Seven sustainably brewed beers — one for each of the morros strung through the region — is the central concept of the new 7Sisters Brewing Co. in San Luis Obispo.
“The idea is to reflect this awesome place,” said owner/brewer Steve Van Middlesworth.
A huge, spray-painted mural of the Seven Sisters and city landmarks greets visitors to the airy space at 181 Tank Farm Road, Suite 110, on the backside of the plaza at the corner of Cross and Long streets, where sustainability and reuse rule.
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The tables are old college shop benches, the light system built from discarded Cal Poly fixtures. The bar is constructed of school lockers topped by zinc-wrapped wood from the crate the lockers were shipped in. The patio railings are made from the bars used in pouring the patio floor.
“It’s an industrial look, a kind of laboratory, scientific feel, but with warmth,” Van Middlesworth said.
An environmental engineer at Vandenberg Air Force Base and long-time homebrewer, Van Middlesworth even designed and built the four-barrel brewing system himself to save energy, water and waste in the brewing process.
“Everything happens in one tank rather than three,” he said. “It helps to be an engineer.”
The beers are each brewed with a little something extra. The Bishop Peak Blonde, for example, is brewed with sage and lemon, while the Hollister Peak Belgian includes pink peppercorns and the Black Hill Pepper Stout features piri piri peppers.
Beyond the stable of core beers, Van Middlesworth plans to add in rotating special brews as well as wine and guest beers on tap.
Any waste will be almost exclusively compostable, Van Middlesworth said. “We try to stay away from plastic.”
Van Middlesworth said he’s invested about $150,000 in getting the brewery going, a figure he said would be much higher if he hadn’t done most of the construction, plumbing and electrical work himself.
At 51, Van Middlesworth says he’s in the last few years of a government career that has taken him to a dozen military bases in California, Colorado, Wyoming, England and Germany, but SLO won his heart.
“I decided this is where I’m going to land,” he said.
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