4561 Market St.
Suite A, Ventura
Before the craft beer boom that has swept Ventura County over the past few years, Surf Brewery was handling business. The first production-only brewery in Ventura opened in 2011 and is now in the throes of celebrating its fourth anniversary with several one-off special releases.
While anniversary week kicked off this past Tuesday and will continue through Sunday, June 28, Surf has been releasing new brews every Friday since the beginning of the month, including an imperial wheat IPA served on nitro and dry hopped with Galaxy hops; an American oatmeal stout that’ll end up in bourbon barrels, too; the Surfer’s Point lager-pilsner, released on the 19th; culminating with the latest in Surf’s award-winning Scientific Series, a barrel-aged porter.
“Head Dude” and co-founder Bill Riegler and his crew have been busy over the past four years, expanding into a facility in Moorpark to launch a barrel-aging and sour program while simultaneously expanding the original lineup to include a few more offerings. The Scientific Series has seen Surf trying its hands at a Flanders’ Red ale, a tart Belgian brew, and the aforementioned barrel-aged porter, with more to come.
“More people are talking about beer now than they were four years ago,” said Riegler, noting that in 2011 it was Surf and downtown Ventura’s Anacapa Brewing Co. alone in the county, with few beer bars in between. “Now I’m losing track, there are so many breweries.”
Riegler says that though many of his regulars haven’t been as quick to pounce on the sour program, the interest in the craft beer community has given rise to beer aficionados who seek them out. With more breweries opening up, the saturation gives Surf the ability to try new things.
“You can either be a ginormous guy or a boutiquey guy,” said Riegler. “Certainly with more and more breweries coming out you have to choose, and boutiquey fits more in-line with barrel-aging.”
Here’s to another year and more from Surf Brewery, and yes, keep the sours coming, please.
Chris O’Neal is a surfing pro. Follow him on Instagram @agentoneal.