Malibrew: First brewery opens in Malibu

Malibu Brewing Company celebrates the grand opening of its taproom and eatery at Trancas Country Market

By Emmanuel Luissi

Special to The Malibu Times

Malibu Brewing Company celebrated the grand opening of its taproom and eatery with dozens of locals and beer enjoyers on Tuesday, Sept. 6. With every seat taken throughout the afternoon and into the evening, the grand opening was well attended. 

The taproom and eatery is the newest addition to the Trancas Country Market. Featuring 22 taps and a chef-driven menu, the taproom and eatery opens at 11:30 a.m. seven days a week.

Guests like Missael Soto were eager to try the wide range of different beers and foods on the menu. Soto enjoyed a beer flight at the bar, saying his favorite beer was the Happy Days honey blonde ale.

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“I think me and my friends were pretty impressed with the food, paired with some pretty good beers,” Soto said. “If you want to just chill out and enjoy some good brews, this is the place. Make the drive — I say it’s worth it.” 

The taproom and eatery welcomes visitors with a hosting and takeout center where visitors could pick up takeout orders as well as get on the list for seating, but are also encouraged to take a seat at the bar.

With indoor and outdoor seating available, the outdoor patio is also dog-friendly. 

There is also a cold box room where canned beers are kept chilled for visitors to purchase and take home with them.

The taproom and eatery features a food menu with dishes like the MBC Smashburger, fresh catch tacos, wood-fired grilled chicken toscano, beer-braised short rib, grilled elote, and charcuterie boards, among other options. 

The beer menu features several different styles of beers all brewed by MBC. The menu features beers like the First Point IPA, Pacific Gold American lager, Canyon rosé lager, Happy Days honey blonde ale, Stargazer nitro stout, Zuma agave hard seltzer, and Sand & Sea Mexican-style lager.

Malibu Brewing Company owner Ryan Ahrens said the taproom and eatery was designed for the Malibu community. 

Malibu Brewing Company owner Ryan Ahrens poses outside of the Malibu Brewing Company taproom and eatery during its grand opening on Sept 6. Photo by Emmanuel Luissi/TMT.

“This is a spot for them, [community] we want people to come in, enjoy and if there’s something they want to see on the menu, let us know,” Ahrens said.

He said he was inspired to create Malibu Brewing Company after moving to Malibu six years ago and finding out Malibu had not yet had a brewery. He said he had been brewing beer from home for years and was determined to share his beers with the community.

Malibu Brewing Company officially started brewing beer last year and had been canning and distributing their brew to beer vendors in Malibu; however, the goal for Ahrens was to have the taproom and eatery for their beers to have a home. 

He said he was excited to finally open the doors to the community.

“It’s been a long journey to get this spot open for the community and we’re excited that the community has turned out to support us,” Ahrens said.

He is excited about the many styles of beers on the menu and said it is difficult to say which is his favorite beer. He said he has a handful of favorites. 

Cari Mihalcean, director of hospitality and general manager of the taproom and eatery, said she was elated by opening day.

“We have been working on this project for over two and a half years, myself and the owners, and building this team has been a dream,” Mihalcean said. “Opening these doors has been unbelievable. I can’t describe the feeling.”

Mihalcean said the MBC team tried to create an approachable menu with something for everyone.

She said her favorite beer is Westward, a Berliner Weisse, but also highlighted the Happy Days honey blonde ale. 

She said Happy Days is a Malibu-inspired ale that uses local honey from Eli’s Bees, operating out of the Santa Monica Mountains. The name of the beer pays homage to the book “Happy Days in Southern California,” written by Frederick Hastings Rindge, the last sole owner of Malibu.

Taproom Manager Denisse Velasco said Malibu residents should visit the taproom and eatery and expect great service. 

“I am very grateful to be part of such an incredible team. I’m blessed really. Everyone’s really passionate, driven and hardworking,” Velasco said. “We are a group of fun people, our team is wonderful and they will treat you well.”

Velasco spoke highly of the Canyon rosé lager, describing it as “delicious, crisp, refreshing, perfect.” She said her favorite dish is the grilled elote, calling it phenomenal.

Jason Steffenauer, director of operations for the MBC taproom and eatery, said it had been a wonderful experience to be part of the team that helped the owners’ dream of opening a taproom and eatery come true.

“To see their [owners] faces when we opened the doors and see people continue to come in, it’s something I can’t put into words,” Steffenauer said.

He said he loves the location of the taproom and eatery and praised the Trancas Country Market for maintaining a comfortable vibe and sense of community. He said he believes that the taproom and eatery will build on the community feel of the market. 

“Our focus is creating an everyday experience and elevating it a little bit. I want the local community to know that this place is for them,” Steffenauer said.

“We’re filling a niche that isn’t necessarily here and it’ll be a place for the community to gather, enjoy and relax.” 

He said he is an IPA guy and highly recommends the First Point IPA, a classic west coast IPA. He described himself and his children as burger connoisseurs and said they love the MBC Smashburger. 

Residents and visitors of the MBC taproom and eatery are encouraged to follow the brewery on Instagram, @brewmalibu, and visit the website www.brewmalibu.com. As well as: https://www.restaurantji.com/ca/malibu/trancas-country-market-/.

Malibu Brewing Company owner Ryan Ahrens poses with a beer during the grand opening of the Malibu Brewing Company taproom and eatery on Tuesday, Sept 6. Photo by Emmanuel Luissi/TMT.

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