Cismontane Santa Ana

Cismontane Brewing Company, which originally began in Rancho Santa Margarita about six years ago, opened a second tasting room in Santa Ana on Warner west of Grand just over one year ago. The facility, also utilized for off brewery-site storage, opened with the intention of adding a distillery and eventually expanding the brewery. As Cismontane Santa Ana celebrated its first anniversary, it had taken delivery on distilling equipment that will assist in converting “The Batch Master” a former Smucker’s Jam vacuum cooker so that distilling can begin. Team Weinberg and Stewart will be giving birth to Batch Plant Distillery. Evan and Ross launched an Indiegogo campaign in late November to assist with some of the financial aspects required to bring the distillery to fruition. As you are reading this there may still be enough time to contribute and get in on some of the benefits provided at varying levels of contribution.

The name, Batch Plant, pays homage to Cismontane Santa Ana’s physical location, which lies between asphalt and concrete manufacturing plants. “Batch plants” are what they are referred to in the industry. Evan shared that since Batch Plant will be creating small batches of spirits it was an appropriate moniker. Look for gin to come first, with whiskeys and brandies requiring time to age.

On the beer side of things, much has happened in the not-too-distant past, and if you haven’t been to Cismontane lately it may be time for a return visit. Most, if not all, of the beers brewed today finish in closed fermentation. Gone are the days of open fermenting vessels that served the team well during the brewery’s beginning years. Its new California IPA exudes pleasant citrus notes, polar opposite to its cousin Coulter IPA, which still has its own dedicated following. The open fermenters were very accommodating to many of the English single-malts and German-style brews but more difficult when brewing other ales. The brewhouse in Ranch Santa Margarita will likely relocate to Santa Ana at some point in the future. Until then, wort for distilling will be trucked in from RSM.

Fig Mountain opens in Westlake Village

The little brewery that just keeps expanding has done it again, opening its newest and southern-most location in Westlake Village. In case you haven’t been counting, this is Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co’s sixth taproom. What began as a small production brewery in Buellton has already seen a great deal of expansion in the past few years. First, we witnessed the opening of its second brewery in Santa Barbara. Next, was the inauguration of a tasting room in Los Olivos, followed by a satellite in Santa Maria. Arroyo Grande came next. Fig Westlake Village opened in mid-December. Westlake’s head brewer is Nic Bortolin, formerly of Wiens Brewery in Temecula, CA. Bortolin joined Team Fig a year ago. For those of you beer touring, the Westlake Village Fig Mtn. is only six minutes NW of Ladyface Ale Companie and six minutes SE of Five Threads Brewing Company, a newer brewery that this reporter is not yet familiar with. Five Threads opened at the end of August, so a bit of exploration is in store. Its website shows the five threads standing for water, malt, hops, yeast, and you, the human element that contributes to the making and enjoyment of the product. Look for news about Five Threads in a future edition.

Mikkeller Brewing San Diego

Late last year San Diego’s AleSmith Brewing Company vacated its longtime Miramar area home for a brand new 100,000+ square foot building a couple of blocks away. Its former location won’t be dormant for long. AleSmith’s Peter Zien is partnering in a new venture with gypsy brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, of the Denmark based Mikkeller. Mikkeller Brewing San Diego will be firing up AleSmith’s former 30 barrel brewhouse at its original location on Cabot Drive, along with members of AleSmith’s original brewing team who will become employees of the new brewery. As it gets started, Zien will assist and maintain a minority interest in the new company. Zien and Bjergsø will be collaborating on a number of new brews. You can also expect the new brewery to become a collaboration destination for iconic brewers across the globe. Look for the tasting room to get a full makeover, patterned after Mikkeller’s beer bars. Opening of the revamped tasting room is targeted for early 2016.