Craft beer aficionados in the San Fernando Valley now have a label they can call their own – 8 ONE 8 Brewing.
Cousins Bryan and Derrick Olson have put together a nano-brewery in a small industrial space in the 8900 block of De Soto Avenue in Canoga Park and are making beer with a distinct San Fernando Valley flavor.
Their beers include Valley Girl Blonde, Matador Red, a tip of the tap handle to CSUN’s mascot; and Gravity Hill, an homage to a local legend.
They cooked up the idea about four years ago while sampling the beers at Crazy Harry’s Bar, a Winnetka tavern that specializes in craft beer.
“We were talking about beer, trying different types and talking about the flavors. And the bartender at the time started talking about home brew,” recalled Bryan, who owns California Print Co., which is adjacent to the brewery.
That led to a trip to The Home Wine, Beer and Cheesemaking Shop on Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills and eventually about a $150,000 investment in high end beer equipment.
The cousins got their permits in August of 2014 and their first beer went to market the following year. They selected the Valley’s area code for the name because 818 was written on the cover of the book containing their beer recipes.
Their 1,100 square foot brewery can turn out 90 gallons of beer at a time.
“It takes about four to six hours to make it but from brewing to drinking, it’s about four to six weeks. You have to go through different fermentation processes,” Bryan said.
He handles the marketing and delivering the kegs to local taverns and Derrick, an engineer at SpaceX, handles the brewing.
Derrick said his mechanical engineering background came in handy while he was designing the brewery’s layout and helping to install the equipment.
“There is a lot of technical information and things you need to know in each trade. When you make something there is a process that needs to take place to get the end product,” said Derrick. “I’ve learned a lot at SpaceX and that is helping me now. I am able to make the beers the same every time.”
The cousins’ offerings also include a Good Day IPA and Test Batch Porter. Their beer is available at 18 Valley area dive bars, gastropubs, restaurants and a college campus. Matador Red is sold at CSUN’s Pub Sports Grill.
Flann Fletcher, owner of Schoonerville Sports Bar & Grill, about 100 yards south of 8 ONE 8, has four of their beers on tap – Good Day, Gravity Hill, Matador Red and Valley Girl.
“I met the guys and obviously a relationship developed, there was a connection. They love beer and they are down to earth and Valley boys like myself. It just made sense,” said Fletcher. “Once they made the beer and we tested it and said yes, we could support it. It’s definitely good beer and obviously I’ve tasted a lot of beer.”
The cousins did some grass roots market research to see if 8 0NE 8 could generate a following.
“We did a few non-profit events and festivals. We got to the point where restaurants and bars were asking where they could get it and that’s when we made the decision to move forward and ride it from there,” Bryan said.
The cousins work in the brewery nights and pretty much all weekends, which are devoted to brewing the beer.
Their next endeavor is opening a tasting room next to the brewery, which could take about nine months, Bryan said.
And yes, their beer is darn good, especially the Valley Girl Blonde.