We severely underestimated how long it was going to take to drive from Seattle to Los Angeles and therefore decided to do the 450km stretch from Arcata to San Francisco without making any stops apart from coffee and lunch. Things were going to plan, until I spotted a sign on the side of Highway 101 for the Ukiah Brewing Company…
My mate held the driving responsibilities, but he agreed to call in for a look, even if it meant we’d lose a bit of time and he wouldn’t be able to consume as many beers as he would like to.
UBC was established in 2000 and holds the distinction of being the first certified organic brewpub and the second certified organic restaurant in the USA. We caught up with Head Brewer, and fellow metalhead, Scott Jones who told us that he learned his craft from the former Brew Master, who was with UBC until 2009. The brewpub is located in the Marks Building in the centre of Ukiah and footage of Scott’s band, Autonomist playing at the historic venue can be found here.
Scott also spent some time under the tutelage of Hubert Germain-Robin from nearby Germain-Robin Brandy and it’s easy to spot this influence when he talks about his preference for brewing traditional 1800s styles of beer. Scott also mentioned that he likes to challenge the palate of the loyal locals by making minor adjustments to each batch and is more than impressed by their ability to pick these changes up.
Scott mentioned that he has brewed eighteen styles at UBC and we were lucky enough to sample two of those while we were there – the Willits Wit, a wheat/ale hybrid brewed with orange peel and coriander, and the Lunar Harvest Ale.
All of UBC’s beers are bottled by hand, or hand-canned in an old 1980s single seamer. We took a six-pack of their Pilsner Ukiah away with us and Scott assured us that it is the only hand-canned organic beer in the USA.
UBC may not be distributing outside of Ukiah at the moment, but two full cans have made their way back to Australia with us. Collectors’ items in the future, no doubt…