This post is a little different because it is the start of a series within the series. The first homebrewer I photographed, Bradley Daniels told me about a couple that was reopening the Anaheim Brewery. At that point they had a location, but no equipment. I got in touch with the Barbara and Greg Gerovac and they told me to come out and photograph the delivery of their tanks. We will be following the Gerovac’s and the Anaheim Brewery’s journey as they reopen a historic brewery.
Photography by Brian Evans
Written by Jessica Cartie
Whoever said the Eighteenth Amendment to the United State Constitution, better known as Prohibition, was a good idea, had clearly never tasted the goodness that is craft beer. For nearly 14 years – from January 1920 until December 1933 – the production, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages were made illegal. Because of this so-called “noble experiment,” the famous Anaheim Brewery was forced to drain its taps and close its doors in 1920.
Nearly 120 years later, the Anaheim Brewery is making its comeback. Long-time brewers Greg and Barbara Gerovac set out to re-establish the brewery and have been working with Anaheim’s Redevelopment Agency to preserve the Packard Building within the Historic District.
“We’re bringing back the brand,” said Greg referring to the famous Anaheim Beer.
Impeccable timing to do so as craft beer becomes increasingly popular. According to CraftBeer.com, while U.S. beer sales were down in the first half of 2010, the craft brewing industry was up. Perhaps American tastes are changing. Nielsen Company research confirms beer drinkers are shifting to more robust beer styles. Plus, Information Resources show seasonal beers as being one of the top-selling craft beer categories. The craft beer scene is on the rise, and the Anaheim Brewery is ready to join it.
When the doors are finally re-opened, locals and visitors alike will be able to enjoy a pint or two in the 700-square-foot tasting room and beer garden. Within the tasting room, patrons will be able watch their beer being brewed while they sit at the antique wooden bar, previously from the “legendary” Covered Wagon saloon in downtown Anaheim, popular in the 1970s and closed in 2002.
“We want to celebrate the rich history of Anaheim,” said Greg. Barbara added, “It’s modern, but it has a sense of history and the beer is good.”
With that, the couple has decided the first brew will be Anaheim 1888, a California Common beer. California Commons, originally known as steam beer, came to be during the California gold rush in the late 1800s. Anaheim 1888, copper-colored and full-bodied, is the brewery’s flagship beer.
The Anaheim Brewery will also be featuring Anaheim Gold, a light-bodied golden ale; Anaheim Red, an Irish-style, full-bodied pale ale; and Anaheim Hefeweizen, a traditional German-style wheat beer. Each is between 4.5 to 6% ABV, which means they should pass the “Three Beer Test.” According to Greg and Barbara, they have adopted from a friend the three beer test, which says an individual should be able to enjoy three beers and still be able to safely make it home. Sounds good, right?
After the grand opening in late May, the tasting room will open its doors Friday, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Take home a six-pack, growler or keg to enjoy Anaheim Beer from home. Plus, Anaheim Beer will also be available in local restaurants, hotels and bars.
Before any tasting happens, however, Greg and Barbara have a few more things to get done. The next three steps are dry wall (which should be done by now), painting and sealing the floors. Once all the construction is complete, brewing begins in late April where the 20-barrel brewhouse featuring three old-world style copper kettles and modern stainless steel tanks will be put to the test.
With everything is falling into place, Greg and Barbara reminisced over the time prior to securing a location for the brewery. They would drive by interesting looking buildings and say “Wouldn’t that be a cool brewery.” Four years into the process, the Anaheim Brewery is months away from opening its doors. Not only will the Anaheim Brewery bring richness to the city, but soon the same company that developed The LAB in Costa Mesa will build up shops and restaurants to conjoin with the brewery centered by a beautiful terrace.
“This kind of project is going to change everything,” said Greg. “It will make downtown Anaheim more vibrant and alive.”
Barbara gave it an interesting comparison, “It’s like fresh bread from a bakery… it’s so good because it’s so fresh!”
We would have to agree… and we can’t wait to try the first pint!
Until then, the Gerovacs continue to work on preparations and look forward to opening the Anaheim Brewery doors very soon. To connect with the Anaheim Brewery visit www.anaheimbrewery.com, follow their blog at www.anaheimbrewery.wordpress.com, or find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/anaheimbrewery
Brian and I will continue to follow them as the grand opening approaches… so stay tuned here as well!
Barbara Gerovac looking on as the first tank is moved off the truck.
Greg Gerovac waiting to stand up the first tank.
Tank number 1 in and upright.
Tank number 2 going in.
16 tanks to go.
The first time I visited Anaheim Brewery was February 7, 2011. Jess and I went back a week or so ago to photograph their progess and talk to the Genovacs about the brewery. The brewery is coming along great and is going to be incredible when it is finished. Here are a few photos of the progress. All tanks in.