We finally got to take the tour on Wednesday. We got there frizzy haired and sandy. Straight from camping at the beach, but no one seemed to care. Our guide, Matt, was delightful. We got some history of brewing in general, and then he passed around a shaker of roasted barley for us to taste, and then a cup of hops for us to smell. We wandered around all the equipment, which was built for them by a company in Germany. Each one of their big vats holds enough beer for a person to drink two six packs a day for something like 62 years. Every person who works there gets two liters a day to take home with them, plus one keg a month. He said all of the new employees try to consume their allowance, but no one can do it. They were bottling the day we were there, so we got to watch that for a while.
Matt told us that after the new brewery was finished, and all of the construction crew was gone, they discovered they needed to build a little wall between the sidewalk and the stream that runs through the beautiful garden entrance. It seems people kept falling in the stream after the beer tasting at the end of the tour. They put out an ad stating they would provide the materials and beer for the volunteers to help build the wall and more than enough people showed up.
They have their own distribution company, which started out with one broken down old van, and now is one of the largest refrigerated fleets in California, all because they couldn't get anyone to distribute their beers for them. They have a huge warehouse type cooler that was full of all kinds of micro-brews from all over, that they also distribute.
The tasting at the end was a lot of fun. It was the first time I have ever tasted a smoked stout, and it was really quite good. Also, my friend isn't really a beer drinker, so I got most of hers. I think the Ruination is still my favorite. I'm going to order a case of it online for my son's wedding in October.
When Matt was asked why the company doesn't have their name on the outside of the building he said "We don't need to."