I live in the Anaheim Colony Historic District in an old house. Among the loud trains that go down my street, Walt Disney’s Firework Explosion Annoyance Spectacular, Ghetto Birds flying around, Mexican Banda Musica blaring from car stereos, neighbors that shoot bottle rockets year round, wild parrots that caw at 5AM, constant sirens, gun shots, dogs barking, the ex-trumpet player of No Doubt down the street and the constant smell of burritos, there exists Bradley Daniels of Peace Brewing.
One can’t just purchase a beer brewed by Peace Brewing. It must be obtained by invitation to one of the coolest old Craftsman houses in the five square miles of the Anaheim Colony. I was lucky enough to meet Brad at one of our neighborhood monthly potlucks, where Brad said “oh my God, YOU are Greg? Man I read your posts on Facebook…you’re a freak!”. Yep, that’s me. I had my invitation. Weeks went by and we met up at Bootleggers Brewery in Fullerton with his lovely smiley wife, Daira. We talked beer, old time Anaheim, good Mexican food, OC Punk Rock of the early 80’s. We drank Bootleggers Golden Chaos aged in Brandy Barrels for a year. Holy shit that beer was like a cherry sour dipped in Brandy! I’ll never forget it. Great company with great beer is always a win-win!
Weeks went by and I finally got the chance to check out Peace Brewing at the AHP Brew Club Monthly meeting. It was totally overwhelming of course, meeting some very talented brewers in a personal setting. I got the brewery tour and was in awe. Kind of like the pool scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High as a twelve year old boy. The brewery exists in a converted garage; it contains a bar, brewing area, four taps, a table, a men’s room with urinal, a temp controlled fermentation room and industrial fridge. My first impression: cozy and functional. The beer is more than just a beverage, I felt like I had been stumbling through a desert for days and found beer tap hanging out of a tree.
Brad quickly burns taps and brews up another batch. Newer brewers use modern technology to help their fermented goods. Brad uses pencil and an old notebook to keep track of recipes, gravity readings etc. There’s something so elemental about it and he makes it look easy. The beers he brews are far from primitive. On my first visit he had ESB, Wheat, IPA and Porter. The porter was served with Nitrogen gas, making it pour similar to Guinness giving it that sexy waterfall look with a pillowy cream head. The ESB and Wheat were outstanding showcases for the styles, and the IPA. Yes, the IPA…weighing in at 8% ABV: “Doesn’t 8% qualify as a double?” “nah, I don’t think so”. Man, Peace Brewing IPA could be sold in stores. Citrus and pine on the nose, fruity finish, very easy drinking 8%.
Aside from the brewery, Brad and Daira have transformed their back yard into a zen like place to relax with a raised koy pond and deck. A hammock sits off in the distance next to a 10X scale home-made lawn Jenga game. A large angular avocado tree provides shade on a hot day. The interior of their house is typical of an early 1900′s Crafstman with many built in cabinets and storage. They’ve only lived here three years, making everyone feel like huge under-achievers with their place! It looks and feels like its been lived in for decades!
Both Brad and Daira are also two of the nicest and down to earth people I’ve had the pleasure to meet and hang out with in recent years. Brad has a cool old punk rock vibe. If he told me he played stand-up bass in an experimental blues band, I’d believe him. Daira is always adorned with a warm smile and quick to offer up a cold beer. Their cool attitude and amazing home is truly inspiring! I wouldn’t be surprised to see their house featured in Sunset magazine, or a Beer Porn magazine if such a thing existed.
All I have to say is I’m happy to have Brad and Daira as friends so I can enjoy this little bit of paradise in Anaheim!
Thee Beer Book Blog: Features very nice photos of the brewery itself.