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Claremont welcomes its first microbrewery

Fans of artisan beers will have cause to rejoice on August 10, when Claremont’s first microbrewery, Claremont Craft Ales, will host its grand opening ceremony. The microbrewery, located on Claremont Boulevard, will offer visitors a place to relax and sample locally-made brews in an inviting and family-friendly environment.

“We’ve put an enormous amount of effort into this,” said Emily Moultrie, the business’s general manager and the wife of brewmaster Simon Brown. “And the community has been really supportive.”

Claremont Craft Ales is the realization of a long-held dream that began when Mr. Brown decided to try his hand at brewing a simple beer in his kitchen. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Yale University, and a systems engineer by trade, Mr. Brown discovered a passion that led him to take on increasingly complex brews within a matter of months.

Mr. Brown joined forces with friend Brian Seffer, and together the 2 were able to take on more challenging recipes. Mr. Seffer will take on the role of head brewer as the friends continue to experiment with new recipes and techniques.

“We have about 10 recipes ready to go, but we’ll be able to invent new ones all the time,” said Mr. Brown.

The names of current brews reflect the Claremont community’s influence on their creators, like the 11th Street Wheat, a nod to Mr. Brown and Ms. Moultrie’s former neighborhood. The names of other beers hint at influences as diverse as Mr. Brown’s English heritage and the family dogs.

Mr. Brown began to investigate the possibility of opening a business that would allow him to share his passion with the community in early 2011. Establishing the business required the acquisition of 3 separate permits from national, county and city government, which took a little over a year to obtain.

Claremont Craft Ales is the first microbrewery to be established in Claremont, and so Mr. Brown and Ms. Moultrie “really had to describe the business model to the city” before the permit was approved in March of this year.

“We’re not a bar,” said Ms. Moultrie, adding that the brewery is “a family business.” To that end, the business will most likely operate in the late afternoon and the evening, closing by 9 or 10 p.m. each night.

Mr. Brown and Mr. Seffer intend their brews to reflect the West Coast approach to beer-making, and to taste “very hop-forward, flavorful, and aromatic.”

They expect their menu to involve different seasonal offerings and brews with subtle, fruity notes, among others.

The Claremont Craft Ales folks hope their arrival on the scene will add to the already established success of Upland-based Dale Brothers. 

“The craft beer community is incredibly tight-knit,” explained Ms. Moultrie. “Microbrewers are a charitable bunch. There’s no competition.”

Ms. Moultrie also ascribes the lack of competitive energy to the dominance of larger beer makers who don’t value the personal connection and the artistry that go into a successful microbrewery, and noted that the possibility of talking with the brewer and learning about the process is part of what makes microbreweries special.

For the time being, Mr. Brown will be keeping his day job. But the brewer is willing to entertain the idea of shortening his hour-long commute to a 4-minute one at some point in the future.

“We’re really looking forward to being a part of the city. I know that the beer is going to live up to the enthusiasm,” said Ms. Moultrie.

Claremont Craft Ales is located at 1420 N. Claremont Blvd., Suite 204-C in Claremont. They can be reached at 625-5350 or by email at info@claremont craftales.com. Or “like” them on Facebook for updates.

More information about the brewery can be found on the business’s website at claremontcraftales.com. The grand opening is Friday, August 10 at 4 p.m. The public is invited.

—Jake Bartman

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