Cliffside along the 133, next to the Sawdust Festival, a new brewery quietly opened around a year ago. Laguna Beach Beer Co.’s second location is not only in its namesake city, but also about a mile from the iconic Main Beach Lifeguard Tower. (The company’s production facility in Rancho Santa Margarita includes a tap room and eatery.)
I sat down with Laguna Beach native Rob McClaire, who manages the day-to-day at the location.
OC WEEKLY: How did you get your start in beer?
ROB MCCLAIRE: I’ve had a crush on beer since college . . . so much so that I was given a homebrew kit in 2010, which later led me to brewing with some old friends [Laguna Beach Beer Co. founders Brent Reynard and Mike Lombardo].
What kind of beers do you make?
Brendan Maxim is brewing up some incredible stuff. Our beers range from a blonde ale [named Second Reef] to our strawberry-milk stout [Trolley Stop], with the occasional barrel-aged release. We continue to put out the hoppier stuff, as that’s what the market wants. Our styles are typically on the drier side of the spectrum and very approachable.
What has getting a new brewhouse done for your lineup?
Most important, we are making better beer. If it’s been a while since you’ve had them, do yourself a favor and give ’em another sip. It’s [also] improved efficiencies and is allowing us the opportunity to open up more wholesale business to local bars and restaurants around Orange County.
You have an event coming up on June 7. What’s up with that?
We are celebrating our tap room in Laguna turning 1 year old! Festivities include a bottle release of our anticipated Bordeaux barrel-aged Saison, live music, an art show, and a wine release from our friends at Purple Corduroy.
Liquid SLibrations at Laguna Beach Beer Co., 859 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, (949) 715-0805; lagunabeer.com. June 7, 5-10 p.m.
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!