Thursday, July 24, 2014

Surfer Suds — Introducing Pure Order, Santa Barbara’s Newest Brewery

James (front) and Dave (back) assisting customers with their beer thirsts.
 Warming his face under the bright afternoon sun of the mid-May heatwave, mustachioed Dave Burge, 27, stands outside the unmarked beige building at 410 North Quarantina Street, in a light-industry sect east of downtown Santa Barbara.
“Basically, this was just a big box with a bunch of stuff in it,” he says, gesturing at the 2,000-square-foot building behind us, adding that, until 2012, a general contractor used it for storage, and that the adjacent lot on the right was a once-vacant, weed-choked square of dirt that he and his cousin, James, have since converted into a picnic-tabled lawn and a 100-plant hop garden.
Dave here is holding a pint of Santa Barbara Pale Ale, taking regular swigs of the fresh brew that he and James created just steps away, where a handful of thirsty patrons imbibe near the bar that is made from local wood.
 “We often say that the third biggest part of the brewery, other than James and me, is Santa Barbara—that being its surf culture, its art culture, its music scene. These are all things that play a big part in our lives and in how we operate and run the business.” He takes a swig of beer and swallows it with a smile. “It’s just the two of us for now—we do just about everything.”
In 2011, after many years of homebrewing, James, 30, decided to launch Pure Order Brewing Company, today a microbrewery in the truest sense, featuring a humble 15-barrel brewing system (producing 1,755 liters of beer per batch—about 3,700 pints) with which he creates tasty, smooth styles like Crooked Neck Hefeweizen, Red Eye Wheat, and Black Gull Porter.
James named the brewery after Reinheitsgebot (“purity order”), the German beer law, written in 1516, that mandated the sole ingredients in beer production were to be water, barley, and hops. (Yeast was not mentioned because it would be another 300 years before French chemist Louis Pasteur discovered the role of microorganisms in fermentation; hence, yeast was not known as a beer ingredient.)
“Surfing is the purest form of a sport—you’re one with Mother Nature—and we like our beer to be as pure as it can possibly be,” James says, after joining Dave and me outside. “We’re going to keep it to four ingredients, and live or die by that.”
Pure Order's prolific hop garden and part of the lawn leisure area.
With its grand opening on March 15, three years after the cousins’ first “board meeting” (actually on surfboards out at Rincon), Pure Order is the fifth and newest of Santa Barbara’s breweries—and with a niche.
“As for setting ourselves apart from the other breweries as far as the surf community here goes,” James says, before heading back inside to pour pints for customers,” we’ve had lots of talks about marketing for the Rincon Classic, and we’ve talked with Matt Moore about getting in with him and doing collaborations of a different sort. Stuff like that. The fact that we surf has a lot to do with our beers. They are very California-centric, Santa Barbara-centric.”
While James grew up in Pasadena, frequenting the waves at County Line, he now lives in San Roque, and for his entire life has surfed Rincon and other spots in the 805. Conversely, Dave is a lifelong Santa Barbara resident, a 2005 graduate of Santa Barbara High who caught his first wave at Rincon when he was four.
“Surfing is such a big part of our lives,” Dave says. “We have plans to do some things here and there for the surf community in terms of philanthropy and that sort of stuff. We’re trying to bring good, new beer into the Santa Barbara area, and in doing so, trickle out to the best surf spots. Our families own a few homes down on the point at Rincon, and that’s where we grew up riding waves. The best times we’ve spent together have always involved the ocean.”
And so the Queen of the Coast, in more ways than one, has birthed another special Santa Barbara enterprise.
“Surfing is such a big part of who we are,” Dave says, finishing his pint, “so it naturally infuses itself into Pure Order, certainly through James’s creativity with our beers. If you’re an artist, I’d imagine that waves pop up in a lot of your art. As surfers like James and I are, waves pop up in our beers.”

Pure Order Brewing Co., 410 N. Quarantina Street in Santa Barbara, 805-966-2881; tasting room hours: Friday 4-7 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, noon-7 p.m.; @pureorderbrewco

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Deepest Reaches for Mollusk Surf Shop

Deepest Reaches For Mollusk from Mollusk Surf Shop on Vimeo.
Film by Michael Kew
Surfing: Trevor Gordon
Surfboards: Deepest Reaches
Music: Sandy's - Yuba Diamond

Shop Deepest Reaches boards at Mollusk

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Farming Malloyland — At Stoke Grove, the 'Duce Rules.

Wiley Connell (left) and Chris Everett, harvesting red Russian kale.

“Having a bunch of dirty-ass surf bums hanging out all day, growing fat-ass veggies? It takes a special sort of landowner to be down with that.” (laughs)
Shaggy-blond and goateed Wiley Connell, 24, is referring to pro surfer Dan Malloy and his wife, Grace, who own the 2.5 acres called Stoke Grove Farm off this quiet, dead-end street in Meiners Oaks, a burg of 3,500 in the heart of the Ojai Valley, 70 miles north of Los Angeles. In its previous life, the dirt beneath us fostered an orchard, which morphed into a petting zoo that included Bengal tigers. In 2012, a dentist sold the land to the Malloys, who leased it to Wiley, this morning in a blue Clark Foam shirt, work boots, and boardshorts.
“Dan and Grace are so fired up about farming and are so supportive,” he tells me, “but, at the same time, they really know what’s cool and are very relaxed about everything here.”
It is 10:57 a.m. One hour ago, 2014’s spring equinox occurred. Connell and Chris Everett, 25, stand by an oak tree near a small duck pond. They’ve been harvesting since 8 a.m. On the farm, Everett is Connell’s right-hand man, a head of dense facial hair framed by nipple-length blond dreads. A talented guitarist and vocalist in Pleasure (a local rock band that, thanks to friend Connor Coffin, recently recorded at Hurley—Pleasure will perform live at the U.S. Open), today Everett wears ripped jeans, a green trucker hat, sandals, and a paisley button-up he found in the antique store that once employed him. Workwear? Only at Stoke Grove.
The two friends begin washing oranges and grapefruits in a large plastic barrel, the yellow and orange orbs floating in freshwater, ever-precious after California’s winter of severe drought.
“Since spring is here, things are really restarting,” Connell says. “Our field is looking glorious after a crazy winter—hardly any rain.” He scratches his tan forehead and points to the field’s fallow east end, a deliberate rectangle of weeds. “In Wiley’s world, all that should be waist-high by now. Winter is a time of rest and you’re just chilling, for the most part, but then spring comes and the wheels start to turn non-stop. In winter, everything grows slowly because there’s not much light, and it’s cold, there are tons of aphids, the ground is as hard as a basketball court. It’s a time to just sleep and surf.” (laughs)
Since its inception in early 2013, Everett, who grew up surfing with Wiley, has been deeply involved with Stoke Grove. “I always knew it was Wiley’s dream to have a farm of his own,” he says, rinsing lettuce, “and as soon as he talked about starting Stoke Grove, I was amped to help him. I got myself fired from my job (serving beer at Island Brewing Co. in Carpinteria) and have since been working under him and his expertise. It’s been a blast—some of the happiest times of my life, for sure.”
Around the wet, knee-high wooden platform behind him and Connell, three of Stoke Grove’s volunteer harvesters are boxing a colorful mix of rainbow chard, carrots, fennel, Chioggia beets, oranges, grapefruits, two types of kale, three types of lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and celery. In an hour or so, the boxes will be driven to members of Stoke Grove’s CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture), a popular program in which the public buys food directly from those who make it.
“This ‘duce (produce) fires people up, and since we’re around it and we grow it, we get to be a part of that process,” Connell says, dropping grapefruits into the boxes. “People freak out when they eat the ‘duce, but they also freak out because the vibe has been brought. And also doing things in unison with the earth and the way the earth does it, but at the same time, being functional within society.” (laughs)
“Which is kind of hard sometimes,” Everett says, also with a laugh.
“What’s the overall Stoke Grove mantra?” I ask them.
“To have a good time,” Wiley says, nodding. “Yeah.”
“For sure,” Chris says, shaking water from a purple head of lettuce. “Uphold the vibe and stoke people out with some good ‘duce, man. Soak up the sun all day. Be out there in the rows, vibing with the plants.”
“Do what’s right, you know?” Wiley says.
“What is right?” I ask.

He hands me a carrot, pulled from the soil 15 minutes ago. I take a bite and chew. Ah, yes—this is exactly right.