Costa Mesa, CA will finally has their very own brewery. FINALLY. Located in a small business/industrial park behind the behemoth known as The Camp, Barley Forge is a mecca to the weary hipster in need of calm head space and a delicious cold brew. Vintage inspired tones of sea green, industrial orange and light cornflower blue adorn the brewery, furnishing intense feelings of relaxation and comfort while being easy on the eyes. I don’t know if you guys geek-out over how pretty a new brewery is, but I sure do.
Some of the coolest things about Barley was the small details like the seating by the front roll-up door. I pointed-out to Greg Nylen, President and Co-Founder, how much I loved the golden wood seating row and he replied, “Those seats are from my bowling alley that I would frequent when I was younger.” We both stared at them for a bit and I turned to him and again said, “I just can’t get over it. I love them so much. I also love the frames are fill with your beer artwork.” Indeed the design is great. The beer label artwork is interesting and unique, and they proudly display them in frames strategically around the brewery.
I had already met Greg and his wife Mary Ann, Vice President and Co-Founder, at events and industry parties so I had a slight preview of what to expect but I didn’t expect to be so impressed. Their beers were really good for being so new, and perhaps that has something to do with their head brewer, Kevin Buckley, who has experience from the illustrious Alpine and Latitude 33 breweries. Not very often to you see a lager on draft right when a brewery opens, let alone a fantastic one. This Dortmunder-style export lager, named Grandpa Tractor, is clean with hoppy flavor without being overly hoppy and is downright refreshing. I also really enjoyed the El Paisano, an Amber Ale brewed hoppy with west coast hops and agave.
This is the first brewery in the area that is a brewery first, that just so happens to serve food made in-house. I know that there are several brewpubs in OC but most (if not all) are restaurants that also serve house-made beer, not the other way around. Don’t get me wrong, I am not downplaying the awesomeness that is the brewpub, but this really is a brewery…that has a small kitchen and thoughtful menu and doesn’t have to rely on food trucks to feed their customers. It’s truly a bold undertaking and I applaud the owners for their resourcefulness. I really enjoyed their cheese plate that included a lavender and espresso cheese with Mattern sausages and meats. Their sliders were also very tasty, I particularly liked the lamb and tzatziki sauce slider.
They are open now, but their Grand Opening is scheduled for November 15th, 2014. Visit them and give them some love!
2957 RANDOLPH AVENUE, UNIT B, COSTA MESA, CA 92626 • (714) 641-2084.
Facebook page here.
The Tasting Room is open seven days a week:
Monday through Wednesday 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Thursday 5:00 pm to midnight
Friday 5:00 pm to 1:00 am
Saturday 11:30 am to 1:00 am
Sunday 11:30 am to 10:00 pm