Remember those old Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland movies where Mickey eagerly said to his pals “let’s put on a show?” And they did? Well, in a way, chemist Bill Riegler did the same thing. He said to his friends, “Let’s open a brewery!” So they pooled their resources and did! A few years later Surf Brewery became the first commercial brewery in Ventura County.

The brewery is located in what’s become known as “Off Market Street,” a district in Ventura consisting of wineries neighboring Surf Brewery. The look is “hip industrial,” with surfer flair in this surfer town. (It’s minutes from Surfer’s Point).

Bill racked up a mini-surf board with cognac glasses filled with a flight of beer tastes brewed by his beer maestro, Chas Cloud.

What I loved is how Bill described his beer as a vintner would describe his wine. Mondo’s Blonde has “a hint of corn,” The County Line Rye has a kick of spice and bitters.

But two beers really stood out for me. First, the strawberry festival beer, Wahine, with a definite, scrumptious taste of strawberries.

And the award-winning Oil Piers Porter is a chocolate beer aged in merlot barrels. Rich and delicious, which Bill recommends pairing with prime rib or chocolate mousse. Or just sip it as dessert on its own.

Don’t pass up the chance to refresh your palette with one of Surf Brewery’s “hops from the Gods,” beers at Taste of Ojai.

By: Ilona Saari

Surf Brewery
4561 Market St. Ste. A
Ventura, CA 93003
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