Interview: brewmaster Rob Croxall (El Segundo Brewing)

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Brewmaster Los Angeles

If you have enjoyed a Blue House Pale Ale from El Segundo Brewing, it is partially due to a youth soccer game. Brewmaster Rob Croxall overheard people talking about opening a brewery in his hometown of El Segundo while watching his daughter play. That was the final push he needed to take Blue House Ales from homebrew to the big stage. I spoke with Croxall last week while his latest batches of pale ale and IPA were bubbling away.

What was it like to finally have the Blue House Pale Ale pouring from taps?

Croxall his dad and brother got the first three pints right across the street at Rock & Brews. No big release party. Just incognito. The release of that first batch was terrifying. But now he is up to the fourth batch and he has learned to “get out of [his] head” and let the craft beer fans try the beer.

What is your brewing background?

While at Northrup Grumman, he got a pale ale recipe (a bit of foreshadowing) and was going to homebrew with a friend but after a visit to the Culver City Home Brew store was so excited that he rushed home and did the brewing himself. Croxall maintains that the “homebrew experience was invaluable”.

Eventually he was giving his beers as gifts which is when the Blue House label first appeared. That led to an interest in going to brewing school which took him to one of the premier brewing stops, UC-Davis. Croxall said that scientific approach really gave him “a foundation and thorough understanding” of the brewing process.

The craft beer scene in Los Angeles and why El Segundo?

According to Croxall, Los Angeles has “turned the corner” and that craft beer will continue to grow. And he added that it is “amazing how helpful the other brewers have been,” especially Joel Elliot from Strand Brewing, and he hopes to pay it forward to the next brewer who needs guidance.

And since this is where Croxall is from, there was “no doubt” it was going to be in El Segundo. Especially when there are two craft beer havens with Rock & Brews as well as the Richmond Bar and Grill. And soon there will be three when his own tap room opens.

What was the first craft beer that really made an impression on you?

Red Nectar from Humboldt brewing and SLO Brewing’s XPA were both stand-outs for Croxall from his days at college in San Luis Obispo. So much so that an empty six pack of Red Nectar was in the brewery on the day we talked.

What’s Next?

With the help of Tom Kelley, Certified Cicerone, look to see Blue House Pale on taps around Los Angeles followed by the IPA and then maybe an amber ale / red ale.

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

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Sean Inman

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

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