Malibu has a lot going for it: the views, the beaches, the highly acclaimed seafood shacks. But one thing the seaside town has never had is a brewery – until today. Malibu Brewing Co.’s taproom has officially opened on Pacific Coast Highway.
The lack of breweries in this section of LA County is exactly why MBC owner Ryan Ahrens, a Malibu local and film exec who has produced movies like Joe Bell and American Made, said he and his wife, co-owner Jill, wanted to open up here.
“Jill and I live in Malibu, and love our community,” he said. “When we moved to Malibu six years ago from Colorado, we were surprised that our city didn’t have its own brewery. We were determined to make that happen, despite the enormous cost and difficulty of opening a new venture in this city.”
“We identified Trancas Country Market near Zuma Beach as the ideal location for our spot,” he continued. “The west end of Malibu is where most of the families in Malibu live, but many lost their homes to the devastating Woolsey fire. This end of the city is getting rebuilt, and we are proud to be a community gathering spot.”
If the brewery’s name sounds familiar, it could be because you’ve seen their cans before – they’ve actually been canning since late last year, when their Westlake Village production facility came online. Unfortunately, the taproom’s construction over the hill in Malibu was behind schedule, so the Ahrenses made the call to start canning and distributing right away.
“This decision was based solely upon the timing of the completion of our brewery,” Ryan told me. “We were ideally hoping we would be making beer and having our customers’ first interactions with our brand be in our taproom, however, the lengthy delays made it impossible to idle the brewery while the taproom was [being] completed. Instead, we strategically placed our packaged products in very limited locations to start to get our brand out in the wild.”
Describing the philosophy behind their brews, Ryan said he wants the beers to be two things: “balanced and approachable.” This is reflected in their opening tap list: 14 beers, a majority of which clock in below six-percent ABV. Though the list ranges from hazy IPAs and hard seltzers to a plum porter and a nitro stout, they mainly lean into lagers; a schwarzbier, a Mexican-style lager, an amber, and a rosé lager all appear on the list.
There’s even a lager brewed with hatch chilies called Wild Parrot, which is an ode to Ryan’s native New Mexico. The experimental beer, the owner said, was brewed as a surprise for him – and they decided to keg it and serve it in the taproom when it turned out to be a huge winner. Also a highlight of the list is Tower 17, a double New England-style IPA, double dry-hopped and brewed with Phantasm.
There’s a full dining menu, which includes fare beyond the likes of typical brewery food: there’s grilled elote, fresh fish tacos, and charcuterie boards, alongside the standards like chicken wings, fried chicken sandwiches, and a burger.
The taproom officially opens today, September 6. They’ll be rolling with their opening tap list for a few weeks, before introducing a festbier soon, and plan to regularly introduce new taproom exclusives as they continue to ramp up brewing.