For nearly five years, Brouwerij West has had to rely on the kindness of strangers to get its beers to market. Brouwerij West was a gypsy brewer–a brewery using other brew houses to craft their own offerings. It’s the brewing equivalent of living out of a youth hostel for five years. You’re always up in someone else’s space and you never quite feel at home.
But Brouwerij West is officially leaving its vagabond lifestyle behind. Owner and head brewer Brian Mercer recently broke ground on a 120,000-square-foot space in San Pedro where he can brew on his own schedule and on his own equipment (roughly the equivalent of finally getting your own apartment and walking around in your underwear whenever you want).
“I’m so excited to finally have my own place,” Mercer says of the giant, WWII-era warehouse at the Port of Los Angeles. Half the process of brewing as a gypsy brewer is logistics, he says. Figuring out when you can squeeze in and get your beers brewed. Now he’ll have a ton of time to craft new offerings. “I can finally experiment with small batches and produce one-off beers.”
This means new beers in addition to the exceptionally delicious old favorites. Mor Mor is one of the best quads out there, and the hard-to-find Dog Ate My Homework blackberry saison has a cult following any brewery would covet.
The Brouwerij West facility will be one of the greenest craft brewers in the state, according to Mercer. He’s bringing in a brewing system that uses 30 percent less water than traditional systems–something that a drought-conscious California will appreciate. And the brewery will be powered entirely by solar panels, producing enough energy to support an entire city block.
But Mercer will not forget his homies in the gypsy brewing world. He plans to set aside a corner of his space for those without a permanent base. And perhaps one day, they’ll find a warehouse of their own to call home.
Brouwerij West is expected to open in time for the Fourth of July.