Moorpark’s Enegren Brewing Co. is moving along with expansion plans that will see them jump from a 3-barrel brewery to one capable of producing 15 barrels — around 30 kegs — per batch. Enegren has been in operation since July 2011 and expects the new 7,000 sq ft space buildout to take 9-12 months once construction starts. In a residential community where homebrewing is a popular pastime and access to craft beer is minimal, the growth of a small brewery where locals regularly stop in for growlers is an exciting development.
On February 25 the brewery held their Conditional Use Permit hearing, which was open to the public in their business park tasting room just off Route 118. “The hearing couldn’t have gone any better. I’m glad we’re passed that,” Chris Enegren said in an email. Chris — one of two Enegren brothers — works part-time at Escondido-based brewhouse manufacturer Premier Stainless, and he’s designing the new system himself; one cool feature is that the team can control the brewery will their smartphones.
The expansion will include three 30-barrel fermentation tanks, in addition to the three 3-barrel and six 7-barrel vessels now in use. Once capacity is reached, Enegren will order 60-barrel tanks, all with the goal of meeting demand in Ventura County and strengthening ties in LA. The company produced around 475 barrels in 2013, and estimates 550 in 2014.
The 100-person capacity tasting room will be situated against rollup doors, opening the feel of the room while easing access to food trucks. The space will sit directly beside brewery operations and the barrel program, which is also set to increase.
Right now you can sample barrel-aged Helga (8.9%), a Belgian tripel aged in oak for 2.5 months, on tap at the brewery at 680 Flinn Ave #31 in Moorpark. The company recently bottled Batch 100, a Belgian dark strong ale aged in bourbon barrels, which will go on sale the first week of March.
This Sunday five teams of multi-talented chefs will compete in the second annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off hosted by Tony’s Darts Away.
Joining Randy Clemens of Sriracha Cookbook fame in the chili showdown will be Chef Erick Simmons of Mohawk Bend; Greg Daniels of Haven Collective; local favorite Chili John’s and Zel and Ruben Allen of Vegetarians in Paradise.
Judges include Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads Kitchen and author of The Conscious Cook, Caroline Pardilla of CarolineonCrack.com and Cathy Chaplin of GastronomyBlog.com and author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Los Angeles.
Admission to the event, which starts at noon, is $10 and includes five 3-ounce tastes of chili, plus a ballot to a vote for the People’s Choice winner. The announcement of awards begins at 5:30 p.m.
The chefs will have their mouthwatering chili underway when attendees arrive at 12 p.m. Winners of the Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice awards will be announced at the closing ceremony, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
For a sneak peak of the event, check out this video on KTLA5.
Can’t make it this weekend? Mark your calendars for the Vegan Food & Beer Festival May 17.
In attendance will be 40+ breweries including IEBC, Ritual, Kat Daddy, Brew Rebellion, Dale Bros, Black Market, Chino Valley, Beer Beer & More Beer, I & I, Packinghouse, Karl Strauss, Thompson Brewing, Hangar 24, Sons of Liberty, Wicks, Wild Donkey, Stone Brewing Co., Angel City, Cismontane, Left Coast, Aftershock, La Verne, Oak Hills, Off the Grid, Tap It, Ballast Point, Modern Times, Mazama, The Dudes, El Segundo, Sierra Nevada, Mother Earth, Coronado, Alosta, Rök House, Aztec, Oceanside Ale Works, Helms Brewing Company, Bootleggers, Area 51, Heroes and Craft Brewing Company. La Rebelde Winery as well as 2 Towns Cider will also be on hand.
Enjoy eight food trucks and four bands as well. Tickets are $50 for VIP (20 tasters and 12 p.m. entry), or $40 for general admission (15 tasters and 1 p.m. entry). The festival will end at 5 p.m.
Check out this video from last year’s event to see what you’ll be missing if you don’t go on Saturday!
Tickets available at this link.
Just a few hours ago, Hangar 24 announced details on their new Betty IPA, a 6.5% ABV Mosaic hop-driven beer that will be available starting in March as the company’s second flagship. West Coaster spoke with H24 founder and master brewer Ben Cook recently, who said the company is pricing the beer right alongside Orange Wheat — quite a feat given how much hops cost. The beer will be available in 6-packs of 12-ounce bottles, and 22-ounce bombers; someday, “it might show up in cans.”
That’s not the only news coming out of Hangar 24. The Redlands-based brewery, which brewed 15,000 barrels in 2011 and 35,000 in 2013, is expanding distribution and production (as well as refreshing their brand). Earlier this month, the company starting sending beers to Arizona, in addition to the beers already gracing Nevada and Southern California, the latter in great part thanks to the efforts of Stater Bros.; Cook was quick to mention that “they’re one of the reasons we are where we are today.” Soon, Oregon and Washington will come into the mix as the brewery strives towards their 60,000 barrel goal this year.
Back in the Inland Empire, Hangar 24 is searching for a new space to potentially house a restaurant as well as “some sort of venue for live music.” That’s on tap for 2016. The hunt won’t extend far, however: “If it has a Redlands address, we’re looking at it,” said Cook.
A new brewhouse is also in the works. Cook stated that the team is within just a few months of picking the supplier for a 150-BBL automated brewhouse. “Eventually, that brewhouse can pump out at least half a million barrels,” Cook claimed, adding that the facility will make for a great tourist destination. “Our strategy has been to take a few steps wide and dig a mile deep. The success itself has been a surprise, but we’ve always been in it for the right reasons.”
While Cook has his eyes on 2016 and beyond, there’s fun slated in the more immediate future as well, with the brewery’s sixth anniversary party going down May 16th and 17th, complete with an air show featuring the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Demo Team, live music, food, and of course, beer. “This event will be the only one like it in the world,” said Cook, a pilot who still gets in the air when he has some free time. The fans will be asked to get involved as well; soon the brewery will announce a label contest to help design the sixth anniversary bottle. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for more info.
As the owner of Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank, Mohawk Bend in Echo Park, and co-owner of Golden Road Brewing in Atwater Village, there’s no doubt Tony Yanow has been instrumental in the monumental growth of the Los Angeles craft beer scene. And while he can often be found having a pint at his own watering holes—“especially Tony’s Darts Away”—we wanted to find out what the man drinks when he’s at home… and more specifically, we wanted to see his secret stash.
I ventured down the stairs of his handsome Hollywood Hills home to check out his cellar along with West Coaster co-founders Ryan Lamb and Mike Shess. After getting down into the garage, we were greeted by a nicely filled Sub-Zero refrigerator stacked with beers that Tony was planning on having sooner than later. “This is where I keep stuff that I go through a lot of,” he explains. “I can drink IPAs all day,” he confesses while pointing to a row of Golden Road’s Point The Way IPA, “and I go through literally a case a week.” Fondness for hops aside, he’s quick to note that he’s been drinking more and more saisons lately and “a ton of Orval”. Besides stocking plenty of his go-to beers, he also likes having any style of beer chilled and at the ready as well. “You name a style of beer,” he jokingly challenges. “I’ve got gose in here; I don’t even like gose!”
It’s then that he turns around and points to several tall, narrow cupboards jutting out from the cold concrete, each one filled with boozy treasure. Glancing deep into the cupboards, you quickly discover that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg; behind these bottles is a larger storage area full of cardboard boxes… full of beer. “It stays a pretty constant temperature because it’s built right up against rock,” Tony notes. “Directly behind the cellar is pure mountain, so the cellar usually stays between 58-65°F, but it never goes above 68°F.”
Wanting a closer look, we asked if we could nose around; however, this is an awkward space to get into. The small entry door is perched at about waist height, and once inside, you quickly learn why this is called a crawl space. The ceiling is far too low to allow you to stand, and the remaining room is pretty darn stocked with cases. “I usually send my kids in there to pick out beers,” Tony explains. “I’ll ask [my son] Hudson to choose three bottles, and he’ll get so excited that he gets to play in there. This helps me get a random rotation of beer too; I’m not just going back for favorites. The only problem is that he really likes flowers, so I had to put all my Cantillon Iris out of his reach.”
In absence of kids, we all agreed that Ryan’s supple physique was best adapted for the beer spelunking challenge at hand. Maneuvering his way in, he revealed many more bottles from The Lost Abbey and The Bruery, among plenty of others. Of Tony’s own wares, we didn’t find any Golden Road cans squirreled away for long-term storage, but being the boss does have its perks: he made sure that barrel-aged versions of Hudson Porter—named for his nearly three-year-old son—found their way into a few hand-labeled bottles for his own personal consumption. “I’m excited to open them once Hudson’s old enough to be able to appreciate them,” Tony said (while the rest of us did a little mental math and realized that wouldn’t be for some time).
Also well represented in Tony’s cellar is Russian River Brewing Company, including a nice little selection of vintage Consecration, though Tony makes a point to hint that he’s “always on the hunt for Temptation” as I’m jotting down notes. And his aforementioned soft spot for saisons becomes more apparent as we venture through collections of Brasserie Fantôme, Logsdon Organic Farmhouse Ales, and Upright Brewing.
So how many bottles are we talking about back there? “If I had to guess,” Tony thinks for a moment. “I dunno. Maybe… I don’t know. I really don’t. I mean, no. Just… can we say ‘a lot’? There’s a lot.” Plenty were personal purchases, but a good number of his bottles have been gifts from friends, customers, employees, and visiting brewery/industry folk.
With such an incredible selection that often seems to grow faster than it dwindles, Tony relies greatly on the good nature of his beer-drinking friends. “If it ever gets too full, I’ll come down to clean it out,” he explains, adding that his neighbor—who he also counts as one of his best friends—often gets some of the spoils. But there’s no list and no pretension about what he’s got on hand. The beer is there to be enjoyed, and it’s there to be enjoyed with friends. “I’ve become quite popular at bottle shares,” he chuckled as we headed back up the stairs, sporting a few bottles of our own that Tony insisted on sharing. Well, if we must…