talking to classy broads who brew good beer for laweekly

July 25, 2012

I’ve been wanting to be friends with Kerry Caldwell since she came into my work and silently drank a Firestone Walker Double Jack at the bar alone. Then, she got hired at Belmont Brewing Company, found a fiancé and now is to be up at 4AM to brew kick ass beer unlike anything the restaurant has ever served (no offense, Blackwell). This schedule severely cuts down on girl hangout time, but does not diminish my admiration for her and all her pink booting! You go, girl!

Q & A With Kerry Caldwell, Assistant Brewer at Belmont Brewing Company: Updating Classics, Bragging Rights + How To Be A Lady Brewer

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Sarah Bennett

In the late 1990s, Long Beach’s Belmont Brewing Companywas at the top of its game. With a longtime homebrewer named David Blackwell at the helm, beers from BBC — which is the oldest operating brewpub in Southern California — began picking up awards at local and international contests. Soon, its Strawberry Blonde became one of the first L.A.-area beers to be bottled and sold in stores.

Since then, however, the craft beer world has changed drastically and BBC’s decade-and-a-half-old pale ale, stout, golden ale and amber recipes — once on the forefront of the industry — have been little competition for the aggressive flavors and experimental styles of modern-day brewers.

Kerry Caldwell — Blackwell’s assistant brewer since last summer — is slowly changing all that.

As one of only two female commercial brewers in the greater Los Angeles area (the other, Caldwell’s friend Hayley Shine, is the brewmaster at Rock Bottom Long Beach), the Idaho-via-Placerville transplant has brought about some small but much-needed updates to Belmont Brewing’s beer program, which today also extends to a sister BBC — Bonaventure Brewing Company, inside the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown L.A.

From suggesting different yeast strains for their year-round brews to making new seasonal beers based on her own recipes (think: black IPAs and British-style old ales), Caldwell is coaxing the independently successful BBCs back into craft-beer relevance.

We caught up with Caldwell early one morning as she watched over a boiling kettle of beer (while wearing pink rain boots) and talked about being a new female in the industry, breaking Blackwell out of his shell and why BBC will probably never brew a triple IPA.

READ MORE AT LAWEEKLY.COM

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