Jerrod Larsen, former head brewer of Tustin Brewing Company, makes the jump to Bearded Tang while Larsen’s former apprentice, Daniel Quiñones, comes back as head brewer. “It was a matter of time for me to come back,” Quiñones said about his return. “I didn’t want Jerrod to leave, but I’m excited for him,” he added.
“Danny was always going to be a part of this one way or another,” Larsen said when talking about the transition. Larsen did not know how, but he wanted Quiñones to come back if the opportunity at Bearded Tang came to fruition. And it did.
Bearded Tang, Stanton’s first brewery, is led by business partners Jon Chiusano and Brandon Smith with the addition of Larsen. Combined they have 16 medals between them from both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup.
Chiusano, director of brewing operations, did collaboration beers with multiple O.C. breweries including Asylum, Tustin Brewing, Stereo, and others to promote Bearded Tang. One was with Larsen. Coincidence? “We always talked about working together in the future,” said Chiusano. It may have been colleagues thinking out loud at first, but it eventually turned into a serious conversation. Chiusano had to wait until the right time to offer Larsen a post. “I kept thinking, ‘We have to get Jerrod.’ ”
As for the beers, Chiusano and Larsen worked well beyond their regular duties during the pre-sale to make sure orders were filled. Those who purchased a crowler will not be disappointed. I was quite fond of Peach Blvd with a slight acidic note and wonderful fresh peach flavors. Tank’d IPA was crisp, snappy, and classic. What about Tustin Brewing Company? Quiñones just released a Witbier with the classic, refreshing notes to help during hot weather.
Our brewing industry is one of passion and creativity, but there is also the human element that is sometimes more in the spotlight than the beers. We know our beertenders by name, share ideas with brewers, and build friendships that transcend the brewhouse.
Stay up to date with the official opening of Bearded Tang (slated for later this month) via social media and website. In the meantime, order a crowler or two via their online store (check for availability).
Rodeo 39 Public Market
12885 Beach Blvd.
Editor’s note: Charlie Perez is an Advanced Cicerone® who covers the Orange County beer scene.