A couple weeks back, I casually dropped a few Burbank brewing news items. Now, it’s time to learn a bit more about one of them, Verdugo West Brewing. I e-mailed a few questions for new brewer Chris Walowski, formerly of Smog City Brewing, and for Chipper Pastron, partner in the MCC Hospitality Group that owns the brewery.
Sean Inman: For what reason was Burbank chosen? And has the city been open and easy to work with?
Chipper Pastron: We have a long history with Burbank, having owned and operated Market City Caffe for 25 years. We’ve developed a great relationship with the local community and the city of Burbank has been very supportive of us. The process of opening a business anywhere is always a hassle, but the people we’ve encountered in this endeavor, from our city planner to each utility department manager and the inspectors, has been an absolute pleasure to work with and very cooperative.
SI: Will Verdugo West focus on a certain type/style of beers?
Chris Walowski: Verdugo West will focus on making well-crafted and drinkable beer for all people.
SI: When can we expect to see Verdugo West beers on tap?
CW: Our first beers will be ready around the first of the year.
SI: Is there a brewery that was a role model that Verdugo West would like to emulate?
CW: Verdugo West has been inspired by many breweries across the world – the list is too long!
SI: Will there be bottles and/or cans or just tap offerings?
CW: There will eventually be bottles and growlers, but we are going to start off with just draft.
Sean Inman: What led to Chris Walowski being chosen as brewer?
CP: We have been in the food & beverage industry for decades and when it came to choosing a head brewer, it was very much like selecting a chef. It has as much to do with skill set as personality and Chris brought both of those in spades. He is hard working, passionate, creative and dedicated to making each batch of beer world-class.
Now onto the important information, Verdugo West has a soft opening scheduled for Wednesday, January 11.
This week we break out of the IPA stranglehold and try a porter from the month-old Mt. Lowe Brewing Company. Inspiration Porter is our Beer of the Week, brewed in a classic style but then aged on toasted coconut. The result is not too sweet with just enough heaviness to warm you on what passes for winter in SoCal.
This week’s Homework is to Steel Yourself. Why? Because Smog City Brewing has soft opened their satellite taproom in Long Beach at the SteelCraft food pod. Now you can get a pint of the eponymous SteelCraft IPA and drink it at the spot. Plus a great line-up of other Smog City beers to pair with ramen or waffles or shave ice once all the food vendors come online.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.