For the owners of most craft breweries, making beer slowly evolved from a simple hobby into a profession. What starts out as kitchen experiments turns into a way to entertain friends, which turns into quitting your job and running your brewery business full time. Take the Pacific Brewing Laboratory in San Francisco, for example. Relatively new to the craft beer scene, Pac Brew Lab is a perfect example of this progression. They recently had me over to their lab on South Van Ness to talk about their business over a few beers.
The founders, Patrick Horn and Bryan Hermannsson, were previously avid homebrewers before taking their craft to the next level. Their brewery’s name, Pacific Brewing Laboratory, was inspired by Steinbeck’s The Sea of Cortez and the creative and scientific community that flourished in Monterey during the 30’s, 40’s, and 50's who believed that beer is “the nexus of art and science.” They started in a garage, experimenting with new beer flavors, styles, and brewing techniques. What started out as a place to share new creations with friends grew into a bi-monthly, totally free event with hundreds of their “new” friends and great local street food vendors. Once they saw the response they decided to give it a go as a business.
As anyone who has visited California knows, there are a ton of great craft breweries. “We have been really lucky to be surrounded by some of the best breweries in the nation right here in the SF Bay Area,” Patrick said. “They have all been really supportive and we look up to them all.” How do they stand out amongst the competition? “We are committed to always pushing the envelope of styles, flavors and appearances of beer. You will never just see an IPA from us.”
For evidence to support that statement, try out their Nautilus Hibiscus Saison or their Squid Ink India Black Ale. Coming soon, you’ll see them launching a new hoppy red ale that uses kelp and rose hips in the brewing process. They are also experimenting with a double Rye IPA that is brewed with Maple Syrup for the winter, but I’d be willing to try during any season.
Keep your eye out for that iconic pink squid, as we’re expecting Pacific Brewing Laboratory to make a splash in the Bay Area over the next couple years. Cheers, Patrick and Bryan. We look forward to paying you a visit again!