In the late seventies Brew Master Bob Smith, founder of the HOMEBREWERS Guild, dreamed of opening a small brewery specializing in craft beers. Excursions to buy brewing supplies led Bob to Ken Grossman's Homebrew Shop in Chico, California. After Ken shared his plans to build Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, Bob became determined to build a craft brewery in Humboldt County.
In 1989 construction began on what we know as Mad River Brewing Co. nestled in Humboldt County adjacent to the Mad River in Blue Lake, CA. During this start up year the locals enjoyed a good number of amazing brews as Bob and his small crew experimented and created the awesomeness we drink today.
Production and sales continued to grow and in December, 1990 the first weekly deliveries of Mad River Steelhead draft reached the local taverns. Within the next two months Mad River had purchased Sierra Nevada's bottling line they had outgrown and Steelhead Extra Pale Ale was bottled and distributed throughout Humboldt County.
Demand for this great quality beer grew through the early 90's. Now Mad River Brewing was sharing the great taste of Steelhead with those outside of Humboldt Co. Through the next decade Brew Master Bob Smith handed over the breweries management responsibilities and focused on what he truly loved; creating high quality handcrafted beer. His recipes are still brewed today right here in Humboldt County using some of the cleanest, freshest tasting water in the world. With our current Brew Master, Dylan Schatz, at the helm of our brew house we continue this hands-on traditional brewing method.
Our award winning ales have become renowned for their unique flavor profile and consistent quality.Â Steelhead Extra Pale Ale and John Barleycorn Barleywine have received gold medals at The Great American Beer Festival, the most prominent award in our industry.Â Mad River is perhaps best known for our Steelhead Brand Ales, including our flagship Extra Pale and our Extra Stout, a Scotch Porter and Double IPA. We also produce the popular Jamaica Brand, originally produced for the legendary Reggae on the River festival in Northern California. Our annual fall seasonal release of John Barleycorn Barleywine is very limited, eagerly anticipated and quick to sell out.Â In 2009 we added the Artisan Reserve Series which includes Serious Madness Black Ale, Double Dread Imperial Red Ale, and Humboldt Haze Imperial Wheat IPA.Â All equally received by our customers.
The brewery has always been about the beer and the hard working people that show up for work every day to produce the best handcrafted ales to share with family, friends and the rest of the world! Their dedication to Mad River's Mission statement, "to produce the highest quality craft beer possible" has brought us to our third decade of production. There have been many changes in the last two decades, but one thing that never changes is the quality of the beer that this little plant on Taylor Way brews every day.
To all of our friends: As long as we are able, We lift our glasses from the Mad River table. Cheers!
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