Beat the Late Summer Heat in Santa Barbara at Fig Mountain Brewing

 , Beat the Late Summer Heat in Santa Barbara at Fig Mountain BrewingWhat’s the best way to get out of the 105-degree LA September heat? You head to Santa Barbara County for some refreshing beer at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company. If you’re in a wine tasting party and want to drink something refreshing, or even in an Oprah stalking party and want to do something that’s legal, then Fig Mountain provides two options to try their amazing craft beer in the SBC. Fig Mountain has a tap room blocks away from the beach in the Funk Zone of Santa Barbara and their main brewery is located in Buellton, CA in the Santa Ynez Valley. I started my trip away from the grueling LA heat wave by skipping the “world famous” Pea Soup Anderson’s in Buellton and headed straight to Fig Mountain to speak with Brewmaster AJ Stoll.

Fig Mountain is truly a Mom and Pop business (well a Mom, Pop, and Son business) that started four years ago when the son of Judy and Jim Dietenhofer, Jaime Dietenhofer, developed a love of craft beer after attending college in eastern Washington. Jaime wanted to bring a craft brewery to his hometown of Buellton to help make it famous for something other than pea soup and wineries. Jaime, now the CEO of Fig Mountain, found AJ on the Brewer’s Association Forum and hired him as their Brewmaster. AJ was a Banana Slug and graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Science in Organic Chemistry. He fell in love with craft beer and has since used his OChem degree to turn himself into the Heisenberg of Brews (without all the murder and illegal stuff, of course). , Beat the Late Summer Heat in Santa Barbara at Fig Mountain Brewing

AJ carefully creates and perfects each Fig Mountain craft; he’s also dedicated to making the cleanest and most balanced beer on the market. He lives by the philosophy that if you can immediately notice any one thing in the beer, then it’s a flaw and AJ sees this as a defect. Much like Walter White, AJ is a control freak in the brewery (again, he does NOT place any of his workers that make mistakes into plastic drums of hydrofluoric acid).

The craft beer that AJ creates definitely lives up to his philosophy. Fig Mountain’s biggest seller, the Hoppy Poppy IPA, is a true West Coast IPA that represents the Santa Ynez Valley with amazing floral and citrusy flavors created by Centennial, Cascade, and Simcoe hops and poppy seeds. Their Danish Red Lager, a Vienna Lager, blends European lager and caramel malts for a truly delicious, sweet malty flavor that will practically make you beg for another pint after you finish your first. The Davy Brown Ale, which is named after an early settler of the Santa Ynez Valley, tastes exactly as you would expect from the name: rustic and complex. Frankly, it’s one of the best brown ales I’ve ever had. Yet my favorite Fig Mountain beer is the Lizard’s Mouth Imperial IPA. The tropical, orange, and pine flavors stroke your palate like a Na-Bua Thai Masseuse shoving a fruit smoothie beer down your gullet. It’s simply amazing. , Beat the Late Summer Heat in Santa Barbara at Fig Mountain Brewing

To further bolster his beer chemistry creative side, AJ started a second label from Fig Mountain called Liquamentum that focuses on blending wines with beer, spirit barrels with beer, and beers with other beers. Liquamentum beers will be available as limited releases at specialty bottle shops in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties. You can try these specialty beers, such as the Double Down Davy Brown, which is Fig’s brown ale aged in whisky barrels; the Hell’s Half Acre, a Pinot barrel-aged Barleywine; and the BIERÉ DE MÉNAGE, a Saison brewed with Sauvignon Blanc grape juice, at their pre-release party at Figtober Fest at their Buellton Brewery this Saturday.

Currently, you can find Fig Mountain’s flagship beers in 12 oz. bottle 6-packs and 22 oz. bombers; you can also grab 12 oz. can 6-packs of their FMB 101 Kolsch at Whole Foods, Bev Mo, and bottle shops from San Francisco to San Diego. Although 98% of their sales are in San Luis Obispo, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties, AJ is looking to push sales in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. It looks like he’s getting closer to that goal with their two new 4,000-gallon tanks and with two additional tanks on the way.

AJ is optimistically uncertain about where Fig Mountain will be in the future. He wants constant growth and expansion, but he always wants to focus on making high-quality beer. With all of AJ’s amazing beer recipes, this is his best recipe for success. Keep your product free of imperfections and of the highest quality, and the demand for the product will grow – a page straight from Heisenberg’s book of winning (but without all the money laundering and competitor/chicken restaurant employer murders). 

, Beat the Late Summer Heat in Santa Barbara at Fig Mountain Brewing


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