While in Southern California recently I had the privilege, honor and great enjoyment to meet with The Bruery CEO/Founder Patrick Rue at his offices and brewery in Placentia, California.
I’d long been a fan of this Belgian-style brewery and had never tasted one of its brews that I didn’t immediately fall in love with. What has always amazed me about their beers is how each one is bursting with flavor and how they are creatively made without worrying about fitting into a particular beer style.
The Bruery has enjoyed great success since its opening in 2008 as a boutique craft brewery specializing in barrel aged and experimental ales and is now distributed in 26 states with a 12,000 bbl output expected for this year. The Bruery is still located in its original space at 717 Dunn Way in Placentia, a dozen miles from Anaheim, where it began as a homebrew shop and 15-bbl 5,300 square-foot brewery. Since then, it has expanded to a 30-bbl system with eleven 3-bbl fermenters and brewing by six brewers taking place nearly around the clock. The Bruery now takes up most of the industrial complex it’s situated in and has a new bottling system, which runs two to three days a week, and is equipped with a state-of-the-art lab with machines that determine ABV and color, and perform microbiology testing and yeast propagation.
Speaking of yeast, 40 yeast strains are used, from which four can be selected at any given time. Furthermore, 1st generation yeast is used with every brew, so they can control the consistency and have no variations. This is vastly different from most breweries, which go 8-12 generations before propagating a fresh batch.
In addition to the brewhouse, there is a location one street away storing barrel aging beers and one 3 miles away storing those aging in wine barrels. The barrels are a primary element, as nearly half of the beers produced are currently aged in wine or spirit barrels.
If you look closely at the Bruery name, you’ll find a merging of the family name with the word brewery, with the Rue family name contained in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th letters. When asked about turning his homebrewing obsession into opening his family brewery Patrick said, “I’m fortunate to have a great family who helped with the start up money. 2008 was a good time to open because it was during the recession and a slow time for openings. I wanted to do something no one else was doing and create something for the local community to be proud of.” On why he chose a Belgian style brewery he said, “I’m not a fan of style restrictions and like how Belgians don’t worry about them but instead just make flavors they want.” Patrick related that currently there are three all the time beers: Jardinier (Belgian pale ale), Mischief (hoppy golden strong) and Saison Rue (farmhouse-style saison); and 70-80 seasonals a year. Patrick comes up with the ideas and Experimental Brewer Andrew Bell does the tinkering on their pilot system. As for the names of the beers, all are suggested by their 63 staff members.
Any fan of The Bruery will feel like they’ve achieved Nirvana when they make their way into the tasting room. Here you’ll find nearly 20 taps to choose from and an additional 6 more for those lucky enough to be members of the Reserve Society (currently sold out for 2015, a membership program that allows members to receive an allocation of limited and rare beers throughout the year not available to the general public). The 3 oz pours are a very reasonable $1 to $2 and full pours $6 or $7. The diversity of styles available during my visit included a tart wheat ale, sour blonde with Riesling grapes, imperial pale lager, barrel fermented saison, hoppy imperial brown, wheatwine, oak aged sour stout, imperial stout, imperial rye smoked porter and an imperial weizenbock.
A big thank you is in order to Patrick, who is obviously a very busy man running a thriving business, and took the time to show me around and share some of his outstanding award-winning beers. I’d been told that he was a very approachable guy and someone you would enjoy having a beer with and can confirm that both are quite true.
717 Dunn Way
Placentia, CA 92870www.thebruery.com
Tasting Room Hours: noon to 10 p.m. dailyTours are held on Saturdays & Sundays. Sign up that day in the Tasting Room. Closed toe shoes are highly recommended.
Bob Barnes is editorial director of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional, regional correspondent for Celebrator Beer News and writes the Top 10 Beer lists for Gayot.com. He welcomes your inquiries and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.