About a year ago, I ventured south to a small brewery outside of San Juan Bautista that I barely knew called Brewery Twenty Five. I was there to write a story on the brewery for Edible Monterey Bay magazine. Finding the brewery was a bit of a challenge. After driving around the narrow streets in the rugged farmland just west of town trying to find the place, I finally had to pull over to the side of the road and call for directions. Turns out I was pretty close and as I turned around a corner, at the top of a steep hill, I spied owners Fran and Sean Fitzharris standing in front of their bright yellow house, waving both hands in the air to get my attention.
At the time, their tap room was just an empty room and a plan. As they showed me the space at the southern end of downtown San Juan Bautista, they pointed out where everything would go in the small set of adjoining rooms. They were certain the place would open before the end of 2017.
It didn’t quite work out that way as the tap room didn’t open until mid-2018. When I visited this past Labor Day weekend, it was a bit of a thrill to see the placed looked pretty much how Fran and Sean said it would. The highlight for me were the autographed growlers in the back room signed by craft brewing legends like Ken Grossman, Kim Jordan, and Matt Brynildson. And yes, it was a bit of an ego boost to see the Edible Monterey Bay article I wrote hanging on the wall. I always try to tell an objective story of each brewery, and it’s satisfying to see that story integrated into a brewery’s tap room.
As for the beer, my wife and I decided to just get four ounce pours of all six beers they had on tap and we enjoyed every one of them. My favorite was a copper-colored Double IPA called “Garza”, brewed in the classic West Coast tradition with a great blend of Cascade, Centennial, CTZ, Simcoe and Amarilo hops. Another brew I enjoyed was, believe it or not, their Hazy IPA called “25 ‘Til Infinity”. Out of the roughly twenty Hazy IPAs I’ve had, I liked maybe five of them. This one worked because the orange citrus flavors were particularly bright and vibrant, not getting muddled in the haze which sinks so many of these beers for me. We both enjoyed New Moon and Coconut Moon Oatmeal Stouts, the latter made with coconut and vanilla beams. Both had lots of complex, roasty and chocolate flavors with a moderate sweetness, yet remained light and smooth tasting with all that going on at a strong 7.7% abv.
Definitely worth the drive from South Bay and we’ll certainly be back. I’ll leave you with a few images from that afternoon.