A person who acts as a guide, typically on a voluntary basis, in a museum, art gallery, or zoo [or brewery, as it turns out]
One.More.Row of the Oar.
I imagine myself beached on new land. Imagine the sand creeping from beneath my worn toes, nimble, ship-sick, and novice. Look up at the hills – an impenetrable forest of mystery that climbs to Saddleback. Once was Southern California. Once were the rumbling hills which we daily tread.
Sorry, got distracted there. Let’s come back to now: I’m standing on the coast in Dana Point, venturing into the lands of San Juan Capistrano , imagining what it must have looked like to those who came before us. I imagine myself on sandy beaches, looking aghast at the terrifying forest and mountains that dare enter my path. I imagine the gumption of the explorers that came before me –
And the explorers of the more modern nature. South Orange County has a thirst for new breweries – and Docent is here to quench that thirst.
Founders Bryan Geisen, Scott Cortellessa, Joe Wilshire and Brian Hendon have forged roots in their hometown, where they are eager to introduce the local community to their beer. As an added bonus, a few mere steps from the brewery is the lush San Juan Creek Trail . Verdant views of nature, a delicious beer in hand and a humble community public house for all to enjoy. Docent is a perfect outlet that offers the community approachable, balanced and easily drinkable beers that impress the palate.
Tell us about your brewing background. . .
BG: My brewing background started mostly on the home front – coupled with meeting a lot of (and being lucky enough have) friends in the industry to work with. I was able to get in the cellar and learn how to operate the equipment. Matt Becker took the time to teach me the process of yeast counting.
Why SJC/Orange County?
All: We live locally and we’re glad to be here.
What inspired the conception of Docent?
All: Once upon a time about five years ago, after many fireside chats, we decided to open up our own spot. Scott had already established La Sirena Grill as one of OC’s top craft beer spots so timing was just about right. That was the Spock. Kicked it into task and planning since February 2015 to get Docent off the ground. The cosmic part of it is that we needed the three aligned on the plateau. We we able to secure Brian as our brewer and we loved his personality and beard – (laughs) A few months later we procured our dream spot and a year ago we won the lottery on GoBrewer and attained our Wyoming 15 BB steam system. At that point we were destined and nothing could stop us.
What other specialty brews do you have planned for Docent? What beers are you most excited about that are coming out this year?
All: Every beer along the way that has a set up our mission. I’ve dabbled in sours a bit, but won’t risk the brewery for that. Pleased with what we’re turning out – highly drinkable beers . We have something for everyone on our wall. Eager to keep forging in new territory and exploring a bit.
How large is the brewery (# of barrels annually)?
All: As many beers as they can drink. As the community continues to drink our beers we’ll continue make ‘em.
What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
All: Being a new brewery we’re in such a task mode and are still devoting time to systems and processing. I do have an answer for you – there’s already been a text book example of what we can’t stop drinking. Opening a public house for all types of people to enjoy.
Having families playing in our game room on a Saturday like in their own homes – that’s exactly what we were going for. Being open one week and we already notice familiar faces community and that’s why were doing this. Strangers meet at the bar.
‘Know your neighbor and beer maker’ – Beer Mantra
If you had to pick a favorite beer from a brewery and offer it to a stranger, which one would it be and why?
BG: I would pick canteen our lager-esque beer that’s approachable and satisfies the Coors light drinkers and the person who appreciates beer of all styles.
BH: I need to know more about this person. the stranger. There’s not a one beer fits all. We didn’t all auto pick one beer.
If you were omnipotent, what would you change (first) to improve our beer universe?
BG: I’d rather see every giant macro beer brewery that it opens that it be replaced by a neighborhood independent craft brewery. It’s vital to get to know your brewer, your butcher and barber. Community is where its at – the industry is going that route.
What’s the most undervalued brewing ingredient?
ALL: Water, we take it for granted .
It’s your last meal. What is it and what do you pair with it?
BG: Grand Pappy and dessert.
BH: Slow roasted whole pig with a tulip glass of the Rube (Manhattan) – we’re all being burned at the stake.
SC: A spicy Korean sandwich with The Rube.
THE RUBE – A yokel, a country bumpkin. Rustic w/ his own refined dignity. Bold yet balanced, audacious but approachable. Malt and hops in harmonious heft. Sweet caramel and spicy rye balanced by an assertive, candied grapefruit bitterness in this easy drinking red ale. Inspired by the classic cocktail, the Rube is your mid-day Manhattan. 7.5% abv.
Who do you revere in the craft beer industry?
All: We really look up to and respect Doug Odell of Odell Brewing) and Patrick Rue of The The Bruery. All us have spent time being mentored by both of them and we’re very grateful.
Beachwood Brewing in Long Beach offers a diverse line up with solid beers. Firestone Walker along with the brewing pioneers over at Sierra Nevada have done great things. Sierra Nevada’s American Pale Ale staple is always a great go to for easy drinking.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
All: Spend quality time with our families, bike riding and spending time in the outdoors.
What would you be doing if you weren’t brewing?
BG: Interpretive dancing
How old were you when you had your first beer? What was is? Details of your first encounter?
BG: I guess sipping Dad’s beers doesn’t count, but my first memorable beer was during Freshman year – Bert Grants Apple Honey Ale. It’s really hard to be in front of the liquor store when you’re really picky about it.
BH: Rolling Rock tying it to tubes and throwing it into the river to keep it cool in West Virginia. Good times. Started exploring more than Coors light and asking for different beers, tried a Heineken .
SC: Did not have a good experience trying Budweiser for the first time 35 years ago. I remember not liking it when I was 16 and had my first sip. We learn from our mistakes.
Explain the core values of Docent Brewing Company. . .
BG & BH: Most importantly values that the brewer and our brewhouse upholds – It’s what we’re founded on. Going in our own direction and seek to grow organically and go from there. It’s a great to drink with your friends everyday – it a privilege.
BH & SC: Same too – we love beer and love making beer . Love the circa 1995 beer culture. We’re ultimately here because we love beer and the culture behind it. Our humble public house offers more than just beer – it’s a place for our community to gather. Everything else is meant to be fun and can’t be so serious that we can’t have fun. We’re living out our passions and loving what we do.