Beer Fans Mourn the Impending Loss of Barley Forge—What the Ale!

No more Future Trippin IPA. No more pulled pork sandwich and tater salad. Photo by Greg Nagel

After a successful 2018, during which Barley Forge Brewing won gold for its Grandpa Tractor Dortmunder Export at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) and silver at the World Beer Cup for the coconut rye stout The Patsy, seeing a closure notice posted on social media instantly kicked many beer fans in the feels.

“Brewing beer is a capital-intensive and increasingly competitive endeavor, and simply stated, we have arrived at a point where the lows outnumber the highs,” co-owner/tasting-room manager Mary Ann Frericks noted on the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages. “This reality, combined with an unprecedented and unsustainable rent increase our landlord is demanding, has made untenable the prospect of continuing to operate a full-scale production brewery.”

GABF gold winner Grandpa Tractor. Photo by Greg Nagel

Hundreds of comments poured in, a mixture of well wishes and sadness about losing a brewery and brand that took Costa Mesa by storm.

When Frericks and husband Greg Nylen took ownership of the dilapidated building on Randolph Avenue in 2013, it resembled the torture warehouse in the movie Reservoir Dogs from the outside. But the couple transformed the space into a vibrant kitchen and brewery, decorated in industrial chic, and began hosting a jazz night that packed the house. According to Frericks, “The prospect of continuing to operate a full-scale production brewery in a neighborhood that has rapidly shifted from its industrial roots to a retail environment” is ultimately what caused the rent increase.

The building when Greg Nylen and Mary Ann Frericks took it over. Photo by Mary Ann Frericks

“We’ve got our GABF medal; we have  a World Beer Cup medal. . . . I think we can be proud of what we did here in Costa Mesa,” she says.

At press time, an official closing date hadn’t been announced, but Barley Forge’s lease is up Oct. 31.

All I can think about is no more Patsy in my life, and that makes me sad.

Barley Forge Brewing, 2957 Randolph Ave., Costa Mesa, (714) 641-2084; barleyforge.com.

9 Replies to “Beer Fans Mourn the Impending Loss of Barley Forge—What the Ale!”

  1. Big, bad, Scrooge-like landlord was a contributing factor to us squashing the wildly-popular, Mt Rushmore-of-OC-microbrews……

    Bullshit

    Then MOVE! The real reason was likely mismanagement, internal ownership issues, or the fact that no one outside of a handful of foodies ever gave two shits about the food. The free popcorn would’ve sufficed. The high overhead of the kitchen is what likely sank this iconic OC brewery.

    The Patsy, Nom Nom, Grandpa Tractor, the horchata-infused El Tecnico – now that’s what we cane for. The 300 different variations of panini? Yeah, right!

    1. Had a lot of good times there. The Patsy must live on. Give it a try somewhere else. Only Pussies quit when the going gets rough!

  2. They never put lime in their beer. Big mistake. Nothing hits the spot like a cerveza with lime while cruising Bristol in my ’62 Riviera. It is the way of my people.

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