Mare Island Brewing Co

Great Good Place

There are particular nights, last Saturday being one of them, where the satisfaction of having created the Mare Island Brewing Co. goes way beyond mere dollars, and the spiritual arrow cleanly strikes the bulls-eye. The dynamic acoustic duo “Freight” was belting out some tunes in the corner. All the seats were taken—a great thing for sure—but more important was the quality of patrons in the seats. One Vallejo lifer pulled me aside to thank Ryan and me for honoring the heritage of the Island (and for making damn good beer in the meantime). I couldn’t have hidden my grin if I tried. People were drinking, eating, talking, and couldn’t help but move to the music. It was raining and chilly outside, but the spirits inside were warm (and not the least bit damp). I mentioned in a previous newsletter the “Great Good Place,” and some nights like last Saturday just feel worthy.



What makes a great good place an even better place is food, and many of you have noticed that we’ve upped our culinary game in the taproom. Talented chef Scotti Hazeltine has an incredible background of culinary experience from very notable restaurants in Napa, and we’ve been amazed at what she can do out of our tiny taproom kitchen (really, it’s like a ship’s galley). Check out her house-smoked pulled pork sandwich as well as the house-smoked tri-tip sandwich. And trust us, you don’t want to miss desert.

We are currently planting a garden on Mare Island to support her fresh and seasonal creations, so keep an eye out this summer for more to come!.


Now we move from culinary arts to ceramic arts. Legend has it that at the turn of the century—as in 1900—people would carry beer home from the local pub in a pail with a lid, and when the beer sloshed around in the pail, it created a rumbling “growl” as the CO2 escaped through the lid. The growler was born. Since our opening, we’ve been constantly asked for growlers, but we had two challenges. For one, in the early days, we didn’t have enough beer. And secondly, we have always been uninspired by the standard glass bottle growler with the dented metal lid (and a nostalgic pail didn’t seem right either). Enter ceramicist Micah Hammac of Tree Bed Design. Ryan tracked him down, and a dozen molds later, we have a Vallejo-crafted, limited-edition, functional work of art. Only 250 will be made, and then we’ll break the mold and start a new design. Yardbirds get first crack before we start selling to the public. We’re currently sold out through about 1/3 of the first edition (with more delivered every week). We have a sample at the bar—come check it out.


Sunday, May 15, 1-4pm, at the taproom.


Go Go GO99


Speaking of Yardbirds, we have a party coming up. But before we get to that, let’s talk about the main reason you should be a Yardbird: General Order No. 99. We’re now on our third edition of this, our vintage, reserve, pinot-barrel and whiskey-barrel aged porter. We’ve been uncorking and drinking bottles from the cellar of our first two vintages (Spring 2015 and Fall 2015), and to our immense satisfaction, they are both aging beautifully. We’ve had some Napa restaurant requests to carry GO99 right along side their fine wine offerings (but alas, we haven’t had any available). Having blended the Spring 2016 vintage just recently, we’re particularly excited about this next release as it develops gracefully in our bomb shelter on Mare Island  (picture to right). Given a little higher alcohol and bourbon-barrel influence, this edition should be a particularly long-ager. It’ll change your life.


Yarbird Party Time


And then there is the party to celebrate the release of the General Order No. 99. The Fall 2015 Yardbird Release Party was a raging success with the commencement of the Yardbird Games. Our Yardbirds teamed up and battled in a fierce Cornhole competition to enshrine their legacy as the first names on the “Golden Subs” trophy.

The Spring 2016 Yardbird Release Party is scheduled for Sunday May 15 from 1-4pm. We just got news that the city has approved our permit to spill off our patio onto the waterfront, and we are planning a unique Yardbird Game for that space. We also have a portable outdoor pizza oven reserved. If you are already a Yardbird member, even more details to follow. If not, you don’t want to miss out on the fun so sign up now at!


As always, Ryan and I thank you for supporting our dream. But that dream goes beyond just our little brewery. We are gunning for a renaissance of Mare Island and Vallejo, fueled by artisan endeavors like craft food and drink. With that vision in mind, we’d like to extend a hearty welcome to the Splinter Group, who are developing their distillery in historic building 45 next to the museum on the island. We know the owner from our winemaking circles and are very excited at the vision and quality we know they will bring to Vallejo. It’s just one more way that the spirit of Mare Island boldly leaps into the future.

We'll see you at the taproom.

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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