Orange County has solidified itself as a major player in the beer industry. For the city that holds the Orange County namesake, the city of Orange doesn’t have many breweries. A good consolation is the few within city limits, such as Chapman Crafted and Green Cheek, are exceptional breweries.
We can add one more to the list: Gunwhale Coastal Ales bring rustic nautical themes to Orange with an expansion brewery and taproom. Now open!
Bobby Fitzgerald, co-founder and Certified Cicerone®, was happy to finally have the place open. “We love the location,” Fitzgerald said. It is only a few streetlights away from Anaheim, which has the most breweries of any city in the county. Although Gunwhale in Costa Mesa is in a great area, near The Lab and neighboring Barley Forge and Bootlegger’s, it can be somewhat out of the way for those of us in North OC. “Now that we are up here (from Costa Mesa), we expect more to get exposed to us or even reacquainted with us,” he later added.
The brewery aspect of the expansion is still being assembled. But it will be up and running before we know it. It will be an impressive four-vessel brewhouse complete with a mash filter, which is quite rare to see. A mash filter increases efficiency well above the usual level and can reduce the turn-around from four-plus hours to about two hours! Not to mention the reduction in water use. I can’t wait to taste the beers that come out of this system.
In the meantime, we have beers available that will continue to come out of Costa Mesa. Most will be available at both locations for now. June Bloom, an excellent dry-hopped Saison with a wonderful nose, will please the palate with this heat. If you are looking for a lupulin fix, I highly recommend this current version of Bait Ball IPA, with plenty of tropical fruit characters, quite possibly the best Bait Ball they’ve released to date! Hayshaker (Great American Beer Festival bronze-medal winner) is always a wonderful example of a rustic Saison.
Having multiple brewery locations is a welcomed trend so far. It will only work when strategic placement and the product works. It’s still a practice most breweries can even entertain, but those that can should take great care to explore the market. In this case, Gunwhale’s second location is will work wonders for both the brewery and the consumer. Welcome to North OC, guys!
Gunwhale Coastal Ales
1501 W. Orangewood Ave.
Editor’s note: Charlie Perez is an Advanced Cicerone® who covers the Orange County beer scene for the Booze Blog.