Wine & Beer

New SLO brewery has a name that’s hard to forget — and it hopes the beers to match

A new brewery that recently opened in San Luis Obispo has a clever name — There Does Not Exist — and an experiential approach to doing business.

The brewery, operated by former Firestone Walker Brewing Co. brewer Max Montgomery, strives to serve straightforward, classic beers — ales, lagers and mixed fermentation — that allow the flavor to be revealed with relatively lower alcohol contents.

Those include a rotating selection of beers with alcohol amounts roughly in the 4 to 7 percent range.

Montgomery said the business name leaves room for interpretation and also doesn’t associate the business with a local identity — but instead a universal one.

“When someone walks in and asks what the name means I ask, ‘What does it mean to you?’” Montgomery said. “I wanted it to be that way.”

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Eclectic art line the walls of the tasting room at at There Does Not Exist brewery in San Luis Obispo. Laura Dickinson

Montgomery owns the business with his wife, Paige Montgomery, a Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center nurse, who works at the brewery in her spare time. They also have silent partners.

There Does Not Exist is located at 4070 Earthwood Lane, Suite 101, in the industrial zone behind Trader Joe’s in what Max said is an up-and-coming business corridor for tasting local alcohol.

No business sign announces the brewery’s site location, and Montgomery said he hopes customers will find their way through hearing about its quality of beers rather than advertising or obtrusive visual markers.

Possibly they’ll raise a flag at some point to let people know doors are open, he said.

“This is kind of like our new funk zone over here,” Max Montgomery said. “It also used to be the end of the city, but the city is growing to the south. We think it will be a really great spot for people who want to come and get a drink after work or gather with friends.”

Other nearby venues to grab a drink include Seven Sisters Brewery, Stephen Ross Wine Cellars and Deovlet Wines — all located in the industrial area behind Trader Joe’s.

Those businesses are mixed in with stores such as Pacific Coast Kitchen & Bath, Art’s Cyclery, Ernie Ball and Precision Motorsports.

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Fitting with its name, There Does Not Exist brewery has no signage on the front of its building, which is located in the industrial area behind Trader Joe’s in San Luis Obispo. Laura Dickinson

Learned to brew in Germany

Montgomery is an experienced brewer whose resume includes formal training in Chicago and Munich, Germany, where his school overlooked the grounds of Oktoberfest. He called the experience in Europe “ground zero for modern brewing.”

There, he worked with 35 like-minded students, he said, whose sole focus was to learn the ins and outs of the craft.

Montgomery brewed at Firestone Walker in Paso Robles for five years from 2011 to 2016.

There Does Not Exist currently features a large indoor seating area with white oak tables and Shepard Fairey artwork (widely known for his Obama “Hope” poster). Fairey pieces include images portraying former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, punk rocker Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, Fidel Castro and Mexican insurgent Subcomandante Marcos.

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There Does Not Exist brewery owner Max Montgomery focuses on producing classic beers with lower alcohol content. Laura Dickinson

Outside patio seating offers picturesque views of SLO hillsides beyond the land of the incoming Avila Ranch housing development.

The plan was to open the business in 2018, but construction and planning delays at the 6,500-square-foot site pushed back the opening.

The brewery opened Labor Day weekend and now features massive fermentation tanks trucked in from Detroit in the brewing portion of the commercial building.

Business hours currently are 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday; and 12 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Wednesday hours could be added in the future.

“We don’t want to be stuck with one flagship beer,” Montgomery said. “But we’ll have a rotating selection of great beers that people can come in and enjoy and have a great experience.”

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Nick Wilson covers the city of San Luis Obispo and has been a reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo since 2004. He also writes regularly about K-12 education, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and Los Osos. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is originally from Ojai.