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Davis, California

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Two new breweries build roots in Davis

KELSEY GREGGE / AGGIE

Davis soon to be home to four unique breweries

Beer enthusiasts: Is Davis finally making the map in the brewing industry? Those who think not may soon be proven wrong. In the next couple of months, two new Davis breweries, Dunloe Brewing and Super Owl Brewing, will be ready to open their doors for people to grab a barstool in their taprooms.

While Sudwerk built its roots in Davis in 1989, the brewing industry is just starting to pick up in town with Three Mile Brewing Co. opening in 2016 and the two new breweries in construction, both with connections back to the City of Davis and UC Davis.

Brennan Dunloe, the owner of Dunloe Brewing, grew up in Davis; he enjoyed and understood the town and wanted to come back. He traces his interest in brewing back to his youth.

“It started in my backyard,” Dunloe said. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and figured out I could go to school for brewing, so I moved back to Davis and finished up community college. I actually started working at Sudwerk somewhere in there and got accepted into UCD as a transfer student and UCD’s Master Brewers program on the same day. I started going on campus and withdrew so I could do the Master Brewers program and then went back to finish up food science in 2014.”

His experience at Sudwerk and at the UC Davis program prepared him for what he may encounter at his own brewery. While Sudwerk often focuses on its lagers, according to Dunloe, he said he wants to take a different route and have fun more brewing. Much like Three Mile, he hopes to have a rotating style of beers and less of the traditional side of things.

Dunloe has already began production on his first brew and hopes to open the tasting room within a couple months.

The new breweries in town could also help improve UC Davis’ Master Brewers program. Dunloe remembers the scarce number of internship opportunities available nearby and hopes that the new breweries can increase that type of real-world experience.

“Day-to-day you can get away with not having that kind of education [UC Davis Master Brewers Program] but on a bad day it’s really nice to have it so you can get out of whatever situation you are in,” Dunloe said.

While Joe Vida, owner of Super Owl Brewing, doesn’t have the same type of formal education in brewing as Dunloe, he is far from an amateur. His wife, Rachel Vida, who helps run the legal and business sides of the operation, remembers him talking about opening his own brewery since they met in college.

Rachel graduated from the UC Davis School of Law, and the two wanted to move back to the area to start the business and raise their family. Joe increased his involvement with the Davis home brewing club, Greenbelt Brewers’ Association. He began to get to know other beer enthusiasts in the area until he finally decided to make the transition to professional brewing.

“[The brewers in Davis are] a very friendly group of people who share information and want to see everyone succeed,” Joe Vida said. “I couldn’t be more grateful for all the help they’ve given. It’s a really good learning community for the brewing industry.”

Super Owl hopes to focus more on American and English-style, like ale-style beers, but also some big IPAs, robust stouts and dark strongs, too. The brewery expects to incorporate local farmers and local fruits for seasonality with its beers.

“We like to incorporate organic produce, and having worked for a recycling lobbyist, sustainability is really important to me,” Rachel said. “We want to give our spent grain to farmers to use for goats or cows and have as little waste as possible.”

Super Owl hopes to take a more community-based approach for its brewery, with a kids area and open patio. It will be picnic-style, in which people can bring in their own food, and local eateries in West Davis, like Lamppost Pizza, may even deliver to the brewery.

Whatever the two breweries have working in their midst, Davis is an up-and-coming locale for those in search of a good brew.
Written By: Bianca Antunez — city@theaggie.org

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