’s and whenever he went back to see his old buddies he would always bring back a few cases of Sierra Pale ale and one lucky afternoon he shared a bottle with his son and myself. Big time gamechanger for me. No looking back since then…craft or death.
3.How did you end up being a brewmaster?
Girlfriend got me the “kit”. Beer turned out pretty bad but it sparked the notion of trying to do it right. Homebrewed pretty heavily for a year then found the closest brewery and begged, literally begged for anything. Started keg washing, moved up the ladder and 9 years later I started Ladyface with my partner Cyrena Nouzille and it’s been awesome!
4.Most recent brew?
Actually brewing our new seasonal Red Rye ale as we speak. We do a “seasonal” every month and our locals really, really look forward to this one. It is a American Red ale with 18% rye and single hopped with lots of Centennial. Most of our seasonals are only once a year so I always get pumped up for them. We chose the Red Rye for August because it’s a nice break from the onslaught of IPA madness in late spring and it reminds me that fall is not far away.
5.What beer style do you think has been forgotten and is due for a comeback?
With all this so-called extreme brewing going on I wish there were more low alcohol tasty session beers available. I’m all for Imp. Stout and IIPA’s but in SoCal it’s hard to stay upright when the heat comes on with some of these high octane beers. I still really like hops so the session IPA is always one of my favorites.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.