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Up and Running Bagby Beer Company

Jeff Bagby owner of Bagby Beer Company on Oct. 11 in front of new kegs in the brewery located in Oceanside, Calif.  Photo courtesy of Deb Hellman
Jeff Bagby owner of Bagby Beer Company on Oct. 11 in front of new kegs in the brewery located in Oceanside, Calif. Photo courtesy of Deb Hellman

Oceanside – A new, local brewery was picked out of 52 breweries worldwide to tap simultaneously a rare Belgium Lambic brewed by famous Cantillon Brewery as part of Zwanze day, Sept 20.

Bagby Beer Company was selected by Legendary Cantillon Brewery, which started in the 1900s that first created Zwanze day in 2008 as a celebration geared toward friendship through craft beer.

“We were blown away that he chose us, simply honored, ” said Bagby Beer Owner Jeff Bagby, noting it was unusual for such a young brewery to showcase a fourth-generation master brewer Jean Pierre Van Roy’s sought-after, sour style beers.

Bagby’s, located at 601 S. Coast Highway in Oceanside, pushed its soft opening phase through the first week of September, specializing in craft beer and affordable cuisine.

Bagby said he has been around the globe in the brewing world, and upon his travels in the United Kingdom he visited Cantillion brewery in Brussels, Belgium. He acquainted himself with Van Roy and grew a friendship through their love of craft beer.

The Zwanze event included a small crowd who indulged in $10 glass of specialty beer including sour styles made by open-air fermentation of organic yeast in the woods and surrounding areas of Brussels.

The feature Lambic ‘Cuvee Florian’ was a gift in celebration of Van Roy’s eldest son Florian for his 18th marking a journey into adulthood, and was complimented by three other worthy brews, Classic Gueze, Cuvee St. Gilloise and Rose de Gambrinos.

Typically a selection of beers that would vanish within hours, simply a small crowd of dedicated craft beer lovers received wind of the novel brewery’s inclusion of this prestigious event, so glasses were expected to be served for days till the keg was kicked.

Bagby and his wife have been making beer for eight years, but five years ago decided to bring their concepts from traveling and experiences into one all-encompassing stomping grounds for craft beer and food.

Once upon a time a car dealership for BMW back in the late sixties, the transformation of the 8,500 square foot two-story brewery is still underway.

“Fifty percent of the brewery is technically open,” Bagby said.

Wooden tables and open deck that open your experience to the hustle of cars and motorcycles buzzing past on Pacific Coast Highway. Palm trees line the exterior of the building that feed to the California coastal ambiance.

Sitting on leather topped seats with nifty footrests you are cooled by metal fans while reading thick paper menus that encompass a hefty list of world-class craft beers. Bagby also includes an assortment of cocktail drinks that he has customized to fit his personal style.

Food incorporates everything from Romaine lettuce salads, chicken club sandwiches, “Gringo” tacos, wood stone pizza with house crafted dough and sauce, smoked wings and even chicken and waffles. Although Bagby and his wife hold no culinary school experience, they collaborate with head chef Brad Davis on all their cuisine.

Outdoors you experience a real treat, with exposure to the fresh coastal air you are feet away from the 50-foot beer tanks and fermenters with an inside look to where all the mad science of brewing takes place. Gravel ground nourishes one impressive looking tree, and wood exterior gives a feeling of being in a rural area, a “beer ranch” of sorts.

“We wanted an open place and experience where people could feel comfortable and learn something new, a wide open brewery to ask questions,” Bagby said. “(You) can come right off of the beach in your flippy floppies, or dress up for an occasion and come with friends and family.”

In the future Bagby plans to make events with dinner pairings as a place for wine and beer people; A place where hop growers can come converse, exchange knowledge and all can enjoy the presence of each others passions in a welcoming setting.

Exterior image of Bagby Beer Company on the corner of Coast Hwy and Minnesota Avenue in Oceanside, Calif.  Photo courtesy of Deb Hellman
Exterior image of Bagby Beer Company on the corner of Coast Hwy and Minnesota Avenue in Oceanside, Calif. Photo courtesy of Deb Hellman
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Up and Running Bagby Beer Company