Just a couple of weeks prior to Barley Forge Brewing’s Grand Opening in 2014, (l-r) Mary Ann Frericks, Greg Nylen and David Chapman. photo credit: David Mulvihill

Barley Forge–To Be Remembered

News came via an eloquent September 26 Facebook post, of husband and wife owners Greg Nylen and Mary Ann Frericks decision to close Barley Forge Brewing Company: 

“It is with heavy hearts and mixed emotions we have decided not to renew our lease…, and close Barley Forge. 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. 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 in a neighborhood that has rapidly shifted from its industrial roots to a retail environment. It has taken no small measure of radical, albeit heart-rending, acceptance to reach this conclusion.

Greg and I never wanted a beige life and we certainly have not had one, indeed it has been a wild and fantastic ride since Barley Forge opened October 25, 2014. We are incredibly proud of our many awards and achievements, our dedicated staff, the relationships we forged both in the industry and the community and the many wonderful people we have had the privilege to serve. That so many believed in us will forever be a source of sustainment and we have nothing but gratitude for your patronage…”

The message went on to thank and invite patrons to come by during their remaining time open have a pint, partake in some food or to just say goodbye. The following post came 30 days later, emphasizing that closing was imminent:

“…The reality remains that Greg and I will not be continuing as owners. Nor will we personally be relocating Barley Forge as we have neither the resources nor the wherewithal to undertake the expense and time that would require. That said, it has been our hope to see the heavy lifting we completed and good work Barley Forge started serve as a continuum to be carried forward. To that end, we are currently working as expediently and diligently as the process allows towards completing a transfer of ownership with a projected sale date of December 4, 2019. 

…we want to take this opportunity to thank our incredible and dedicated staff, some of whom have worked with us from day one or for the better part of five years and many of whom feel like a second (albeit lovingly dysfunctional) family to me personally. Absolutely none of this would have been possible without our team and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts and wish them much, much success in their future endeavors.”

Via liquidation proceedings that followed, another prominent OC brewery worked to determine if it was feasible to “carry forward” what Barley Forge had put in place. News of that outcome came with a 12/11/2019 post from Barley Forge:

“Heartfelt congratulations to Green Cheek Beer Co., the successful winners at today’s sale of Barley Forge Brewing Co. We take pride and solace in knowing we are leaving things in very capable hands and independent craft beer will long flow from our fermenters.

I heard it said recently that nothing great ever comes from being warm and cozy. Amen and we’ll drink to that. This was a life we never could have imagined. It was five years filled with moments we will cherish for a lifetime…”

The brewery’s final farewell came on December 18th. This time, instead of Facebook post, the Barley Forge Tasting Room board proclaimed:

“Thank you for five great years, October 25, 2014 to December 18, 2019 #86BARLEYFORGE.”

Barley Forge will live long in our memories, not only for its memorable and award-winning beers, but for striving for the best customer experience at every level, from its well-appointed tasting room and world-class dishes coming out of its kitchen to the entertainment and community provided. In 2018 Barley Forge received a GABF gold medal for Grandpa Tractor, its Dortmunder Export-style lager and received a World Beer Cup silver medal for The Patsy, its coveted coconut rye stout. 

Thank you Mary Ann, Greg and the entire Barley Forge crew for your hard work and all you provided. You will be missed.

More to follow regarding Green Cheek Beer Co’s new Costa Mesa presence. In a message exchange with co-founder Brian Rauso, he expressed his sadness with the exit of Barley Forge. With Green Cheek’s acquisition complete, he is also excited to bring Green Cheek to Costa Mesa. Having taken possession on December 19th, he was hopeful that Green Cheek Costa Mesa would be open by the end of the year. Green Cheek will be maintaining its current location in Orange as well.

Green Cheek Beer Co

2294 N Batavia St Unit C, Orange, CA 92865

2957 Randolph Ave Unit B, Costa Mesa, CA 92626