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Laurie Jervis: Captain Fatty’s Riding Wave of Craft Beer Success in Goleta

Brewery among more than 50 scheduled to pour at Buellton Brew Fest May 5

Captain Fatty’s brewery in Goleta Click to view larger
Captain Fatty’s owner/founder Preston Angell, left, brewer Jason Osborne and creative director/co-owner Matt Minkus of the Goleta-based brewery. (Laurie Jervis / Noozhawk photo)

Lompoc resident Jason Osborne seems to have the best of both worlds: He splits his working hours between his longtime day job and his passion — as lead brewer for Goleta-based Captain
Fatty’s brewery.

When he’s not formulating recipes or overseeing quality control at the brewery, Osborne is senior systems design engineer at Bruker Nano in Goleta.

In March 2017, the longtime craft beer aficionado and home brewer started brewing commercially at Captain Fatty’s, located in the Los Carneros Business Park.

On April 5, when I met with Osborne, brewery owner/founder Preston Angell and creative director/co-owner Matt Minkus, they enthusiastically shared their mutual devotion to the brand, plans
for taproom expansion and how Goleta is poised to join the ranks of the West Coast’s craft beer trend.

Osborne poured me a glass of Captain Fatty’s brand new 48 To Go, a double IPA that would be released the next day. The team describes it as a “massive passion fruit hazy bomb.”

I tasted pure citrus, almost like fresh squeezed orange juice. The release is a collaboration between Captain Fatty’s and 12 West Brewing of Arizona, he said.

Osborne calls craft beer “very well positioned” in Goleta, with fellow local brewers M. Special Brewing Co., Hollister Brewing Co., Captain Fatty’s and Draughtsmen Aleworks located within about 3 miles of one another.

While Captain Fatty’s taproom/cellar/packaging space currently is housed at 6483 Calle Real, Suite D at the business park, the taproom will soon relocate to a suite that fronts the Los Carneros Road side of the park, creating a larger and more visible tasting environment, Osborne noted.

Also in the works is a second taproom in Santa Barbara, which will be located on lower State Street near MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, he said.

Angell, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, founded Captain Fatty’s with two friends from Westmont College, Osborne said.

The brewing team comprises Angell, Osborne and Colin Honeybourne; Jimmy Tran is the cellar man. Captain Fatty’s employees 15 people either full or part-time, Osborne told me.

The team participated in the 2017 LA Beer Fest, its largest festival to date since the brewers had focused mostly on events in Ventura, Buellton and Carpinteria, Osborne said.

“We were invited to pour at the LA festival, and we loved it.”

Captain Fatty’s will join more than 50 other regional and national crafts breweries at the seventh annual Buellton Brew Fest May 5 at River Park.

Captain Fatty’s brewery in Goleta Click to view larger
A brand new Captain Fatty’s release is the 48 to Go Double IPA, which is a collaboration with 12 West Brewing of Arizona. (Contributed photo)

Last fall, Captain Fatty’s scored its first award at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

The competition was the team’s first, and the win “sharpened us up,” Osborne noted; the brewery’s winning entry was its Kalliope sour ale.

Noting the growing trend of sour beers, Osborne likened them as “bridges between beer and wine.”

Sours are blended with flavors, sometimes aged on fruit and finish with lower pH levels that are more similar to those in wine, he said. In addition, sours’ higher acids “cut through the fat in foods quite well, just as do the wines that contain more acidity,” making sours good pairings for most foods.

Via a subsequent e-mail to me, Osborne shared his foray into craft brewing: “I caught the craft beer bug in/around 1993, during the first (modern) craft beer boom in the United States. That
bubble burst in the late 1990s/early 2000s.

“I started home brewing in late 2004 in part because I’d always been fascinated by the brewing process, and also after not being able to find some of the beers I liked as easily anymore after the
bust, it made sense to try and make them myself.”

Osborne’s segue into commercial brewing “sort of grew organically from a deep-seated fascination about beer, and brewing, and constantly looking to challenge my skills in brewing. Certainly a big part of how I ended up brewing commercially stems directly from the first home brew club I joined in 2005, the San Luis Obispo Brewers (SLOBs),” he said.

“The SLOBs are still some of my best and most trusted critics, and the club has at least five members that have gone on to ‘go pro’ in brewing and be very successful — so I had seen how
it could happen by their example.”

Minkus, the creative director, relishes his job marketing the brand, as he finds local restaurants and bars quite receptive to fresh, locally made beer, typically sold via keg/on draft.

“People want to support local breweries,” he said.

Captain Fatty’s brewers favor packaging their product in cans versus bottles because the former eliminate the risk of damage by light and micro oxidation that is inherent in bottles, Osborne told
me.

Captain Fatty’s utilizes four 30-barrel vessels for fermentation, and each barrel yields 413 cases of beer; the brewery’s current total production is approximately 2,200 barrels, he said.

Unlike a winery, which is limited to a single vintage of grapes annually, a brewery can produce several batches per year. Barley can be dried and stockpiled and used throughout the year, he
added.

The duration of each batch requires ranges from three weeks “from grain to glass” up to six weeks for the lager-style beers, which necessitate a longer cold-ferment time period.

In his e-mail, Osborne summarized his passion for the craft of brewing: “At the end of the day … for me — as a brewer — it feels good to have people spend their hard-earned money for your
beer, and enjoy it enough to buy a second.”

— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at www.centralcoastwinepress.com, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

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