American Craft Beer Week at Island Brewing Company

American Craft Beer Week at Island Brewing Company

May 11-17, 2015


Carpinteria, CA — Island Brewing Company will again join forces with thousands of breweries across the country celebrating the culture and community of craft beer. Island Brewing Company will commemorate this year’s American Craft Beer Week with fun and frivolity, new, seasonal, and rare beer releases, community events, brewery tours, and more. Here’s the lineup:

Monday, May 11:  Activate the preschooler part of your brain, and prepare to lose yourself in the gluestick, glitter, magic markers of Crafting with Craft, while you spend an interesting evening coloring outside the lines (6-9). For one night only we’ll be pouring a limited release keg of the Russian Imperial Stout. At 11 % abv, it’s only the biggest beer we’ve ever brewed; huge chocolate notes, big malt character, sure to inspire.  Santa Barbara Food Connection will be serving up tortas and hamburgers on the patio 4-8.

Tuesday, May 12 It’s Beer Trivia (7-8:30) a great chance to impress your friends with your vast knowledge of all things beer without being showy, and take home some prizes to boot!  It’s also Customer Appreciation with $1 off pint coupons. On tap tonight for one night only: the return of our much loved big and bold Belgian Quad, 9.3% 27 IBU.  The French Food Truck will be serving up an authentic French food experience…. but with a twist (4-8).

Wednesday, May 13: The event that you’ve hopefully spent the last year training for: the 4th Annual Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament (6-8:30). You read that right and you already know the rules! But wait, there’s more.  Fire and Wine Catering will be on hand for some wood fired pizza! (4-8) and on tap for one night only: Belgian beer and hop lovers rejoice – We’ll be pouring a Belgian IPA 7.0 %, 62 IBUs.

Thursday, May 14: Brewer’s Appreciation Night, we will be celebrating the people that work so hard to brew the beer for you.  The brain trust that is our brewers in the back will be on hand for a guided tasting through our current beers starting at 6:30, as well as showing you and your crew around the brewery.   This is a great chance to tell them how much you love their work, probably learn a thing or two about beer, and have a few pints of deliciousness. Thursday sees the release of the 7th beer in our Variance IPA series.  The IPL, that’s an India Pale Lager, think hops, light body, and all good. Georgia’s Smokehouse will bring the Southern-style smokehouse BBQ (5-8).

Friday, May 15: Hold on to your hats. We will have Bourbon Barrel-aged Jubilee on tap. You read that right. This will not last long, so make it a point to convert your enthusiasm into action. This will also coincide with VIP Tasting $15 per tasting (ticketholders only, please) as we raid the barchives in amassing a tasting of some of yesteryear’s beers for a night not to be missed (6-8). Santa Barbara Food Connection fires up the grill from 4-8 for tacos and tortas and all things authentic.

Saturday, May 16: Excellence in sound and taste combine for Beerapalooza. We’re going to tap a cask of Chicory Vanilla Stout deliciousness for this  sun-soaked, all day, live music event featuring the soothing sounds of the Ben Wilmore Quartet (1 – 2:30), the groove of Sol Tree (3 – 4:30) and the one and only Pacific Haze (5 – 6:30). World Famous Franks parks on the patio 4-8 to deliver just what your palate is looking for.

Sunday, May 17: We’ll tap one more cask of amazingness to round out the week, a rum oaked Jubilee.  From 2-4 we’ll be conducting Hop Experiment tastings, adding different hops to the same beer for your education and the general progress of humanity. Who knows, you might end up on our sensory tasting panel. And we’ll have the always popular Beer Bingo (6 – 8). Confusion Catering will bring their unique blend of flavors to the patio from 2-6 and keep your hunger at bay.

Island Brewing Company is located at 5049 6th Street in Carpinteria, CA.  For more information about Island Brewing Company or American Craft Beer Week contact Laurie Matthews at (805)745-8272 or email  We hope you will join us in celebrating American Craft Beer Week!


How Slow Can You Go? Island Brewing Company Hosts Slow Bike Race!

Note: The following is a press release from Island Brewing Company


Carpinteria, CA — Ladies and gentlemen, start your…bicycles! Island Brewing Company will host a Slow Bike Race on Saturday February 28th from 12:00 – 4:00 pm. ‘Wait, wait, wait, what exactly is a Slow Bike Race,’ you may be asking. Here’s how it works: contestants will ride a two-wheeled bicycle over a fixed course, aiming for the longest interval of time. Slowest bike wins (feet go down, and you’re out, no fixed gears, or fancy shoes please!)

The format will include three divisions: 12 and under, 13-17, and 18 and over. The slowest three in each division will then compete for victory, bragging rights, and prizes. In short, it will be fun for the whole family. “This is an event that we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” says founder and owner Paul Wright. “The competition should be fun and fierce across all age groups. Moments of hilarity are pretty much guaranteed.”

There will be a $10 entry fee per rider 21 and over and $5 entry for under 21, proceeds which will be used to benefit the Carpinteria Children’s Project to purchase bicycles from Trek Bikes of Ventura (TBOV), which will also be donating to the event. So start riding slow and slower and slower and we’ll see you then.

For more information call: 805.745.8272

Fest Review: Deep Fest

I’ll admit, I was skeptical about the Surf N’ Suds Deep Fest Beer Festival at Carpinteria’s Linden Park this Saturday. To me, the second annual festival featuring local breweries (and some brands from out of state as well), surfboard shapers and local vendors had all the makings of a bro-fest with little more than flagship brands and standard offerings from everybody in attendance.

Now I have to really admit, I was wrong.

The one thing that wasn’t surprising was the pleasantness of the venue itself. Linden Park could host a manure festival and as long as there was a little bit of sun and that cool Carpinteria ocean breeze it would probably be a good time. There was ample space for the breweries and 1,000-or-so guests to amble about without having to immediately jump in line for the next tasting. As for the lines themselves, they were short enough that you could chat with a brewer or brewery rep as much as you liked — which is always a bonus for he geekiest beer geeks among us.

As for the beer itself, there were a few highlights that caught my eye:

Anderson Valley’s The Kimmie, The Yink & The Holy Gose was the first beer I tried upon entering the festival, and it was spot on. There was a sharp tartness that had a hint of lemon to it and was pleasantly effervescent on the palate.

Amazingly, that wasn’t the only Gose on hand at Deep Fest. The Libertine Pub from Morro Bay was on site with its What Gose Around, a collaboration with New Belgium Brewing Company. The small Morro Bay brewpub took a keg of sea water from Morro Bay out to Colorado to brew this collaboration with America’s second largest craft brewery, and the end result was a pleasant, tart Gose that was less sour than the Holy Gose, but still tart enough to have a nice refreshing quality.

Libertine also brought its Summer Breeze, and American Wild Ale made with Apricots and Raspberry. The fruit and funk were well balanced with one another. In another setting, I’d have liked to sit down with a tulip or two of this beer until my cheeks were permanently puckered from too much sour ale.

I was also intrigued by an Imperial Stout from J.T. Schmidt’s, which was my first introduction to the brewery. It wasn’t terribly boozy tasting or loaded with raisiny melanoidins, nor was it smacking of vanilla and oak from aging in a bourbon barrel. Instead, it was a straight-up, heavy stout that smacked of roasted barley. It was the kind of brew I’d like to drink on nitro at the end of a cold night.

There were plenty of other new, or new-to-the-area breweries on hand as well. Carpinteria brewery Brewlab comes to mind, as its Green Tea IPA blended a variety of lovely flavors in with a nice floral IPA, and its Rye Saison was delightful under the warm Carpinteria sunshine. New Ventura brewery Poseidon Brewing Company was also pouring beer, with former Figueroa Mountain brewer, Reno King, serving the beer from his new brewery. I tasted the Rye Pale Ale, which had a pronounced bitterness but felt firmly entrenched in your hop-head’s ideal range.

And of course, one of my favorites, Institution Ale Company was on hand serving its Maple Brown Ale, Restraint, and a Progress Pale Ale, Citra. The Camarillo-based brewery is steadily expanding and steadily improving, which is remarkable only because it started at such a high level. The homebrewers-turned-pros at Institution are quietly making some of the best beer in Southern California, and any chance to taste some of their creations is worth it.

I had my doubts about Deep Fest, but I shouldn’t have.

VIP tasting at Island Brewing Company for Craft Beer Week

The Following is a press release from Island Brewing Company. Expect to read more about this in my June 5 column in the Santa Barbara News Press.


CARPINTERIA, CA – Island Brewing Company will be celebrating American Craft Beer Week in a big way and one of the events deserving a special mention is the Archived and Vertical Beer Tasting on Friday May 16th.  This is a once in a lifetime tasting featuring a selection of our most prized beers with Island Brewing’s Paul Wright.  There will be two tasting selections to choose from:

Flight 1 – $15 Flight 2 – $15
2011 Bourbon Barrel-aged Big Island 2012 Bourbon Barrel-aged IPA
2012 Bourbon Barrel-aged Big Island 2013 Bourbon Barrel-aged IPA
2013 Bourbon Barrel-aged Big Island 2012 Barrel-aged Kriek

First, we’ll be hosting a vertical flight tasting format.  We’ll be opening the 2011, 2012 and 2013 editions of our Barrel-aged Big Island.  Big hops, big alcohol and the subtle aging process ensure a unique flavor profile for those lucky enough to sign up for this limited event.

Second, we’ll be hosting a tasting of our Bourbon Barrel-aged IPA from two consecutive years, 2012 and 2013.  We will also be opening  a few of the 2012 Barrel-aged Kriek, a blend of two different ales aged in bourbon barrels for two and three years, with sour cherries added.

First come, first serve!  Limited space. Contact paul@islandbrewingcompany or call (805)745-8272 to learn more or sign up for this event.

Island Brewing Company Names Ryan Morrill to Head Brewer

The following is a press release from Island Brewing Company. It’s been too long since I’ve been down south for a beer in paradise, so expect some more on this soon.


(Carpinteria, CA)  — Island Brewing Company announced today that Ryan Morrill has been named to the position of Head Brewer. “We’re happy to announce the promotion of Ryan to Head Brewer for the brewery,” says owner Paul Wright. “Ryan started as a delivery driver with us four years ago, then moved into the cellar as an assistant brewer, and from day one he has been a major driving force in our efforts toward brewing fresh, flavorful, and local beer.”

The move signals a renewed energy for the brewery. “Ryan has proved a great asset for the brewery and consistently raised the bar in terms of brewing technique and expertise. His consistency and insight promises to improve our capabilities in terms of what we offer now and what we’ll be offering in the future. The promotion follows our philosophy of promoting from within and as the brewery grows, so likewise do its personnel.”

Recent new beer releases have garnered praise and awards. In January, Island Brewing Company’s Jubilee Ale earned 92 points at the World Beer Championships. The brewery is currently in the midst of its Variance IPA series, in which it brews a new style of IPA every ten weeks. The release of the Big Island, a barleywine has captivated locals and visitors alike while the return of the King Tide, a double IPA, has won favor among beer enthusiasts favoring hop-forward beers.

Ryan is an avid home brewer and long time resident of Carpinteria with a penchant for brewing with conventional and unconventional ingredients. Ryan brings enthusiasm for the brewing process and we’re excited to see what the future holds. “Definitely excited,” says Ryan of the position. “I’m Happy to be brewing in Carpinteria and looking forward to pushing some more boundaries and continuing the trend of brewing great beer here.”

For more info, tastings or tours, 805-745-8272 or email

Heads Up! Island Brewing Co. Offers Tours

Santa Barbara News Press readers will have seen this already in the July 4 edition of the SB News Press Life Section. This is the first beer column to appear in the paper, and my appears on the first Thursday every month. If you don’t subscribe, you can catch my columns here on the third Thursday of each month once the rights to the material return to me.


They grow up so fast. It felt like it was just yesterday when Island Brewing Company was little more than a pleasant place to drink a beer and wave at the Surfliner.  But now, as the Carpinteria brewery celebrates its 12th birthday, it is making the jump into the grown-up world of craft brewing.

There have been telltale signs of Island’s emerging adolescence—bigger tanks popping up throughout the brewery, robust crowds in the taproom and whispers of a canning line to come, but the true mark of Island’s growth came on Saturday when it held its first regularly scheduled brewery tour.

The tours, given Saturdays and Sundays at 2 and 4 p.m., are a chance for the brewery to show off just how much it’s grown, and growing.

“I would be interested in a tour of a shoe factory. That would be interesting to me,” Production Manager Mark Matthews said. “There’s this disconnect between people and the products they use. Nobody knows how anything is made, it just sort of miraculously appears without thinking about the ingredients or what’s involved.

“It’s part of that, but obviously beer is a little more different, special and fun. People ask things like ‘oh, is that where the hops go in?’ and everybody has a rough idea – just enough to be dangerous. I think when they put it all together it demystifies it a little bit.”

The first tour on Saturday was a little awkward, as so many of those first forays into adulthood can be. Although the taproom was packed with revelers spilling over from the Rods and Roses festival downtown, only a few were interested in giving up their seats to look behind the curtain.

Still, Mark guided a small and eager group through the bowels of the brewery. He stopped first along a new line of 45-barrel (one barrel = 31 gallons) tanks to give a brief history of Island Brewing Company.

He joked about his family connection, he married owner and brewmaster Paul Wright’s daughter, and explained that Island was steadily growing. The small brewery produced about 1,400 barrels last year, and is on pace for 20% growth this year.

From there the tour moved toward the mill, which is the first step of the brewing process. There were small samples of malted grain – each with different colors and flavors. Those grains, sometimes upwards of 1,000 pounds of them, are crushed in the mill and delivered to the mash tun – and the tour followed that path too.

There, next to the copper-jacketed vessel, Mark explained the next crucial step in the brewing process. All those crushed grains sit in the tun and are mixed with hot water (usually around 152 degrees depending on the brew), which allows the malt’s natural enzymes to convert the starch from sugar.

The sugary runoff is pumped out through a false bottom, and the spent grains are given to local flower farmers for compost. The tour didn’t have to go that far though, and just took a few steps to the right toward the big brewing kettle.

There, Mark explained how the sugary liquid, called wort, was boiled. Hops, which Island Brewing sources from Washington’s Yakima Valley, were added at the beginning of the boil to provide the bitterness and then again at the end of the roughly 60-minute boil for flavor and aroma.

From there the now-hoppy wort is pumped around to form a whirlpool that separates the proteins and hop particles from the liquid, which is then pumped through a heat exchanger that cools the hot wort to provide a friendly environment for the yeast.

That happy yeast was on full display at the tour’s next and final stop – the fermentation vessel. Here, Mark showed how the yeast was given time to convert the sugar in the wort into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The latter of the two forced its way out a long arm that swooped up from the top of the tank down to waist-height, where it was connected to a tube with the other end dipped in a bucket of sanitized liquid – with bubbles bursting out like a child playing with a straw and a milkshake.

The steady stream of bubbles was proof that the Jubilee Ale behind the cool steel walls of the tanks was fermenting the way it should.

And while Island Brewing Company may not be the biggest brewery in Santa Barbara County, its newfound structure and continued growth are proof that it is growing up nicely.