by Rachel Hommel
Brewer Sessions is a monthly Q&A with your neighborhood brewer, keeping visitors and locals of Ventura thirsty. Read on for what makes that perfect pint.
A diligent homebrewer for over a decade, Head Brewer Mike Morrison always dreamed of turning his passion project into a full-time venture. Partnering with lifelong friend and fellow Ventura native Seth Gibson, MadeWest was born. Growing the business from the roots up, they raised capital among friends and family, investing in a space that reflects the heart of Ventura and its local community. Inspired by a spirit of adventure, creative thinking, and the great outdoors, MadeWest represents Ventura’s unique character. With a passion for good beer and the good life, Morrison and I chat about craft beer and Ventura vibes, behind the bottle.
How long have you been brewing? When did you realize you wanted to brew professionally?
Morrison: I used to manage work comp claims. Not very cool, but I was able to work from home which made homebrewing very convenient. After about 10 years of homebrewing, I started professionally brewing since we opened MadeWest in Jan 2016.
Ventura is refreshingly human. If Ventura could be characterized in a beer, what beer style and flavor profile would it encompass?
I’d say the majority of Ventura is or was Coors light and then more recently 805 but I think us local craft brewers have improved that scene, infiltrating Ventura with some real flavor. Not to say the people were all light and flavorless but the demand for quality craft beer has increased significantly.
Venture Out. When not brewing, what is your favorite outdoor activity? (and which MadeWest beer comes along for the ride?)
I love being outdoors and miss brewing outside as a homebrewer. I like to surf, bike ride, hike or just hang in the sun at the beach. A MadeWest IPA pairs well with all four, but if you really want to be adventurous I recommend a NEIPA!
As is our beer, Ventura is clean, crisp, flavorful, and refreshing.
Eat. Drink. Repeat. What is your favorite meal in Ventura? Which of your beers pairs best?
I always love some ahi ceviche at Lure Fish House paired with a MadeWest Pale.
As a native, what does Ventura mean to you as a city? How does it influence your style of brewing?
It is a beautiful city full of adventure, creative thinking and respect for the outdoors. As is our beer, Ventura is clean, crisp, flavorful, and refreshing. The majority of our beers are bursting with bright citrus and fruit forward hop aromatics. Don’t let May gray or June gloom get you down, we’ve put that hazy influence to use in our Northeast IPA’s.
Finish this sentence. If I wasn’t brewing beer, I would be…
The guy indecisively still standing in the beer aisle while my wife is not so patiently waiting for me.
What’s your favorite spot in Ventura to drink a brew, when not at the tasting room?
Fluid State has a relaxed vibe with a California focused rotating menu. The owners are great people and very passionate about what they are doing and it shows.