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Can Monrovia Become the Microbrew Capitol of the San Gabriel Valley?

A new microbrewery plans to start producing beer locally in a few months and others have expressed interest in following suit. City leaders say they hope to make Monrovia a destination for small-batch brewers.

Microbreweries abound in Los Angeles and they have sprouted up in the Inland Valley. In between, however, Stephen Kooshian and his business partners see an opportunity.

"The San Gabriel Valley has this void of microbreweries," Kooshian said, explaining why he and two friends decided to start brewing beer in Monrovia.

Kooshian is the president and brewmaster for Pacific Plate Brewing Co., a microbrewery at 1999 South Myrtle Avenue which could soon start brewing a host of different beers. If a permit from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control comes through as expected, Kooshian said Pacific Plate could be serving their small-batch brews to tasting room customers as soon as mid-May.

"For the last year and a half, we've been putting it together piece by piece," Kooshian said. "It's definitely a labor of love."

Monrovia's planning commission has already granted Pacific Plate a conditional use permit to manufacture and sell beer and the company has received federal clearance as well. And according to Monrovia Community Development Director Steve Sizemore, more small breweries could soon follow suit.

Sizemore, a home brewer himself, said that Monrovia has identified microbreweries as a growth industry that could significantly contribute to the city's tax base if more brewers come to Monrovia and expand.

"When one gets established and two or three follow I think we’ll get a lot more interest in it," Sizemore said. "You're seeing a big expansion of craft breweries in America and you're seeing some of these brewers going from smaller operators to bigger operators. We can start some of these guys like an incubator type of business."

Another brewer has already expressed interest in joining Pacific Plate and applied for a permit to open a brewery at 130 E. Walnut Avenue. Financial complications have arisen, however, and the company--Monrovia Brewing Company--withdrew its application earlier this month. The company is still interested in other locations in the city, according to Monrovia's development blog.

If all goes well for Pacific Plate, the fledgling operation plans to start brewing in April. The company's one-barrel brewing system has the capacity to brew 31 gallons of beer at a time, and the brewing process takes about four weeks, Kooshian said.

About one-third of the 1,600 square-foot location on Myrtle will serve as Pacific Plate's tap room where customers can walk in during business hours and taste flights of beer or order pints.

Kooshian said his brewery will start by offering two lines of beers: traditional ales and lagers and a "specialty line" infused with Latin American ingredients. One example of the second line is a horchata stout, which combines an English-style stout with horchata ingredients like vanilla and cinnamon. The brewery also plans to produce a mango-flavored India Pale Ale and an agave-flavored wheat beer.

"We'll always be inventing new beers," Kooshian said. "Our philosophy is that there's nothing that can't go into a beer."

Jerry Baker February 21, 2013 at 03:06 PM
More bars sounds like the perfect compliment to the check cashing/payday loan centers and high density housing projects Monrovia has been attracting for the last few years. Compton had better watch out, Monrovia might just up and steal all of their businesses away from them.
Michael Lee February 21, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Jerry, a microbrewery is not a bar. Think Silverlake, Old Town Pasadena, and the Alhambra district, not Compton.
Jim February 21, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Nice! Good luck guys. Glad to see a craft brew place opening up close to home. :-)
Sandy Anderson February 21, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Just told my hubby, a beer connoisseur (in other words, he hasn't met a beer he doesn't like, haha). Just love those tasting rooms, always wonderful to try something new! Looking forward to it.
eddie gray February 22, 2013 at 01:38 AM
:D
B Ulm February 23, 2013 at 09:29 PM
This article definitely made me smile. When microbrews came on the scene when I was just out of college (sooo long ago), they taught me that beer could have huge flavor and style ranges and I also discovered that there were beers I really liked. I had never been thrilled with the taste of commercially made, flavorless (to my taste at least) pale ales that were all that was available for beer back then. I once had a chance to attend a brewmaster event where they all brought samples of their beers for small tastes and sharing. Thinking back on it – it was just like a wine tasting and reinforced just how much of an art beer making is with flavors coming from the hops, malts, type of yeast, brew style, etc. One of my favorite restaurants in Cleveland is the Great Lakes Brewing company. Its in an upscale district and crafts wonderful beers and excellent food. Actually, every microbrew I know of is in a nice location. To equate microbrews with Compton is almost too silly to comment on as inaccurate at the rest of the comment. I just assume the writer has no idea what a microbrew is. Welcome to Monrovia Pacific Plate Brewing Company. May you live long and prosper, and be the start of something big here!
rubberband April 26, 2013 at 08:19 PM
MMmmmmmmm...BEER.
Frank "frazgo" Zgonc June 30, 2013 at 01:53 PM
I agree with rubberband. Microbreweries can't hurt and it tastes good too. Most of the time. That horchata blend just sounds plain gross.

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