Southwest Brewing News February/March 2014 : Page 1

(L-R) Solvang Brewing Co. brewer David Lusk with owners Stephen and Cari Renfrow. PHOTO BY DAVID MULVIHILL. By David Mulvihill any travelers, tourists and passersby are likely familiar with the small North Santa Barbara County town of Solvang, California. Coined as the e “Danish Capital of America,” erica ” it is well known for its Danish-style architecture, quaint shops, bakeries, restaurants and lodging. One of the village’s four windmills stands out prominently as you enter Solvang on Mission Drive. Now home to Solvang Brewing Company, this rambling compound’s former life was as The Danish Inn and Viking Room. Owners Stephen and Cari Renfrow recently shared their story with SWBN . Cari Renfrow’s li lineage can be traced to some of Solvang’s ea earliest settlers; the fir first of her relatives ar arrived in 1911. H Holding strong ties to th the area, and a taste for craf craft beer, the Renfrows were lo looking for an t it t opportunity to open a brewery restaurant. Their vision was to own a local family-friendly establishment that would provide a welcoming atmosphere to residents and visitors -a place open later than most other Solvang enterprises. In 2009 they came upon an opportunity that would allow them to follow this dream. Property owner Mimi Rasmussen was in possession of a vacant deteriorating building in need of expensive (and mandated) seismic ILLUSTRATION BY: HANS GRANHEIM By Damion Terrell location on a set schedule, it's known colloquially as a “pod.” This idea of the pod gives some sense to the modularity of food trucks and how easily they can fit into any given location. The true strength of the coalitions being formed between breweries and food trucks is that they now have the A strong alliance has formed across the Southwest that can be enjoyed on a regular basis. With the renaissance of local brew and food, breweries and food trucks are bringing fans of both together on a regular basis. Anytime a group of food trucks gathers at a dedicated See Food Truck page 3 See Solvang p. 5 Taos Mesa Brewery in Taos, New Mexico has its own full service food truck. PHOTO BY DAMION TERRELL. From the Editor .................................. 2 Event Calendar ....................................4 Homebrew Beer Stylist .........................6 Directories & Maps .........................12-15 Nevada ..........................8 Oklahoma ......................9 Arkansas .......................9 New Mexico ................. 10 S/C/E Texas ................. 16 Austin ......................... 18 N/W Texas ................... 19 Northern Arizona ........ 20 Southern Arizona ........ 20 Central Arizona ........... 21 Southern California .....22 San Diego ....................23

A Complementary Partnership

Damion Terrell

AStrong alliance has formed across the Southwest that can be enjoyed on a regular basis. With the renaissance of local brew and food, breweries and food trucks are bringing fans of both together on a regular basis. Anytime a group of food trucks gathers at a dedicated location on a set schedule, it's known colloquially as a “pod.” This idea of the pod gives some sense to the modularity of food trucks and how easily they can fit into any given location. The true strength of the coalitions being formed between breweries and food trucks is that they now have the ability to focus on their individual specialties. Patrons of both have more options too.

Partners in Thyme

Arizona's Sleepy Dog and Four Peaks taproom in Tempe both have an arrangement with local food trucks every weekend. The Hungry Monk craft beer bar in Chandler, Arizona has its own food truck. Customers now have the option of filling up on craft beer and local cuisine.

Jennifer Royo, co-owner of No Label Brewing Co. In Katy, Texas, says, “We have food trucks at our brewery every Saturday during our tour/tasting from 12-3 p.m. We love having them out. Bernie’s Burgers, MuSuBi, Flaming Patties, Custom Confection, Pocket to Me, 1836 Grill and Golden Grill are just a few of the food trucks we have out.“ No Label, along with the MuSuBi food truck hosted a big food truck event in January. The event included food and craft vendors, two food trucks, and of course No Label’s brew. MuSuBi brought in Master Chef James Nelson for the event. When asked about best events close to No Label, Royo responds, “West Houston Food Truck Festival; it’s on our side of town, very new and small but getting bigger.” Royo also explains why she feels breweries and food trucks make for great partners: “Both great local businesses working together. Food and beer. What else is there?”

David Graham, sales and marketing team member of Karbach Brewing in Houston, Texas, informs that Karbach hosts food trucks at the brewery's weekly tours Monday, Friday and Saturday. Karbach works with about 15 trucks and rotates the schedule. Graham states, “This is exciting for our repeat customers to come out and try something new while they enjoy the beer!”

Houston, Texas, Saint Arnold Brewing Co.’s founder Brock Wagner reports that Bernie's Burger Bus also makes its presence known regularly for the brewery's Saturday tours.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Il Vicino Brewery has been hosting the Annual Food Truck Rumble in which the best food trucks of 'Burque get together to face the judges and determine who is the best food truck for the year. The winner proudly displays their winning title in their window at every stop for the whole year.

Iconic Taos Mesa Brewery’s entire food operation is run out of a permanent food truck located directly adjacent to the brewery. Co-founder Dan Irion explains that a connecting window between the food truck and the brewery provides everything from regular dinners to beer pairings and dinner theaters. One special event titled pechakuchua, was an educational lecture dinner. Irion adds, “We never intended to be a restaurant, but we had people showing up just for dinner and not even for drinking our beer. Now we are really trying to marry the two concepts together and bring in a new tapas menu with all the food and sauces made with our beers.”

We Can Work It Out

Even though food trucks and breweries have formed one of the best alliances, there have been times the proliferation of food trucks has gotten out of hand and earned the ire of the neighbors. In Albuquerque’s historic Nob Hill, Tractor Brewing Company’s Tap Room faced this recent issue. Being a new and popular taproom near the University of New Mexico campus, a few food trucks began to “camp out” taking up parking and causing congestion on the neighborhood streets. Former Nob Hill Neighborhood Association President Tymn Waters informs, “Some neighbors saw food trucks as a natural addition to the life of the Hill, as they are the hip and happening culinary experience; others saw them as a nuisance and a challenge to the established restaurants. All this came to a head fanned by social media when rumor had it the Neighborhood Association was going to ban food trucks. We had begun a dialogue that led to a peaceful coexistence… Since then it seems to have taken a better tone. My phone was hot that weekend.” Waters explains that The Tractor Tap Room was instrumental in smoothing things over with the neighborhood. Tractor now has a nightly schedule of rotating food trucks.

When asked why breweries and food trucks are such a good combination, Jeff Erway, brewmaster of La Cumbre in Albuquerque responds, “As far as food trucks, not all restaurateurs have that much money to open a restaurant. Not all restaurateurs want to be brewers. Not all brewers want to be restaurateurs. Poof. Picture perfect taprooms, full eating and drinking customers. Everybody's happy.”

It’s up to the taproom patron, whether you just want to enjoy a craft beer or also want a snack or a full meal with it. Maybe you want to complement, contrast or cut that pairing. With the alliance of breweries and food trucks, you now have more options available.

Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/A+Complementary+Partnership/1630963/196095/article.html.

The Welcoming Wind Mill

David Mulvihill

Idany travelers, tourists and passersby are likely familiar with the small North Santa Barbara County town of Solvang, California. Coined as the “Danish Capital of America,” it is well known for its Danish-style architecture, quaint shops, bakeries, restaurants and lodging. One of the village’s four windmills stands out prominently as you enter Solvang on Mission Drive. Now home to Solvang Brewing Company, this rambling compound’s former life was as The Danish Inn and Viking Room. Owners Stephen and Cari Renfrow recently shared their story with SWBN.

cari Renfrow’s lineage can be traced some of Solvang’s earliest settlers; the first of her relatives arrived in 1911. Holding strong ties to the area, and a taste for craft beer, the Renfrows looking for an opportunity to open a brewery restaurant. Their vision was to own a local family-friendly establishment that would provide a welcoming atmosphere to residents and visitors - a place open later than most other Solvang enterprises. In 2009 they came upon an opportunity that would allow them to follow this dream. Property owner Mimi Rasmussen was in possession of a vacant deteriorating building in need of expensive (and mandated) seismic retrofitting. The Renfrows took action and struck a deal that would save this landmark. “We wanted something with Old World charm. The Danish Inn and adjoining Viking Room provided that,” Stephen Renfrow shared. Solvang Brewing Company opened its doors in October of 2010.

Maintaining the History

During the renovation process Renfrow stepped carefully, focusing more on preserving character and history than simply gutting the place. Today, the Viking Room maintains its name, along with its original copper topped bar, red leather seating and heavy beamed ceilings. It beckons to the bygone days of three martini business lunches and power meetings. [Historical note: The back section of the Viking Room reportedly served as Ronald Reagan’s unofficial headquarters during his Presidential campaign.]

As you enter, Solvang Brewing Company first appears compact, but expands as you move from room to room. The middle dining area provides a more formal setting. The dining room opens to the game room, with the windmill room beyond. Inside the windmill is the gift shop and additional bar growler fill station. The kitchen and brewhouse are also located in separate rooms. An ample front patio with outdoor seating provides a more casual European café feel.

A Brewer’s Journey

Brewer David Lusk found his way to Solvang via Orange County, Los Angeles and San Diego. Lusk began his brewing career in 1998 at the first brewery location for BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery, in Brea, California. A student of the American Brewers Guild, Lusk refined his skills as new BJ’s locations opened in Woodland Hills and West Covina. In 2002 Lusk moved to Back Street Brewery, taking over as head brewer in Irvine and later moved to Back Street’s new Vista location. During this stretch Lusk garnered a number of awards, including his first GABF medal. In late 2007 he was recruited by Airdale Brewing, a startup in San Diego in search of a brewery. Lusk brewed Airdale beers under an onsite contract arrangement that allowed him to formulate the recipes, brew the beer and oversee distribution. Airdale’s later demise came about close to the time Renfrow was searching for an experienced and talented brewer to complete his team. This step would solidify the piece of the business that was lacking: namely, well crafted beer. In April of 2012, Airdale’s loss became Solvang’s windfall. Readers that may have visited SBC in days before David Lusk joined the team would be well served in planning a return trip.

There are typically 12 house beers on tap, which include seven year-round brews and rotating specialties. Well appointed standard brews possess Danish themed monikers, such as Valhalla IPA, Great Dane Pale and Odin Stout; fitting given the terroir. Seasonal specialties have comprised a citrusy floral AnniversaRYE IPA, fresh pumpkin Sleepy Hollow Pumpkin Ale, and the warming JuleFest Ale, Lusk’s Christmas strong ale. “It took a lot of hard work, but the locals are now very happy to drink award-winning beer. I'm excited about the endless possibilities…” Lusk shared this as he spoke about growing the brewing side of the business, which may include future expansion into a full production facility. As this issue went to press, two hoppy offerings were in the works. Full Nelson double IPA, featuring New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops will be up first, followed by an IPA highlighting Zythos hops.

Unique Cuisine

Danish, American and pub-style food make up the menu of chef Chris Iniguez. He has mastered traditional Danish recipes, some passed to the Renfrows by long-established Solvang families. He puts a modern twist on many of these dishes. Consider the frikadeller meatball sliders, or the SBC sausage sampler, which features Danish medisterpølse, beer poached bratwurst and a rotating chef's-choice sausage served with Danish red cabbage, mashed potatoes and mustard assortment. Frikadeller are flat, pan-fried minced meat dumplings - the Danish version of meatballs. Other selections include slowbraised meats, sauces, glazes and soups made with house-beer bases. There are artisan cheeses and vegetarian selections that include hummus and a roasted beet salad. Sandwiches, Angus beef burgers, and even Mexican dishes round out the menu.

Beer-note Footnote

Stephen Renfrow whole-heartedly embraces the Danish heritage of his wife and community. During SWBN’s visit, he cited several lineage and historical references relating to Cari Renfrow’s family and that of the Solvang community. He also makes a point on the company website to educate folks about ale’s Danish roots. It is “…the land from which the word “ale” made its way into the English language. The Danes… were the globe-trotting conquerors from the 700s through the first century... The Viking word for bitter was “aul(t).” As the Vikings successfully, and repeatedly, conquered coastal towns in the British Isles, the letter “t” was eventually dropped from this Viking word and “ale” came into being. On a similar linguistic note, the modern-day Danish word for beer is øl.”

In late December the Renfrows became proud parents. Cari Renfrow gave birth to son Bryce, their first child. No doubt, the future holds much as they teach their son about life, family, heritage, and in about 21 years, finely crafted øl, ault, ale.

Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/The+Welcoming+Wind+Mill/1630969/196095/article.html.

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