www.ediblemontereybay.com 39 At the brewery, head brewer Tommy Mills—who just returned from a 2-year stint at NOLA Brewing Co. in New Orleans—was experimenting with a batch of horchata pale ale the day we were there. “Because the tanks aren’t huge and we have a lot of them, we can keep being creative with what we do,” says omas. “We have our six flagships, but one of the ways we keep ourselves inspired is to let people brew what they want.” omas also hosts one of the wackiest and most creative beer fests around, the Twisted Tasting. Held every winter during San Francisco Beer Week, it was inspired by a visit to the Great American Beer Festival where omas sampled a pig’s head porter made by a Michigan brewery called Right Brain. Twisted Tasting includes all of the local craft breweries and offers brewers a chance to dress up in fanciful costumes and be as weird and wild as they want. Last time one of her personal favorites was a currylaced ai Coconut Stout from Brewery Twenty Five in Hollister. And the first year, SCMB created a version of the pig’s head porter using pig’s ears smoked by el Salchichero butcher Chris LaVeque. “ey imparted a smoky richness,” she recalls. “It was pretty good.” omas also organizes the popular SausageFest every fall on the first weekend that UCSC students are back in town. Some 2,000 people descend on a Westside field to sample sausages and drink craft beer. “It’s one of those days when we get to have fun and make fun of ourselves. We have all the other breweries there, so it’s a great way to introduce those students to what’s happening in town,” she says. is year SCMB is partnering with the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County on the event, and it is also releasing a special beer for the Land Trust in September called Rail Trail Ale. Profits from the beer—which will be available in stores and at the brewery—will help finance a 32- mile paved bike trail from Davenport to Watsonville. Being among the first women in the country to brew beer and own a craft brewery has not always been easy, she admits, and that’s one reason omas started offering special educational events such as the annual Strong Women Brew Strong Beer, a homebrew class for women. “Eleven years ago when we started, beer was a guy’s drink and women drank wine,” she says. “We could see that was changing and just wanted to give it a little push.” Nowadays she sees a huge movement of young women who want to be part of the beer culture. In just the past decade the number of women brewers at the national Craft Brewers Conference has grown from 12 the first time omas attended to more than 600 the last time she went. “ere are definitely some challenges, but little by little we are having our voices heard,” she says. As for the future, omas hopes to spend at least a month this summer in the Pacific Northwest, visiting breweries and doing some collaboration beers. She is eyeing properties in historic downtown San Juan Bautista and feels “a very strong desire to do business there.” So for this producer the show’s not over yet. Pay close attention to find out what happens in the next act. RECIPE: See p. 41 for omas’ Smoked Black Cod Panuchos.
edible Monterey Bay Summer 2016
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