Woody’s starts brewing in Moreno Valley – Coachella Valley connections run deep
There’s something new brewing to the west of Palm Springs. I’m not talking about yet another new brewery opening in Los Angeles. No, this one’s a little closer to home. Moreno Valley. If you’ve been following social media, you’ve probably already heard that Woody’s Brewhouse was on its way.
Woody’s Brewhouse, in addition to being a short drive from Palm Springs, comes with a number of Coachella Valley connections. Firstly, it’s the sister restaurant of Palm Springs’ Woody’s Palm House, owned by valley resident, Wayne Woodliff. The great news about that is, Woody’s Brewhouse beers will also eventually make their way to the Palm Springs location.
Another valley resident, Chris Anderson (founding brewmaster of Coachella Valley Brewing) has been consulting on the brewing operation at Woody’s. Chris was kind enough to share some information, just at the same time as he was getting to work on Woody’s first brew session.
Chris has been quite busy as of late. He’s been working on a few projects, including a national brand (which he wouldn’t name), Bonesaw Brewing in New Jersey, and another neighboring upstart, Joshua Tree Brewing. That’s in addition to working on a variety of innovative brewing projects. But that’s another story for another day.
His first task at Woody’s was to assist in the recruitment of their head brewer, Eric Wickler. Eric comes with quite a resume. Most recently he was the Director of Brewing Operations at Hangar 24. He has a Degree in Food Science, and has also worked for Samuel Adams and Anheuser Busch. While Anheuser might not supply us with the best beer on the market, it does help breed some of craft beer’s best brewmasters. Guys like Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing and Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker learned their trade at Anheuser Busch.
Woody’s new Moreno Valley location was once the home of P.H. Woods. And there’s the next Coachella Valley connection. P.H. Woods was Don Callender’s precursor to Babe’s BBQ in Rancho Mirage, which unfortunately closed shortly after Don passed away. Being a brewpub, the facility came with a complete brew system, one that Chris told me was still in great working condition. Save for a deep clean and a little refitting, it was ready to go. The larger project, he told me, was in refitting the draft beer system.
The brewhouse is a 7-barrel system, with 5 fermenters and 6 bright kettles. With 12 house taps, as well as guest taps, you can be sure that there will be quite a bit of variety. The portfolio will start out with “approachable beers,” with balanced “menu driven” flavor profiles. According to Woody’s website, the first batches will include a Honey Blonde, West Coast IPA, Mexican Lager, Red Ale, American Wheat, and a Milk Stout. Chris also mentioned a Smoked Porter, which seems highly appropriate given that Woody’s also inherited P.H. Woods’ smoker. Their first beers should be on tap within the next 2 weeks.
While Woody’s in Moreno Valley will draw heavily from the menu and experience of their Palm Springs location, it will be tailored to the local neighborhood, as well as creating synergy with the brewhouse. The smoker is one notable addition, and they also have a lunchtime buffet bar. They’ll also have nightly live music.
I’ve been following this project since it was first announced a few months ago, and it’s created quite a buzz. There are some thirsty palates waiting in Moreno Valley. It’s been almost a decade since P.H. Woods stopped brewing, and there hasn’t been another brewery in Moreno Valley since. There’s a BJ’s, but it’s not a brewery (their beer comes from another location).
So, Woody’s Brewhouse is going to be a welcome addition to the local community. It will also be a nice diversion for Coachella Valley residents, especially as part of our usual beer detours of Redlands, Riverside, and San Bernardino. Even better will be the day that Woody’s beers make their way to the Pam Springs location.
26060 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553