Home Brewing Professionally: Big Ambitions for Pipe Dream Brewery


I’ve never interviewed home brewers before. And who could blame me? This blog is called California BrewMasters after all… which isn’t to disrespect the age old tradition of brewing in a private residence. Maybe I just hadn’t met the right home brewers yet? I personally do not home brew; reason being I find it much, MUCH easier to cozy up to a bar and sip on the labors of others than stumble through all that hard work myself. Take my $7 and hand me a pint, damn it. Call me lazy (I certainly do), but there’s just no way in hell I’m capable of a Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Stout or a Russian River Blind Pig IPA. I certainly can’t get the hop contracts.

Brian Holter, Kingsley Toby, and more recent team addition Kevin Segna are thankfully not at all like me, at least in that respect. Collectively, they make up Pipe Dream Brewery, and Brian and Kingsley have been brewing together for almost a decade. They’ve taken it to the next level with professional-quality beers and aspirations to get out of the garage (impressive in its own right) and into their own brewery. These guys are even on Untappd for Pete sake!

I first tried their beers in a hotel room late at night (the inspiration for too many blog posts these days) with Brian, Kingsley, and a bunch of beer bloggers. Mid-bottle share they whipped out some stunningly beautiful 350ml bottles and poured abso-friggen-lutely stunning fruit sours. My taste buds were wowed, and after careful inspection of the minimalist white label with a hardened smear of oil paint, the color signifying the variety (I believe I tried a deep red for raspberry and a purple boysenberry), I remarked, “Wow, you must really like these Pipe Dream guys.” Looking at each other, then back at me, they chuckled and revealed their true identities. I’m all the better for it.

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Inside Sanctum Brewing Co: Meet Scott Lucas and Jason Stevens

*A version of this article will appear in the June issue of Beer Paper LA.


Jason Stevens (left) and Scott Lucas, the owners and brewers of Sanctum Brewing in Pomona.


I first met the gentlemen of Sanctum Brewing, Jason Stevens and Scott Lucas, at the Great American Beer Festival this last year. We played shuffleboard together at a bar around midnight. Earlier that day I had photographed some competitive beer judging, where old men huddled around tables used their collective senses to sniff out hundreds of Belgian Tripels. They made sure, first and foremost, that each beer had the taste, smell, and appearance of exactly the style it claimed to be. Without passing this initial test, a beer is hardly given a second glance. While rigidity is a necessary evil for competitive fairness, the experience made me realize the important role that innovation has at the table as well.

This brings us back to Jason and Scott, two self described “regular dudes” that couldn’t care less about the rigidity of beer styles. And thank God for that. Sanctum Brewing, nestled in the corner space of the Pomona Packing Plant (about 6 miles east of Cal Poly Pomona), is rooted in inventiveness. But Sanctum’s envelope pushing, through the use of creative ingredients, doesn’t seem to come from an aggressive place; they aren’t testing boundaries for the sake of it. Instead, when you talk to these jovial, laid back guys, you get the feeling that they’re almost unaware of the role they’ve cast themselves as. They’re brewing what they want, and that’s pretty much the long and short of it.

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Barley Forge Opens In Costa Mesa – Meet Greg Nylen

**Note: a version of this interview will appear in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of Beer Paper LA**
Have a conversation with Barley Forge owner Greg Nylen and you soon realize his words reveal as much about the brewery as they do about Nylan’s own character. Methodical and delicately worded, Nylen has been both a successful career lawyer and home brewer for the past 24 years. Barley Forge has been planned, again methodically, for the last 14 years. With brewer Kevin Buckley on staff creating some of his own recipes while also scaling up Nylen’s home brews, Costa Mesa now bears the fruits of these labors with the recent opening of the city’s first production brewery. Buckley’s resume boasts breweries from Iowa, Chicago, and Canada before working in San Diego at both Alpine and Back Street Brewing.
Located one street behind the always-packed retail and restaurant destination The Camp, Barley Forge is set to place a decisive stamp on a part of town that was in high need of a good brewery. Oh, and by the way, the beers are damn tasty. I sat down with Nylen to discuss the big plans and small details of opening a new brewery, transitioning recipes from home brewing to large-scale production, and what Barley Forge has in store for the community.

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Welcome to the CBM Blog


Welcome, welcome, welcome. I’m glad you stopped by. For this inaugural post I thought I’d start simply enough by telling you a bit about the project, and share some exciting news about it’s development. The California Brew Masters book is a collection of interviews and portraits of some of California’s best brewers, over 45 of them so far.

Each brewer was interviewed about their brewing history, their opinions on the beer industry, their philosophy of brewing, some shared funny stories, others shared some great tips and tricks for home brewers. We then took them around their own brewery, or into their communities, to photograph them and reveal the face responsible for that empty glass in front of you. We’re putting all this content together so that you can learn the stories behind your favorite brewers.

So why do this? Well, first and foremost these guys (and gals) produce a lot of great beer. Beer that’s so good you’ll take one sip and go “ahhhhh” like you suddenly found yourself in a friggen Pepsi commercial. There’s over 300 breweries in California alone, that’s the most in the country! So, with all the recent momentum of the craft beer movement, I couldn’t help but think these folks deserved a bit of credit. So I, Nick Gingold, author and photographer of this fine project (nice to meet you too), set out on a California adventure to meet some great people, and drink some amazing beer.

So here I sit today, writing this post to you, and if you’ve read this far, I’m hoping you like my idea, and like what I have to offer to the world. That’s good… because we need YOUR help. Yes, you, at the computer. Even you, girl reading this on your cell phone. We need your help to turn this project into a beautiful coffee table book. We’re launching a Kickstarter February 1st to raise $25,000 in 45 days. That’s a LOT of money in a little amount of time, and so we’re counting on YOU to bring this fan-friggin-tastic 10″x10″ hard cover coffee table book to life.

Now, your generosity will not go unnoticed. We’ll be offering some of the beer-nerdiest, most redonk-a-donk incentives for the backers of this project. You can also pre-order your own copy of the book for $5 off the retail price. Now isn’t that just swell?

So stay tuned for a lot more info, I’m excited to share this wild ride with you. I’ll be doing blog posts about future fundraising events, progress reports on the book and the Kickstarter campaign, sweet teasers of portraits and clips from the interviews, and much more. Thanks for your support. Cheers!