A breeze pours into the grizzly-sized brewhouse through industrial rollup windows. High-backed, cushy chairs line the front bar, and a natural wooden table sits in the back. Around the corner, mermaid wallpaper lines a wall next to a classic sofa. “Wow” sneaks out of my mouth, which has been agape at the sight of Salty Bear Brewing, the newest stop on Randolph Avenue’s Costa Mesa Beer Trail.
“I was the original brewer at JT Schmidt’s and Bayhawk,” says Joe Scagliotti, the founder and brewer at Salty Bear. “I wasn’t going to go into beer again until I was the owner . . . and here I am!”
Despite the proliferation of new breweries in Orange County, Scagliotti is confident about his bright new spot’s chances. “I’ve wanted to open my own thing since 1994,” he says. “My theory is people aren’t going to stop making pizza. . . . People aren’t going to stop making coffee. People are going to keep doing what they’re going to do, and if you’re good, you’re gonna stick. No one ever says there are too many burger joints, right?”
The Costa Mesa native is most excited to open a business in his family’s neighborhood. Saturday’s grand opening will feature 11 new beers, as well as live music and food.
“Perhaps the coolest thing about being around small local breweries is you can always experience good, fresh, new beers,” says Scagliotti. “I want to keep people experiencing new beers for some time.”
Salty Bear Brewing, 2948 Randolph Ave., Ste. C, Costa Mesa; saltybearbrewing.com.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening on June 29th in Anaheim!