My latest appearance (10/06/12) on the "Live 805 with Tom and Sandy" show. I start off by requesting a bottle of wine that Sandy crushed with her very own feet. From there we move on to talking about the Barrelhouse 101 and all delicious beer and food that you can find there.
You can listen to the "Live 805 with Tom and Sandy" show every Saturday morning from 7am-9am PT.
First of all, and speaking from the bottom of my beer geek heart, it would be hard for the ambience at Anacapa Brewing Company (472 E. Main Street, Ventura) to get any better. The 115 year old, rough brick wall and accent lighting beautifully frame their modern brewhouse centerpiece, which sits just out of reach behind the bar. If you weren’t thirsty when you walked in, a giant beer board that hangs about the serving tanks and displays the tap selection will certainly pique your thirst.
Jason Coudry, brewmaster at Anacapa Brewing Co. (ABC), brews as often as he can to keep five fresh beers on tap. ABC’s regular beers include a golden ale, a pale ale and an IPA. But for the adventurous, they offer a wide variety of beer styles available as seasonals. The seasonals can range from the dry and crisp rye pale ale (my favorite go-to beer when available), to a big and bold doppelbock, and back again to a light and spicy saison (my favorite beer style to pair food with). You can keep up with their rotating taps on Facebook or call (805) 643-2337 for their current beer selections. Be forewarned, all of their beers sell quickly, which is a testament to Jason’s brewing abilities, so if you see something you want to try don’t hesitate.Specialties on tap now: India Brown Ale (a crisp and hoppy brown ale) and Two Trees Double IPA.
Beer isn’t the only thing you’ll find at Anacapa Brewing Co. It is a brewpub, after all and I have some tasty food pairing suggestions for you. One of my favorites is their Albondigas (a Mexican meatball soup) paired with their Frenchy’s Cove Saison. The yeast-derived spices in the beer create a deeper more complex spice flavor in the soup before the effervescent carbonation can scrub and refresh your palate. One of Jason’s favorite pairings is their Seward Golden ale and their beer battered fish tacos. This is a great pairing because the golden ale won’t overpower the battered fish and the beer’s malt flavor complements the fish’s batter. If you like things spicy then try either of their IPA’s with one of their salsas. The hops in these beers resonate with the spices creating burst of hot spice before the malt sweetness can neutralize them.
Sun, Surf and Suds
What could be better than sitting on a patio in the warm Southern California sun with a view of the Pacific Ocean? How about sitting on a patio in the warm sun with a view of the Pacific while enjoying a fresh beer? Fortunately for those of us who live here or for those who are driving through Southern California, there is such a place and it is called Island Brewing Company (IBC).
IBC is located in Carpinteria, California, a quintessential surf town where nearly every palm tree-lined street will lead you to the beach. And all of this is just the icing on the cake as IBC is better known for their award winning beers. Most recently, they won a gold medal at the World Beer Cup in May 2012 for their foreign extra stout named Starry Night.
IBC is no stranger to Great American Beer Festival (GABF) honors, either. Their Big Island IPA—a massively hopped and highly alcoholic double IPA, aged in bourbon barrels—was a gold medal winner in the barrel-aged category at the 2010 GABF. Big Island also took gold at the L.A. International Beer Festival in 2012 with three other IBC beers!
What You Should Know
First Friday Cask Tappings
Once a month, IBC features one of their beers as a cask-conditioned ale. What makes this so special is that one cask of the beer is racked off of the batch before it's finished fermenting into a small keg. When the beer has finished fermenting and conditioning, it is then tapped each month at an event called First Friday. The beer is served much warmer and at lower carbonation levels than usual, but serving the beer this way allows the malt flavors to shine through. These beers are generally consumed by the end of the weekend, so be sure to check out their website so you don’t miss the next First Friday cask tapping.
IBC also ages some of their bigger beers in bourbon barrels. Look for these bottles in their taproom beer fridge as they are rarely on tap.
Eats at IBC
The IBC taproom doesn’t serve food so you will want to bring your own; homemade or carryout, all is welcome. However, if you do come in and stay longer than you thought and need some food (believe me, this happens a lot) they keep menus from local restaurants on hand so you can easily order some take out or delivery. Every once in a while, IBC will host special events or food trucks, so be sure to like or follow IBC on Facebook and Twitter so you can plan accordingly.
In the Beginning
Before there were gold medals, barrel-aging programs or even many homebrew supply shops, Paul Wright, owner/brewmaster of IBC, thought he was going to become a wine maker. As a matter of fact, Paul spent a few years making his own wine after he completed his formal fermentation education at UC Davis. Fortunately for us beer geeks, he was never happy with the way his wines turned out and one fateful Christmas, Paul’s wife gave him a Beer Machine which forever changed his life.
Shortly thereafter, Paul joined a homebrew club, retired the Beer Machine, went all grain and became president of his homebrew club. Under his leadership and with help from its talented members, Homebrewers Of Marin and Elsewhere (HOME) became the California homebrew club of the year.
Through his work with HOME, Paul became interested in commercial brewing and started volunteering at Marin Brewing Company in Lakespur, California, where he started on the ground floor, quite literally. His first jobs were cleaning the floors and kegs. He eventually moved up to kegging and bottling a couple days a week and this is where Paul added real-world brewing experience to his UC Davis education.
When Paul’s day job relocated to Las Vegas, he and his family decided moving to Sin City just wasn’t going to work for them and they packed up their bags and moved south to Carpinteria. It was then and there that Paul realized his dream and opened IBC, and he hasn’t looked back! By the way, the original Beer Machine kit can still be seen at the brewery sitting in a place of honor over Paul’s office.
The Future of IBC
Soon IBC will be getting on the band, err can-wagon. That’s right, cans. The canning machine is setup and the cans have arrived, but the can design/labeling is holding up the process. Paul is hopeful that the full setup and canning process will begin late this winter. I am especially looking forward to this, as it means there won’t be any reason that I can’t have a beer at the beach. Well, almost no reason. Anyway, keep an eye out for their official announcement sometime this winter!