Breweries are on the rise in Temecula. So, when the opportunity came up to meet with John Maino and Gregory Webb, owners of Ironfire Brewery and marketing coordinator, Sean Courtis, SWRNN bellied up to the bar.
Read on to see why this local brewery is on tap for greatness:
Q: Ironfire: Ales for Outlaws has presented itself as being “outlaws” of the local brewing industry. How did your name come about?
A: Naming a brewery, to find a brand not already trademarked, was a challenge. Then one day a friend asked us how our “iron in the fire” was doing (referring to the brewery in development). At that point, we realized this newly developing brewery really was an “iron in the fire” and we shortened the phrase with the name Ironfire.
Q: How did this rogue group of brewers ended up in Southwest Riverside?
A: Temecula was a perfect place for Ironfire to open up shop. We were all living and working in the San Diego brewing scene for years, which has a population of well over fifty breweries (of varying sizes). As the business plan for Ironfire developed over time, an over-saturation in the San Diego brewing market also developed.
We knew we wanted the brewery to be in a city with a newly-developing craft beer scene. We had all spent a lot of time in Temecula over the years and always wondered why there weren’t more craft breweries in the city. It was just a natural thing to bring our beers up here.
Q: Which is your favorite among the beers you currently are brewing or have on tap?
A: We are all stuck on our whiskey barrel aged Vicious Disposition Imperial Porter. The beer is brewed with local avocado honey, which gives it a rich and silky taste. Then we throw it in a variety of different whiskey barrels (Jack Daniels and Maker’s Mark to name a few) to age for roughly a year. While the beer ages in the oak barrels over time, notes of oak-y vanilla begin to develop in the beer. When the finished product emerges from the barrel, you have a truly unique and special beer.
Q: What are your hopes for helping build Temecula’s “beer country?”
A: Temecula has all the ingredients for a great beer community. There are so many people here that love locally-produced goods and we have seen that for years with Temecula’s famous wine country. Local craft beer has become extremely popular in Southern California over the past two decades and we want Temecula to become a town known for great local beer, as well as wine. That kind of thing can take a long time to develop, but with so many new Temecula breweries opening up this year, we are well on our way.
Q: Do you all help educate your tasters on the finer points of tasting as well as drinking beer?
A: Absolutely. Our main goal when people taste our beer at the brewery is to educate them on craft beer. The brewery is open and has a very hands-on feel. People who visit the brewery can physically see the brew house, fermentation tanks, and oak barrels the second they walk into the building.
The public’s ability to see every step of the brewing process allows for them to better understand exactly how the beer they are drinking is made. We also have a wide variety of flagship ales available at the brewery, ranging from a light Gold Ale to a dark and complex Coffee Stout. Having a wide variety of beers allows us to cater to a wide variety of beer style taste buds and demands.
Q: Where do you have tap handles in the valley?
A: Because Ironfire is a production brewery our main focus is providing draft and bottled beer to local wholesalers. In Temecula Valley, Ironfire is being served on draft at Killarney’s Irish Pub, Crush & Brew, Brewligion and Stadium Pizza to name a few. Our brand is also distributed throughout San Diego County by Craft Beer Guild Distribution of California, which allows us to keep up with the quickly increasing demand for our beers down south.
Ironfire Brewing Company is located at 42095 Zevo Drive, Unit 1 in Temecula. To learn more, visit http://www.ironfirebrewing.com.
Ashley Ludwig is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.