Brewery Twenty Five in Edible Monterey Bay

cover-emb-winter-17The e-mailed request from Edible Monterey Bay editor Sarah Wood came out of the blue. “I’m writing to find out if you’d like to, and have time to do do a short profile of a new brewery in San Juan Bautista called Brewery Twenty Five for our magazine,” and she went on to apologize for the short notice, given a tight deadline. I didn’t know a whole lot about Brewery Twenty Five, other than sampling one of their beers earlier this year at a beer festival. I honestly don’t remember it other than liking it. I was already a little tied up with some other projects, but hey, I’ve been enjoying writing for the other “Edibles”- Edible East Bay and Edible Silicon Valley, so figured this was a good way to expand my geographic writing horizons a bit. I took on the project.

So one afternoon, I headed out to San Juan Bautista to gather material for the article. The brewery, located on owners Sean and Fran Fitzharris property, is nestled atop one of the hills on the outskirts of town and was a hard to find. I finally had to call Fran shortly before our appointed meeting and ask for directions.  Turns out, I was close, and when I told her my location, so told me to just go around the corner. As I drove into a small valley, I looked up and way on top of a hill, I saw the couple waving their hands at me, and figured that was where I needed to be. Taking a small winding road up to the top of the hill, I finally made it to the brewery.

What a neat little brewery it was, full of all sorts of jerry rigged equipment. Sean and Fran are pretty resourceful folks, using their local connections to pick up all sorts of used equipment on their shoestring operation. Yet, their beers, especially the two fruit infused wheat beers I sampled, have a lot of vibrant flavors and a certain sophistication. I’m looking forward to when their tap room opens in historic downtown San Juan Bautista when I can sample their full compliment of flavors.

For now, you can read their story I wrote for the latest issue of Edible Monterey Bay at the link below:

Edible Monterey Bay Notables: Brewery Twenty Five


Scenes from Brewery Twenty Five

In this era of crowd funding, corporate investment in craft breweries and ready-made brewing equipment, it’s refreshing to find a brewery like Brewery Twenty Five down in San Juan Bautista, CA.  The small brewery is a bit of a throw-back to the earliest days of craft beer, when people like Sierra Nevada’s Ken Grossman used their own money to patch together breweries from discarded junk and used dairy equipment.  The brewery itself is located in a large shed on a steep hill top behind the home of owners Fran and Sean Fitzharris on the outskirts of town.

I spent an afternoon with Fran and Sean checking out their brewery and tasting a few of their creations. We ended the day at Bear’s Hideaway in downtown San Juan Bautista, just chatting away about beer and enjoying their fresh, vibrant Fuzzy Jules Apricot Wheat Beer. The next big step for Brewery Twenty Five? They’ll be opening up a tasting room in downtown San Juan Bautista later this year as their small brewery continues to  expand its roots. I’ll leave you with a few pictures from the afternoon.

Estate hops will be grown on the brewery property with those ladders serving as trellises
On the left is a sour-ale aging in a Chardonnay barrel, a Bourbon barrel-aged stout in on the right
Another brewery scene
Twin fermenters, names after the Fitzharris’s Australian shepherds Thelma and Louis who passed away, but still live in spirit in the brewery
Sean Fitzharris explains a sparging system he built out of copper piping.
The Brewery Twenty Five taproom will be inside this small plaza
Sean and Fran on their hill top property