Hand-Brewed Beer Debuts Chatsworth Tasting Room
The northwest San Fernando Valley recently joined LA’s craft beer rebellion. Hand-Brewed Beer is a Chatsworth venture from longtime friends Brian Hand, Anthony Castaneda and Will Caplenor, who attended nearby Chatsworth High School together. They started producing beer in 2014 and recently made their product much more accessible by opening an on-site tasting room this fall. Brian says,”The West […]
- CategoryEat & Drink
- Written byJoshua Lurie
The northwest San Fernando Valley recently joined LA’s craft beer rebellion. Hand-Brewed Beer is a Chatsworth venture from longtime friends Brian Hand, Anthony Castaneda and Will Caplenor, who attended nearby Chatsworth High School together. They started producing beer in 2014 and recently made their product much more accessible by opening an on-site tasting room this fall.
Brian says,”The West Valley has a lot of people. You have to drive a half-hour in any direction before you can find your first locally made beer. This is the spot to be in, so we went ahead and searched here.”
Hand-Brewed Beer sports a cinder-block facade and resides on back of a side street industrial park. Inside, you’ll find wood picnic tables, a decorative wood fence dressed with skateboards and dartboard, and bar with corrugated metal front equipped with 12 taps. A 5-ounce taster costs $3, pints run $5 and tulips sell for $6. Growler fills cost $10 to $14.
Brian walked me through their core beers, which include of Deez Nuts brown ale, “an aggressive American brown ale, very nutty roasted, overhopped for the style.” Rocky Peak red IPA, their red rye IPA, clocks 8.1%, so they consider it an Imperial red. Erudite witbier is “a really nice easy drinking white ale that we do with white pepper, coriander and orange peel. White pepper gives it a little citrus spice punch.” Encino IPA, a white oak and orange peel IPA, “gives it a fresh approach.” He adds, “Encino translates to oak. White Oak is a street that passes through Encino. It’s one of those no-brainers of making a beer name.”
Seasonal favorites include Chatsworth Chai Stout, which “tastes like Christmas” thanks to spices like cinnamon, cardamom and ginger plus rooibos and black tea. Chubasco is a festival favorite, a serrano and arbol pepper IPA. Each spring they brew VRB Porter, a vanilla raspberry bourbon porter that would qualify as their “whale,” a hotly desired beer.
If you can’t make it to the tasting room, Hand-Brewed Beer is available on tap at a bevy of nearby bars, including West End Tavern, Straw Hat Pizza, Crazy Harry’s, Numero Uno Tavern and On The Thirty.
Hand-Brewed Beer doesn’t have an on-site kitchen, but they do host food trucks on a regular basis. Brian says, “Even if we do have a food truck and they don’t have what you want, we always have menus around from local places like Straw Hat Pizza, which might have us on tap, or places that deliver nearby. You can brown-bag and have a picnic. We’re family-friendly in our tasting room, so people can come in with their kids and have them set up with their Cheerio tray. Mom and Dad can have a couple tasters and hang out.”
They also partner with restaurants on charitable fundraisers. For the holidays, they teamed with Slaw Dogs on a toy drive for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Brian says, “We try and give back and do as many charity events as possible. A lot of us have different things that we feel have helped us in our lives, and we want to give back to organizations.”
All of the partners still work day jobs. Brian bartends for Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill in Northridge; Tony works in medical dissolution, testing vitamins and pills for solubility or impurities; and Will works in education. If all goes well, they’ll be able to transition to Hand-Brewed Beer full-time.
9771 Variel Ave., Chatsworth, 818-964-1422
Nancy Shura-Dervin, a 67-year-old ultramarathoner and cancer survivor, organizes one of the most challenging trail races in the country.