Mare Island Brewing Co

What A Difference a Year Makes

Ryan and I would sit at a round, cheap-veneer, 80's-era table with light blue chairs with scratchy fabric backs.

That was spring of last year, in what is now our taproom. But at that time, the space was a big, unimproved, and depressingly-empty room, save for that lone ugly table and chairs, which I think the janitorial staff found in some warehouse and plopped in there so they'd have a place to take their breaks; the city had been unable to lease the space for seven years prior. We'd just finalized the lease and got the keys, and Ryan and I would sit there wondering what we'd just done … fretting over building permits, kegorator design, finances, HVAC, mash tun capacity, TTB licensing, label design, hop contracts, USB outlets, and all the other myriad of things that cause insomnia when you are trying to start a brewery and business. Mostly, we wondered (and worried about) if--when we did finally make the beer we wanted to make, and build the taproom that we had envisioned--would the people come?

Today, when we open the doors at 5pm on any Thursday, in come all these smiling, friendly, thirsty people. I swear, it's an every-day miracle.

Next Up


Starting next week, we'll finally get our Coal Shed Stout into bottle (Ryan and Cody just harvested the yeast from the fermenter as I am writing this). That will round out the core trio of offerings that we will have "to go"; the Saginaw Golden Ale and Hydraulic Sandwich IPA are already available in 22oz format at the taproom.

We're planning and testing recipes on a few seasonal/specialty brews for this upcoming summer, including an Admiral's Ale (to celebrate and support our local professional baseball team), an Indianapolis Survivor's Tale Ale (inspired by this incredible story), and more Farragut's Farmhouse Saison.

Ryan also just got in the latest round of new swag. Come check it out. And we'll take this opportunity to give a shout out to all the folks who have been sending us great pics of MIBC swag in exotic locations: at sea near Abu Dhabi UAE, on the beach at Playa del Carmen, at the Guinness Brewery, at Kona Brewing, and soon to come, at the south pole… simply awesome.

While a year ago we were finalizing the permits of our kitchen, now we're waiting for the sign-off from the city on our plans for a new arbor and some new concrete steps on the back patio. We hope to have that completed by Memorial Day.

A Real Yardbird


Speaking of Memorial Day, that's when we're planning our first "Yardbird Club" pick up party at the taproom.

What's the Yardbird Club you ask? Well, we're still putting the finishing touches on the structure and details, but it is our beer club where you can get regular shipments of our new flagship brew, first (and sometimes only) access to other specialty brews, and exclusive invites to the pick-up parties and other events. The story also involves a porter that has been quietly aging in some former pinot noir and whiskey barrels for the last six months, the origin behind the phrase "cup of joe", a bomb shelter on Mare Island, and a general order banishing all alcohol from naval bases.

Intrigued? Look for a separate missive in the next month or so explaining the club and how you can become an official Yardbird.


Our New Taproom Hours! (Now Open for Lunch)

Thurs and Friday, 5pm-10pm;
Saturday 11:30am-10pm; Sunday 11:30am-9pm

The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend will be our first ever pick up party for the Yardbird Club.

The 4th of July fireworks will explode right over the top of the taproom. We're planning a higher-end ticketed event where a portion of the proceeds go to help pull off the fireworks display, which is one of our philanthropic focuses. More details to come.

Every year on the first weekend in October is the Vallejo Waterfront Weekend, which is another of our chosen non-profit causes to support. Come race a whaleboat!

And finally, while not technically a "calendar" item, we have recently been able to expand our hours: we're now open for lunch on weekends. We look to expand hours even more in the future as we ramp up our brewing to meet demand and find worthy additions to our stellar staff.




Our stellar staff includes Cody, our first employee. Already our main bartender and recently-appointed taproom manager, he has started helping with brewing as well, so we have anointed him with the title of Binja ("Beer Ninja").

Thanks, Cody.

Add Nat the MINSY-maker, Alex the runner of food, Alea the beertender, new addiiton Kayla, Elise who wrestles the paperwork, and our consulting brewer Nic to the mix, and we've got a very solid crew.

That said, we are looking to round out our kithen staff. Just throwing it out there...

A Great Good Place

Like I said, it's an everyday miracle that the vision for MIBC is becoming a reality. What once was once just Ryan and I in a couple uncomfortable chairs is now a staff, a great line-up of killer handcrafted beers, and a thriving taproom.

At Christmas, I dug out a book from my attic and gave it to Ryan: a copy of "The Great Good Place." It's a book I read in my idealistic 20's, and it really fueled my enthusiasm for restaurant work back then. It's a little academic--not sure I could even get through it now (sorry, Ryan)--but its basic premise is that the local tavern plays an incredibly important role in the social fabric of a community as well as the development of democracy (think French café during the French revolution). Not to be too grandiose, but I think the most gratifying thing about the Mare Island Brewing Co. is the sense of community that has sprung up on the waterfront in a town that was, just a few years ago, grappling with bankruptcy. For Ryan and I to play role in that is a satisfaction that goes well beyond economics.

We couldn't do any of this without the awesome support of our community and beyond. Thanks for making the dream a reality.

Kent and Ryan

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

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