The Bruery's Kyle Doerkesen preps bottles to be filled with beer. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles…)
Orange County's the Bruery is inherently optimistic. With many of its beers aging in barrels — 1,500 barrels, to be exact — its concoctions require patience, sometimes as many as three years before they can be enjoyed. It may be a while, then, before the Bruery is regularly maxing out its new tap space.
The 4-year-old Bruery this week unveiled a revamped 1,100-square-foot tasting room that will be open daily. By expanding into the office space next door, the Bruery has been able to make room for 40 taps. The old tasting room offered 14 and was open only on weekends.
"The whole craft beer thing has made this a tourism spot," said Benjamin Weiss, manager of sales and marketing at the Placentia-based proprietor of Belgium-influenced creations. "We often get people who try to come by during the week because they're here for a conference or taking their kids to Disneyland. Now we can appease those people."
Since Day 1, the Bruery's palate has been adventurous, its offerings generally leaning toward the sour, the fruity or the tart end of the spectrum. With greater room to breathe, look for the Bruery to take even more risks.
Say, for instance, its brewers cook up a coffee-enhanced stout. The tasting room may offer five takes on the style, said Weiss, each one brewed with a different coffee bean. What's more, the Bruery is launching a program that will specialize in small batches of experimental beers.
All taps will be filled opening week, but because the offerings are rare and limited, Weiss expects to be down to about 15 beers soon. The hope is to have about 30 taps filled at all times, and because the Bruery's license doesn't allow for guest taps, the beer will all be made in Placentia.
The Bruery is profitable, boasting a staff of 45 and availability in 20 states, but the expansion has been costly, with a bill just shy of $1 million, said Weiss. "This is costing us basically everything we have," said Weiss, "so hopefully it pays off — and quickly."