California beer travel usually centers on San Diego or meccas like Russian River and Firestone Walker. Just to the north of Los Angeles, another scene is growing. Ventura now includes Ventura Coast Brewing Company. I recently e-mailed Emily White to learn more about VCBC, and she answered for the group.
Sean Inman: What is the origin story for your brewery?
Emily White: Ventura Coast Brewing Company began with Kyle Thille, who developed a passion for beer and brewing while studying at UC Davis. Wanting to add to the growing beer culture in Ventura, he was able to find those passionate about craft beer and set the project in motion in 2015. Once Head Brewer, Dan White, joined the team, VCBC opened its doors on October 22, 2016. By focusing both on the highest quality approachable beer styles, as well as experimentation with specialty ingredients and sour beers, VCBC aims to appeal to craft beer novices as well as craft beer newbies. Our goal is to continuously push ourselves creatively and get ahead of what the next trend will be.”
SI: What is the beer scene like in Ventura? Is there a beer style that is more popular there than, say, Los Angeles?
EW: We opened in October 2016 and we were the sixth brewery to open in the city of Ventura. Since then one more has opened and their are quite a few others in the works. The Ventura craft beer scene is definitely a budding one. There is not a style that clearly defines the area; every brewery has something different to offer.
SI: What brewery (if any) is a model for how you want to be seen?
EW: We strive to blaze our own path in the craft brewing industry by brewing unique beers as well as classic styles.
SI: What is your opinion on the new Independent seal from the Brewers Association?
EW: We are happy to see the industry coming together to stand up for the values that we all share. It is important to remember the reason each of us got into the craft beer industry.
SI: What beer are you most proud of brewing? (I know it is like picking a favorite child)
EW: Lagers are particularly challenging and rewarding to brew. The delicate balance of flavors relies on a clean fermentation that requires attention to detail and patience through a longer, slower maturation process.
The BEER OF THE WEEK pours a beautiful red color and it lives up to the name. SaazBerry is a new year-round fruit ale from Angel City Brewery. A blend of the noble German Saaz hop with raspberry, blueberry and elderberry. The end result is a beer that is a bit hoppy and a bit fruity without either taking over. The beer will be available throughout the L.A. area on draft and is now in six-packs.
Your HOMEWORK is to check out the The Stalking Horse. The latest entrant into the burgeoning English ale trend that is all over L.A. comes to Rancho Park thanks to the Artisanal Brewers Collective, which includes former Golden Road Brewing co-owner Tony Yanow. The new British pub has a glass-enclosed, seven-barrel brewing system manned by Brandon Edwards who has brewed at Pizza Port and Columbus Brewing. The Stalking Horse is now open for dinner.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.