Mare Island Brewing Co

More Than Just Beer

It was a packed house at the taproom a couple weeks ago. Harold Bray, one of the last remaining survivors of the USS Indianapolis, was recounting his first hand account of floating in the Pacific at the end of World War II. His boat had been sunk by two torpedoes just days after delivering the parts for the atomic bomb, and 800 of his 1100 fellow shipmates were perishing in the water. The survivors were dealing with grave injuries, dehydration, and sharks, and their only hope was that a plane would somehow spot them.

Harold paused for a moment in his presentation right then. The crowd was enthralled. Ryan leaned over to me and whispered, “it sure is great to make more than just beer…”

Of course Harold was rescued, or we wouldn’t have been there to hear his tale. In fact, he was rescued by a pilot named Wilbur, and Wilbur’s wife and daughter were also on hand for the event. It was a special evening and an incredible way to launch our “Speaker Series” (more speakers to come).

But Also Beer...


But while it is incredibly gratifying to make more than just beer ... there was certainly beer on hand for that evening. We’ve perfected (and bottled) our Survivor's Tale Pale Ale, named in honor of the survivors of the USS Indianapolis. Ryan actually flew out to the USS Indianapolis survivors’ reunion (in Indianapolis) to present the brew to the world for the first time. But Ryan, and the beer, are now back at their rightful home in our taproom, with bottles and pints of the Pale Ale now available for customers.

Additionally, we have had Angles and Dangles American Blonde Ale on tap for the summer. And of course our original Saginaw Golden Ale is always a top seller. As the days grow shorter, our Shipwright’s Porter and Coal Shed Stout are ready to warm you up. Finally, we’re particularly proud of the current edition of the Farragut's Farmouse Ale … a specialty ale for all seasons.

Also in our taproom is some new swag (come check out the hats). And what you should really come taste are the new food specials. Chef Scotti started with us just a few weeks ago, and she’s been churning out new dishes, often harvested locally or from Mare Island itself (figs, lemons, Vallejo farmer’s market…). The response has been tremendous, and we are looking to do a complete menu overhaul in early winter.

It Really Was A Shed for Coal


Speaking of winter, Ryan and I have a project on our hands. We are so close to getting the go-ahead, finally, on the build out of our brewery at Mare Island Coal Shed 151. We have been working on this since day one, but the earthquake put a sudden, uncertain future on it. Our landlord, Lennar Mare Island, has been diligently attacking the seismic, roofing, historic, entitlement, and restoration feasibility and costs, and we have only a few remaining unknowns that should be resolved in the next month or so (fingers crossed). Then it’s into construction on the building and the brewhouse we go.

One incredible reminder of the rich history of Mare Island: while they were digging the exploratory pits at the Coal Shed (to determine soil compaction and pier composition), they came across a giant block of, well, coal … a remnant of the turn of the century when coal fueled the steam ships of the American Navy. 


Taproom Regular Hours:
Thurs and Friday, 4pm-10pm;
 Saturday 11:30am-10pm; Sunday 11:30am-9pm

Oct 3 and 4:
Vallejo Waterfront Weekend

Oct 31:
Halloween party (music, costume contest)

Nov 15 1pm-4pm:
Yardbird GO99 Pick Up Party

Thanksgiving Day:
Closed (but open as usual Friday-Sunday).


Yardbirds ... GO99 time.


You’ll see the “Yardbird GO99 Pick up party" on the calendar above. Of course, you have to be a Yardbird (our beer club) to come to this event (or know a Yardbird who will bring you along). We’re looking to build on the success of the party last spring, with live music and entertainment, as well as special offerings from Chef Scotti.

The star of the Yardbird show is General Order No. 99, our flagship barrel-aged porter. Ryan, Cody and I just blended and bottled the fall 2015 edition. It makes for a lot of barrel work and long bottling days (and yes, also some fun blending sessions). But the beer is in bottle with corks and cages secured; the Fall 2015 GO99 is aging quietly in our bomb shelter on the island. It will be liberated November 15, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

f you are already a Yardbird, you’ll receive a notice about your upcoming shipment and the party invite within a couple weeks. If you would like to know more about becoming a Yardbird, click here. In addition to regular GO99 shipments, Yardbirds get first and discounted tickets to our events.


Damn (?) the Torpedoes!


Yardbirds also get recruited for the likes of our rowing team, and we want to end this newsletter with an enthusiastic invite to have you come down this Saturday or Sunday to the Vallejo Waterfront Weekend and cheer on “The Torpedoes.”

As one of our main three philanthropic causes, the Mare Island Brewing Co. proudly supports the Vallejo Waterfront Weekend, which is a whole set of awesome events on the waterfront, put on by (and to raise money for) Vallejo non-profits. At the center of all this activity is the whaleboat regatta, which has a proud, rich history and has been resurrected in recent years by SOMIRA (Straights of Mare Island Rowing Club).

We have entered our whaleboat team of eager Yardbirds: “The Torpedoes." We’ve been practicing/rowing weekly in preparation for our races which launch just outside the taproom mid-day this Saturday and mid-morning Sunday. Our arms may be more used to raising pints than pulling oars (we’ve been called a drinking team with a rowing problem), but we row with heart for the cause. Come watch us splash some water and enjoy everything the Waterfront Weekend has to offer.

Thanks for all the support. We just passed one year of the taproom being open, and Ryan and I are amazed at the ongoing encouragement, both local and beyond, of our beers, our taproom, and our quest to do justice to the heritage and future of the mighty Mare Island.

Damn the Torpedoes,

Kent and Ryan


Mare Island Brewing Co.
289 Mare Island Way, Vallejo, CA 94590
tel: 707-556-3000

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