The inaugural SLO Beer Week kicks off on October 16 in sunny, scenic San Luis Obispo. In honor of the upcoming festivities, we sat down with Brendan Gough, Central Coast Brewing’s Head Brewer, to chat about San Luis Obispo’s craft beer scene and how he got started in SLO.
We’ve got exciting news for you… Central Coast Brewing is expanding! This popular spot is building a new production brewery with a restaurant and tasting room at 6 Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo, planning to open in Spring 2017.
Check out what Brendan had to say below and don’t forget to visit San Luis Obispo for SLO Beer Week, happening October 16 – 22, 2016.
Meet Brendan Gough, Head Brewer at Central Coast Brewing
I started homebrewing in my garage while studying business at Cal Poly. I quickly became enamored with the process. Before I knew it, I was spending all my free time homebrewing. Eventually, I started winning medals at local homebrew competitions and decided to take the leap into professional brewing in 2009.
After starting at Central Coast Brewing as Assistant Brewer, I left the nest and spent two and a half years brewing at Firestone Walker Brewing Company. Today, I’m back home at Central Coast Brewing and loving every minute of what I do.
What do you love about being a brewer in San Luis Obispo?
Everything! The community, the collaborations, the festivals, the weather, the scenery.
What makes San Luis Obispo a unique destination for craft beer?
San Luis Obispo is unique because it is not saturated yet. Even though there are more breweries here now then there ever have been, the industry still has a lot of room to grow locally. When you go to places like San Diego and the Bay Area, there are seemingly breweries on every corner.
In San Luis Obispo County, other than Firestone Walker, local breweries are relatively unknown statewide. Our recent success at Central Coast Brewing in both national and international competitions has helped to get the word out, but this area is still flying under the radar. We are working hard and trying to make the best beer we can to help put the Central Coast on the map.
What makes Central Coast Brewing unique compared to other craft breweries?
I think what sets us apart is our variety! We typically have 12-15 different beers on tap in the tasting room. We certainly take a lot of pride in our hoppy ales, but we usually have four or five different German style lagers on tap as well. We also brew wheat beers, stouts and every other style you could imagine. At Central Coast Brewing, we enjoy experimenting with different ingredients like ginger, coffee, coconut and various fresh fruit purees.
What is Central Coast Brewing’s most popular beer? How about your favorite brew?
Our most popular beers are Monterey Street Pale Ale and Lucky Day IPA. Both of these beers also share a special place in my heart. Monterey Street is an adaptation of my old homebrew recipe and recently won a Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival while Lucky Day was my first commercial recipe back when I was Assistant Brewer at Central Coast Brewing and just won a Gold Medal at the World Beer Cup.
How do you decide on new beers to brew next?
It usually comes pretty organically either from inspiration while tasting different beers or just conceptually on a flavor pairing level. I’m constantly dreaming up new ingredients to brew with that can play off the flavors that you already get from the malt, hops and yeast.
What is your favorite style of beer to brew and why?
My favorite style to brew is Pilsner. The finesse and precision required to brew a good Pilsner is second to none.
Describe the most unusual beer that you’ve ever brewed before.
I wouldn’t necessarily consider it unusual, but I really enjoy the A La Tart series we brew. The base beer is a Berliner Weiss, which is a sour wheat beer, which takes two days to brew and is soured in the kettle using Lactobacillus and then, fermented with ale yeast. Then, we pick a fruit to add some depth and complexity. So far, Central Coast Brewing has used raspberries, kiwis and mangos.
What are you most excited about for SLO Beer Week 2016?
I am definitely excited for the Central Coast Brewing Oktoberfest, which is the end-cap event for SLO Beer Week. I’m also excited to see the new SLO Brew facility and pour the Wild Peach IPA collaboration we brewed with Tap It Brewing Co.
When you’re not brewing up a storm, where can we find you in San Luis Obispo?
When I’m not brewing, you can probably find me chauffeuring my kids between baseball and soccer practices.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that not many people know.
I enjoy candle-lit dinners and long walks on the beach.
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