Surfacing for Beer
Brian "Olly" Oliver remembers his first Mr. Beer kit. He got it in 2004, a few years before he deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Navy.
"I got hooked and built a homebrew system [in 2005] in the garage before I went," Oliver says. "While I was there, I started ordering all the fermenters and heat exchangers and had them sent to my in-laws."
When he got home, he was already planning to move well beyond home brewing kits where all one need do, really, is add water.
The Navy senior chief, a member of the underwater construction teams with the Seabees at Port Hueneme, built his ardent hobby into Poseidon Brewing Company in Ventura, which opened late summer.
The name of the brewery and the logo – with Poseidon, king of the seas, and a dive helmet with mermaids – are a nod to Oliver's watery career and "passion, fascination and love for the deep blue sea."
Along with wife and business partner Vinita Anand and the couple's brew master Reno King, a former brewer with Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company in Santa Barbara, Oliver says he is following a passion.
"I love IPAs [India Pale Ales] and big beers like barleywine and such. I love all different types of beers," he says. Poseidon opened with six on tap and will eventually have 10 to 12.
Oliver and Anand source local ingredients when they can, like Santa Paula's Mud Creek citrus for their Belgian-style wheat beer and grapefruit IPA. At the brewery's tasting room, customers also can choose an amber ale, rye pale ale, stout and double IPA. (The stout is also served on a nitro-tap.)
"We have three seven-barrel fermentation tanks and six seven-barrel bright beer serving tanks that we'll switch out beers from tap to tap as we go. We'll take one of the beers on tap and do a cask ale each time as well so people can see what you can do with that, like add hops or something like peppers to one of the beers on tap," he says.
Time to dive in.