Six months after L.A.'s Golden Road Brewing hired brewer Victor Novak from his longtime perch at TAPS' Fish House, the award-winning brewer will be returning to make beer in Orange County when Golden Road opens its new brewpub across from Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
Golden Road Brewing, the largest brewery in L.A., announced on Friday that it will be expanding outside of the county for its first major investment since opening the main production facility and pub in Atwater Village in 2011. Though expansion of some sort has been in the plans for some time now, moving into Orange County was a decision born of chance (and a little help from the City of Anaheim's brewery-friendly laws).
"We looked a lot in L.A. and a bit in O.C. and when this empty canvas of a building came up that had the right brewery-use attached to it and it was across the street from Angel Stadium, and we had Victor as a possibility, we had the perfect storm," says Golden Road co-founder Meg Gill.
The 56,000-square-foot window manufacturing building on Orangewood Avenue is a large rectangular block that Gill and her team will eventually turn into a brewpub and event space that will be perfect for game-day hanging.
Using the modest 15-barrel brewhouse that Golden Road used during its first year (by comparison, the L.A. brewery now uses a 50-barrel system), the new Anaheim brewery arm will serve as headquarters for a new specialty beer line, in which Novak and brewmaster Jesse Houck will get to spread their wings and create creative draft-only brews that go beyond year-round offerings like Point the Way IPA and Wolf Among Weeds.
"We've been limited on specialty options because we've had that brewhouse down for about a year, so the scale we need to brew on in Atwater is 50 barrels that are brewing into 200-barrel batches," Gill says. "This is going to give us flexibility."
The building's current tenants are in until April, so construction and brewing on what is tentatively being called Golden Road Anaheim won't begin until summer at least. Gill says the goal is to get up and running on the specialty brewhouse and some sort of taproom, however casual, by the end of the year, with a more expansive restaurant and group-accommodating facility soon after.
In the meantime, expect to see more Golden Road beers on your next visit to Orange County — the region has doubled its wholesale business in the last year — but don't think they're forgetting their L.A. roots. Beer from Anaheim will make its way into L.A. bars and there may be more-local expansions in the future.
"This was about the building size and specs we needed to grow and it happened to be in a great beer town that let us move in easily and quickly," Gill says. "This doesn't limit us from investing in Los Angeles."