I’m not a frequenter of the unincorporated town of Fallbrook and, hence, was unaware of the weekly exodus that occurs when its residents pick up and head out in search of good times, Friday through Sunday. This phenomenon was recently explained to me by the McLaughlins, a familial Fallbrook-based quartet who are in the processing of opening a brewery and tasting room in the heart of the community to help compel its citizens to stay put and enjoy some locally produced craft beer. Fittingly, their business will go by the name Fallbrook Brewing Company (136 N. Main Avenue, Fallbrook).
The drivers for this project are Chuck and Stephan McLaughlin, brothers who heavily contemplated opening a brewery for several years before Chuck’s wife Jaime gave them the push they needed by evoking a popular lavatory-based ultimatum. Rather than get off the pot, the brothers went all in, bringing Jaime and Stephan’s wife, Jenn, in on their master plan.
Located in the heart of Fallbrook’s downtown, FBC inherits a space that used to be home to a consignment shop for women’s apparel. After signing the lease, Chuck, a long-time construction superintendent, ripped out a multi-layered roof. When doing so, he reserved the wood and put that material to use in building a pair of long, high tables, rail bars and the main tasting bar. Earth tones accented by collages of black-and-white photos featuring street signs and other scenes from Fallbrook will add character to what, despite not yet being complete, has the makings of the type of place that will have the appeal to keep locals local.
According to the McLaughlins, many of Fallbrook citizens head north to Temecula, south to Vista or west to Oceanside to do their drinking. Chuck admits that he used to fall into this category, frequenting spots like Iron Fist Brewing Company, Mother Earth Brew Co., and Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey, because the majority of the taps in his neighborhood dispense macrobeer, and what little craft beer is available merely scrapes the surface of the medium. So, in addition to helping to galvanize his neighbors, FBC’s establishment will also keep Chuck close to home.
A homebrewer with nearly five years experience, Chuck is in charge of FBC’s five-barrel system, from which he will create a line-up of five staple beers, all of which are named after Fallbrook streets—Stagecoach Stout, Sleeping Indian IPA, Reche Road Rye, Calavo Cream Ale, Wilt Road Wit. But Chuck won’t stop there. A fan of the fruity, spicy character of Belgian yeast, he plans to brew up several Belgo-inspired beers including a saison made with avocado blossom honey. Hoppy beers are also in line to appease the personal tastes of Stephan, who is handling the brewery’s business side with help in accounting and volunteer coordination from Jaime and Jenn, respectively.
Once up and running, FBC will be open Wednesday through Sunday. The McLaughlins plan to keep their beer very close to home, selling all of it at their tasting room and at a few Fallbrook accounts through the first year. At that point, they will reassess and, if business is healthy and there is fulfillable demand, they will distribute their beer outside home sweet home. But for now, it’s all about Fallbrook, which from the sounds of it, is exactly what Fallbrook can use.