This Thursday (March 31st) the highly anticipated Dionysus Brewing Company tasting room opens to the public. Bakersfield’s newest brewery is already creating some serious buzz in the local craft beer community. From their unique brewing direction to their conversation and beer focused tasting room Dionysus is ready to offer locals a new and intriguing beer tasting experience.
The owners of Dionysus - Kyle Isbell, Kenny Patterson, Kyle Pittser and Sandra Quigley - have been working hard to get this brewery off the ground and the sours (a woefully underrepresented beer style in Bakersfield) are downright tasty. Sure, they will have some of the more familiar styles on tap such as: a honey blond ale cleverly named Insert Area Code Here, a porter called Porter for Pres. ’16, an IPA with Mosaic hops, an American wheat ale, a cream ale and a saison but the exciting part for me (and many others) will be the sours. Confirmed in the tasting room for the public opening are; Golden Noir sour, Super Funkadelic gose and Berlinersfield berliner weisse. They also have some barrel aged beers on the horizon and will regularly have them on tap. The first will be a strawberry version of the Berlinersfield Berliner weisse. Currently they are using French oak, Syrah, pinot and rosé barrels with average aging being from 3 to 12 months.
Sour beers are created by using wild yeast strains or bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Brettanomyces and Pediococcus. That’s about as far I’m going to go on the science part since I have no idea what I’m talking about and I don’t want to copy from Wikipedia verbatim. What I do know is that when done right, sour beers have a satisfying tart flavor to them that complements the sweet, earthy and bitter notes typically found in beers.
The brewery’s focus on beer can’t be understated. There won’t be a kitchen, TVs showcasing your favorite sports-ball team, giant Jenga game or twister mats, just plenty of bar top space for leaning and barrels, lots and lots of barrels. Some of those barrels have been converted into high-top tables others are devoted to aging delicious beer. The 3 ½ barrel capacity brewing equipment is also right there in the tasting room and creates a really cool industrial vibe that complements the modest location. The décor and finishing touches were all done in-house by the owners themselves or close friends which suggests authenticity and presents a very unpretentious, welcoming atmosphere. The deep red stain on the bar top is stunning and provides a beautiful contrast to the golden hue of your beer.
Distribution is certainly a goal for Dionysus. The first keg (Golden Noir) went to the Lengthwise L3 (Marketplace) location which is on tap now. They plan to have more taps around town soon. Another goal, a little farther out, is bottling for sale at local bottle shops. They do limited bottling now for their Olympus Barrel Society which is a member’s only distribution group. The Society, which filled up within a matter of hours last summer when the inaugural enrolment opened, is currently closed to new members. They plan to open up for a second enrolment sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. Members get an allotment of two bottles of each of the five special releases throughout the year, a special society member’s only glass and gold membership card, an in-house discount, a t-shirt and first dibs on events and other special releases.
Starting Thursday Dionysus will be open Monday – Friday 4PM – 9PM, Saturday 12PM – 9PM and Sunday 11AM – 5PM. The beers will be offered in four vessels for you enjoyment; a 5 oz. taster pour, a 12 oz. snifter, a 16 oz. pint and a 32 oz. growler for consumption off premises. Although they won’t have a kitchen, they will have snacks available for purchase and are looking into working with food trucks in the future. The brewery/tasting room is located on the south west side of town at 6201 Schirra Ct. Ste 13.
With the increasing popularity of sours and the desire of craft beer geeks, snobs, casual drinkers, newcomers and old guard to try new and exciting local beers, Dionysus is bursting onto the scene at just the right time. Despite the slightly obscure location, the community buzz and creative direction should prove to make this a successful craft beer destination with tons of potential for growth and sustainability. Dionysus Brewing Company is finally here and offers Bakersfield the opportunity to Drink Something New Today.