Council to open 2nd Brewery & Tasting room in Santee, CA

Written by Liz Chism

Curtis and I have been asked quite a few times over the years when we were going to expand.  Our answer has always been that we've wanted to build a strong foundation defined by great beer (both clean and sour), great company culture created by amazing staff, and an aweome customer base. With a strong foundation, we could build upon it to make a lasting company.

Santee Expansion photo.jpg

This last year we have explored several options to make more beer and expand but nothing seemed to work out for the long term. Then while reading a West Coaster article just a week and a half ago (Friday afternoon March 9th) we saw that Finest Made's brewery/tasting room in Santee, CA was available as a turnkey brewery. After thinking it over, we called the broker and inquired further. He informed us there were two other offers on the table and if we were interested, we needed to look at it that afternoon.

It sounded too good to be true so we dropped what we were doing and went to go see it. It was beautiful. Almost brand new Glacier 7bbl, 3 vessel brewhouse with automation, (5) 30 bbl unitanks, (2) 15 bbl unitanks, (1) 7 bbl tank, and everything we would need to make more Council beer. I think my favorite part was the rakes in the mash tun! We revisited it the next day with some trusted advisers to take one more look at it. We placed an offer and an hour later, we got a call from the broker informing us our offer had been accepted.

Now, just over a week later, we have the keys! We bought the assets of Finest Made Ales (not their brand). We also simultaneously took over their lease (signed a new lease with the landlord). We are currently in the middle of transferring their ABC license and getting our TTB license and all the other paper work needed for opening a new location. Once we have that (which will probably take at least 60-90 days) we will open the tasting room.  We wish the ownership of Finest Made Ales the best, it's always sad when a brewery doesn't make it.

We are excited to be able to make more beer. Most of the beer produced in our Santee brewery will be IPA's. We will be bringing in a mobile canner temporally until we can order our own to continue our rotating IPA can series. We will also be able to expand our ability to brew collaborations with others. We already have a couple collaborations lined up to brew and barrel-age there, and then eventually can. To clarify, this will be "clean" beer only (all wild yeasts and bacteria will stay in the Magic Factory).  

We are also excited to have another tasting room where conversations can be had, relationships can be developed, and customers can turn into friends. We have always seen Council as a place to bring people together.  We plan to keep a wide variety of styles on tap with a bigger emphasis on some more light/easy drinking beers such as our Lively Banter Blonde and our Spreckels Hefe. We're also bringing our extensive sour beer program to East County which will be a really unique differentiation for us, plus we will also have our Magic Booch-Kombucha on tap. 

This opportunity feels like we've come full circle. We lived in Santee before starting Council Brewing and sold our house there to fund our current brewery and tasting room. Now we are back!  

3rd Anniversary Ale: Biere de Miel

We are excited to announce that for Council Brewing’s Third Anniversary we brewed a hybrid beer blending two unique styles: Biere de Miel (Honey Beer) and Biere de Champagne. This high ABV beer has surprisingly delicate flavors consisting of cracker-like malt, orange blossom honey and tropical fruits that are quickly cleansed from your palate thanks to the high effervescence.

This beer has been in the making for over two years and was initially inspired after the success of our First Anniversary beers: House Red (red wine hybrid) and House White (white wine hybrid). We wanted to create another beer that would push the boundaries of style descriptions.

We started with a simple golden base in order to allow the more subtle honey flavors to be showcased in the final product. The beer aged in both fresh white wine and neutral American oak barrels. We used a blend of Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus. The Brettanomyces was added to serve a dual purpose. First, to contribute some damp wine cellar notes as well as tropical fruit flavors. Second, to ensure the beer fermented as dry as possible to help with the Champagne-like finish. The Lactobacillus was key as it lowered the pH to also increase the perception of a crisp Champagne-like finish.

Once the initial fermentation settled down, we added Orange Blossom honey to each barrel. We did this after the primary fermentation to ensure that the delicate aromas would not be driven off. We also added the honey in multiple additions to continue to feed the microorganisms as they aged in the barrels. Honey consists of simple sugar that is easily fermented, therefore it was chosen as an addition to help the beer dry out and increase the Champagne-like quality. To enhance the Champagne impression further, Chardonnay must was also added to the barrels.

The final component of this beer was to achieve the distinctive Champagne-like high carbonation. This is a fairly difficult process considering the high alcohol content and low pH. We did extensive research and even performed some trial testing. We used what we learned to bottle the entire batch. This style must be served from a bottle to get the full experience of the extra high carbonation. To further serve this point, we bottled the entire batch - no draft will be available.

 Transferring Biere de Miel into white wine barrels on April 2015 brew day.

Transferring Biere de Miel into white wine barrels on April 2015 brew day.

 Our brew-dog Nelson enjoying honey leaking from the barrels!

Our brew-dog Nelson enjoying honey leaking from the barrels!

BOTTLE RELEASE DETAILS - 3rd Anniversary Biere De Miel
Release Date: Saturday, June 10, 2017 at our 3rd Anniversary Party
Pre-Sale Date: Bottles will be available for purchase starting June 6, 2017 at 12PM on store.councilbrew.com.
VIP Anniversary Ticket Purchases will receive first access to purchase bottles online beginning May 30, 2017 through the general public release. You will receive an email with purchase details. Buy Tickets Today
Beer Description: 3rd Anniversary Biere De Miel (11.2% ABV) is a Farmhouse Ale fermented and aged with honey in oak barrels for 18 months and cellared for an additional 9 months. Inspired by the celebratory spirit of special occasions and popping bottles of champagne, this beer is highly carbonated, packaged in champagne bottles, then corked, caged, and wrapped in gold foil.

Launching Our New Online Store for Bottle Sales - 3/8/17

Launching Our New Online Store for Bottle Sales - 3/8/17

We are proud to announce the roll out of our new online store, which features bottle sales for our core Beatitude variants, limited barrel aged bottle releases, and eventually Council apparel. We plan to conduct all future bottle releases on this storefront, allowing us to eliminate ticketing fees and offer flat rate shipping in California. Further details are below. 
Our first bottle release that will be conducted on the store is Lickable Staves on March 8th, 2017.