Mare Island Brewing Co

The Trophy!

While writing this, we’re still bathing in the glory of “The Torpedoes” (our whaleboat rowing team) having brought home the championship trophy at the Vallejo Whaleboat regatta. Our team of eight has been training weekly for the last month with the Straits of Mare Island Rowing Association (and every row was—of course—followed by a “hydration session”). We even took advantage of our access to the whaleboats one afternoon to load up the first keg of Coal Shed Stout (made at the actual Coal Shed Brewery) and row it from the Coal Shed over to the Ferry Taproom, arriving to the cheers of thirsty Taproom customers. Training has never been so fun.

Yet, after all that time in the boat, on the day of the Whaleboat Regatta race, we lost our first heat to our perennial nemesis, the Sardine Can. It was a soul-crushing blow. But after a re-group, some pints of Monomoy Märzen, and with a little shift in tide, we came back strong to win the hospitality division, and then rowed to overall victory the following day. Come check out the trophies on our back bar.

Ferry Taproom Growing 


We have so much to update you on with this newsletter. Let’s start with the Ferry Taproom expansion(s). For starters, we are now open daily 11:30-10:00. Lunches, particularly the lunch specials, are a hit. And with that, we’ve realized it is finally time to give Scotti the kitchen she deserves (to date, she’s been cranking out her stellar food from a kitchen that is under 150 square feet!). About a year ago, the city asked us if we would want to lease the space adjacent to ours, and we jumped on the opportunity; they finally gave us the keys in September, and this winter we’ll be building out a whole new kitchen to move Scotti into.

We also got offered—and leased—the section of the lobby directly outside our giant sliding barn doors. We’re working on plans now for how we’re going to expand the bar and dining room into that space. And finally, we’re working on some Plexiglas windscreens, some heaters, and sun shades to complete and open the upstairs deck; while we’ve always had access to this space, the limited kitchen made it impractical to open it up. Look for all those changes to happen by next summer (French fries are coming!).

The Coal Shed Brewery


Meanwhile, we are now brewing away at our new Coal Shed Brewery! For those that have followed this saga, you know that the restoration of the historic Coal Shed 151 has been a very long road. And the reality is that we’re still finishing up the parking lot. But the brewhouse is operational and for the past four months we’ve been cranking out the beer. The quality and flexibility afforded to us by the Coal Shed has opened up a whole new frontier in brewing for Ryan and crew. 

While we do have plans for a full-blown taproom at the Coal Shed at some point in the 3-6 year future, our initial hospitality will be only through private tours and special events. We are super excited to welcome visitors to our first shindig at the Coal Shed with the upcoming Yardbird Release party Nov 18th. But to come, well, you’ve got to be a Yardbird…

Become a Yardbird

We have taken our already-popular Yardbird Beer Club and enhanced it! With all these new brews that we can craft at the Coal Shed, we want to share new recipes, and share them first with our Yardbirds. We have now revised the Yardbird shipments to be 12 bottles, mostly 22oz’ers, twice per year, at $125/shipment. “The General Order No. 99” Barrel Aged Porter is still the cornerstone of the fall shipment, but we’ll be featuring our new brew—“Murphy the Pig” Fresh Saison—in the spring. Rounding out the shipments will be specialty and seasonal brews like “Momonoy” Märzen, “Nuclear Sandwich” Double IPA, “Ivy Bells” Pilsner, and other recipes that Ryan is currently dreaming up and testing.

Of course we have our (in)famous Yardbird Pick-Up Parties, and the next one is scheduled for Nov 18th, and will also be the first time we open up the Coal Shed to visitors. We’d love to have you join us as a Yardbird and come to the event. We’re hard at work on the food, the band, and—as always—a Yardbird Game.

Additionally, we’ve scheduled a whole host of events throughout the year, many of which are Yardbird only, or Yardbirds get first access.

Upcoming Events!

Thursday, Oct 12 6PM-8PM
Paul Jones Rye IPA release with Oakland United Beer Works at the Ferry Taproom.

Friday, Oct 13 5PM-10PM
Mare Island Brewing Co. Oktoberfest at the Ferry Taproom.

Saturday, Oct 14 12PM-4PM
Punk’d in Drublic at Concord Pavilion – Come find us there and say hello!
Saturday, Oct 
28 9PM-12PM
Halloween Costume Contest and Party at the Ferry Taproom.

Wednesday, Nov 11 11:30AM-1PM (Doors open for Yardbirds at 11AM!)
Brendan Riley Book signing “Lower Georgia Street” at the Ferry Taproom.

Saturday, Nov 18 1PM-4PM
Yardbird Event: Fall 2017 Yardbird Pick-Up Party at the Coal Shed Brewery.

Friday, Jan 19 2018
Yardbird Event: “The Winter Feast”: A Brewer Dinner at a king’s table right down the middle of the Coal Shed Brewery.

March 2018
Yardbird Event: "Yardbird Brewer's Boot Camp": Four sessions throughout March. Come learn how to brew and be a part of crafting a one-of-a-kind batch.

Saturday, May 12 2018 1PM-4PM
Yardbird Event: 2018 Spring Yardbird Pick-Up Party at the Coal Shed Brewery.

June (TBD) 2018
Yardbird Event: Yardbirds ferry over and take over the bleachers at AT&T Park for a Giants game.

August (TBD) 2018
Yardbird Event: Brew Cruise: A narrated historic boat cruise around Mare Island.

Saturday, November 17 2018 1PM-4PM
Yardbird Event: 2018 Fall Yardbird Pick-Up Party at the Coal Shed Brewery.

New Brews 



We mentioned the “Monomoy” Märzen above, which is both a tribute to the “Monomoy” whaleboats of the Whaleboat Regatta, but also a German-style recipe that we’re releasing just in time for our Oktoberfest later this week on Friday.

Additionally, we’ve worked over the last month on a collaboration brew with Oakland United Beerworks  (Ryan worked with their brewer Shane Aldrich to come up with a recipe, and they brewed it together on our brewhouse at the Coal Shed). We will be releasing the “Paul Jones” Rye IPA at the taproom later this week as well. For a little context, the “Paul Jones” was a torpedo boat assigned the honor of whisking visiting President Theodore Roosevelt from Oakland to Mare Island. Teddy, being a competitive soul, wanted to set the speed record between the two points, and indeed the “Paul Jones” achieved a record that still stands today. But the rest of the story is that, after the journey, the Navy had to quietly pay off all the docks and boats between Oakland and Mare Island, for they had been swamped in the resulting wave. That, and the trip burned out all four stacks of the “Paul Jones”. A fitting story of a collaboration between Oakland and Mare Island if ever we’ve heard one. Come on down and try it out this Thursday at the taproom starting at 6pm.



Returning to the Whaleboat Regatta for a moment, our excitement is about so much more than just winning a rowing race. A historic tradition, dating back over a hundred years, from when the ships docked at Mare Island and would—every fall—lower their lifeboats/whaleboats and the sailors would race before thousands of spectators on the waterfront, the Vallejo Waterfront Weekend and Whaleboat regatta has been resurrected and is now in year three. We’ve watched the attendance double every year. The momentum of the weekend, which mirrors the momentum in V-town overall, is palpable. 

And our company’s experience with the Whaleboat Regatta is telling. In 2015, our first year of competing, we fielded a team of me (Kent), one other employee, and six loyal and avid customers; the reality was that back then we simply didn’t have enough employees to fill out a boat, let alone staff the Ferry Taproom at the same time. Fast forward to this year, and—amongst our staff of 20+ employees (pictured at left on the boat)—we managed not only an all-employee rowing team (we even freed up Ryan to be in the boat) but still staffed the Ferry Taproom on what turned out to be our single biggest sales day ever. These are victories that transcend a trophy.

With appreciation for your support, which makes all this excitement happen… 

Kent and Ryan


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

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