Costa Mesa To Join the Craft Brewing Scene With Barley Forge Brewery

barleyforge-growlers.jpg
Dave Lieberman
Orange County's going through its sophomore run of brewery openings lately, but most of the breweries opening are in the city of Anaheim. Of course, it's hard to compete when the mayor of Anaheim is actively recruiting breweries, to the point of personally driving brewers around and pointing out properties that can be built out cheaply and with no residential neighbors to cause conditional-use permit issues.

Well, Costa Mesa, your time is coming. Barley Forge Brewing will be opening next month on Randolph Avenue in Costa Mesa, down the street from Rooster PM and the Tin Lizzie.

Owner Greg Nylen, an attorney in his previous life, his wife Mary Ann Frericks, and co-founder and design director Dave Stolte (yes, of Home Bar Basics fame) are details people, and it shows. The taps are mounted on the bar so that bartenders don't have to turn around and break off conversation while filling beer; the mash tuns are exactly at waist height thanks to a platform; the setup was deliberately planned to maximize the cool sea breeze, because breweries can become uncomfortably hot; there are even electrical outlets with USB connections at table height along each wall in the tasting room.

Barley Forge will also have a kitchen, so there will be food available for purchase rather than just a pile of delivery menus or the occasional luxe lonchera parked out front. Nylen says the food will start off simply, with charcuterie and cheese plates and things like that, with a wider menu to be available once the brewery is fully up and running. Also, serving food means that their liquor license will also allow them to serve wine, making it a more inclusive place. (Shockingly, not everyone loves beer.)

David Huls had been tapped to be the brewmaster, and supervised the build-out of an incredibly well-designed and expandable brewery; he was lured away with an offer he couldn't refuse from TAPS in Brea. Nylen has several leads on replacement brewmasters and the separation is on good terms.

Buildout is nearly complete; final inspections are soon and, if all goes well, Barley Forge will be up and running as soon as they have beer to sell, which will be mid- to late September. The initial beer run will all be ale; lagers, which take longer to brew, will join them as soon as they're ready.

I've had several of Barley Forge's initial beers, brewed on Nylen's pilot batch system in the Santa Monica Mountains, and they're good; he's deliberately thinking about beer that can be paired with food. He's not oblivious, either; he's right down the street from eleventy billion Asian restaurants, and is brewing a Dortmunder-style lager that's light and fizzy enough to be paired with Chinese and Korean food.

Barley Forge will be located at 2957 Randolph Ave., Costa Mesa, behind the auto body shop van rental place. Stay tuned for an opening announcement.

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26 comments
David W Wagner
David W Wagner

I tried this beer a few years back at a beer competition @ OC fairgrounds when they won 1st place. Great beer! It is obvious the guys at Barley Forge Brewing Co. have put allot of passion into the product they produce

Mark Bock
Mark Bock

Will it contain actual bums urine in every bottle?

Mark Springer
Mark Springer

I was thinking of one last romp with Jennifer Woodward!

Jennifer Woodward
Jennifer Woodward

Whatevs Mark Springer! You're moving to Whittier and that's that!

Pascal Roget
Pascal Roget

........ I tried to send a job application to Fletcher Jones. Under Position I listed "Garage" Has anybody heard back?

carst1968
carst1968

that's great news!!! hope the beer is good, the place is fun, and can give places like Noble Ales and Bottle Logic a run for their money.... soft opening or anything soon?? :D 

R Scott Torgan
R Scott Torgan

sweet!!! no more road trips to anaheim or fullerton!! :p

mhip
mhip

To whom it may concern...

Your phone app has a share via sms feature that doesn't work.

It never populates anything, leaving a blank text.

In any event, more beer=good

mannylegacy
mannylegacy

Sorry but it is all a matter of preference. I have been to the Bruery and I do really enjoy their beer, but to call it the best in OC based on your preferences is insane lol


Phantom Ales was really good too. And I haven't even tried Bottle logic or Noble yet and have heard great things about them as well. Unfortunately for me I no longer live in Ana-crime but I do live down the Street from the new Barley so I'm excited to try them out.

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