Topa Topa Brewing Co.
104 E. Thompson Blvd.
With the opening of Topa Topa Brewing Co. in downtown Ventura, it’s safe to say that no matter where you are in the county, a brewery is right around the corner, and soon, it’ll ring even truer.
Topa Topa opened its doors to the world on June 6 in a long-empty spot on the quiet side of the west end, backed up against the 101. As the brewery barreled into its second weekend, owner Jack Dyer and head brewer Casey Harris took the time to attend the Surf ’n’ Suds Beer Fest at the Ventura Harbor, serving two of its four standards, the Chief Peak IPA and the Flatlands saison.
Back at the HQ, the Gadabout oatmeal stout, a chocolaty, toasty brew with a surprisingly easy finish, and the Weekender, a 4.7 percent ABV session IPA hopped with a cacophony of mosaic, citra, lemon drop, pacifica and cascade hops round out the lineup. The Weekender has quickly become a local favorite and will make a great go-to summer choice, while the Gadabout’s cousin infused with Ventura Avenue roasted Centri coffee is a nice limited release.
Surf ’n’ Suds, in its first year at the Ventura Harbor, surpassed expectations. Surf Brewing Co., Moorpark’s Enegren Brewing Co. and Figueroa Mountain represented in spades, while some of the not-often-seen big guys, such as Delaware’s Dogfish Head, which served up its seasonal Festina Peche Berliner Weisse, elevated the experience.
Though the enclosure was small — and making a full round was a five-minute walk — there never came a time that we found ourselves lacking in interesting choices. King Harbor’s Abel Brown ale, brewed with a medium-roast cold-brew coffee, had already won my heart in its 22-ounce bomber; a few pours of it began and ended my day.
It was nice to see the support Topa Topa received, from locals who had already dropped in to the out-of-towners who’ll undoubtedly spread the word. Here’s looking ahead to the years to come: more from Topa Topa, a second round of Surf ’n’ Suds … and another brewery downtown?
A sign posted in the window of the former Blü Orkid location at Santa Clara and Oak streets names Ventura Coast Brewing Co. as its new tenant, once the permitting process is completed. Owner Kyle Thille, who graduated from UC Davis with a degree in computer science and brewing, says that he hopes to have the production-only brewery open by early 2016 with a focus on West Coast interpretations of English styles, such as IPAs and the like, but adds that he would “love to go funky” with sours and Belgians, too.
The following year will be an interesting one for the local craft beer scene, in any case. Stay tuned.
Chris O’Neal sailed out to sea in no particular direction following his final pour. Follow him on Instagram @agentoneal.