SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — The blaring sound of a trumpet pierces the underground brewery. Darker lighting casts shadows on the red paint around the room. The blues whispering in the background reminds one of a forbidden speakeasy in the brick-laden bar.
Armstrong Brewery recently underwent renovation in their South San Francisco location. Originally stationed at a humble Bayshore location, the brewing company recently transferred into a roomier space downtown, which features much larger, newly equipped stainless steel beer vats.
Fresh brews are never an issue at Armstrong. Nick Armstrong, creator and mastermind of the brewery, began the search for the new location in 2014. He spoke about how he wanted to expand his brewery and how it has become a hit in South San Francisco.
“This place used to be a social hall in 1918,” Armstrong said. “When we built this space a lot of folks came here and said, ’This looks like it belongs in the city.’ Its in the South City and they love that.”
Armstrong said that he builds the community around their beer, and that they have expanded their loyal following since the renovation. According to Armstrong, their brewery has grown in popularity because they continue to be engaged with their customers and started featuring a vast array of live music. Armstrong Brewing is also family-friendly.
Creating an open atmosphere
Their menu includes fan favorites, such as a grilled cheese bacon sandwich paired with a side of M&Ms, and of course, their South City Brown Beer.
“We have the world’s greatest kids menu for the world’s biggest kids,” Armstrong said, laughing.
“There wasn’t a lot of evening things to do [in South San Francisco] and that has changed since we’ve been here. We definitely have people that come in every week, especially now that we have live music generally on a regular basis.”
Jason Cardoso is one of the co-owners managing marketing for Armstrong Brewing. After his first beer at the brewery, Cardoso said he wanted to begin a partnership with the business.
“We’re one of the only breweries where every night we’re open an owner is working,” Cardoso said. “This gives our patrons the opportunity and access to ask or provide feedback about our beers and brewery real time.”
Armstrong said he believes in the quality of their beer and the experience. They also advocate to socialize with others, and to not have televisions and cell phones distracting patrons. The brewery does not partake in happy hour, which has worked for the brewery by strengthening the community, according to Armstrong.
“There’s no happy hour, Armstrong said. “You come here to enjoy yourself. It’s not about cheap beer and snacks. We think our products are good and fairly priced. I have yet to run across a brewery that does what we do. To me, nobody hits the styles we do. No one tries to hit that balance of flavor that we do here. We strive for honest feedback, giving people the experience that they want and the beer that they want.”
Armstrong Brewery plans to partake in the Great American Beer Festival and concurrent contest in Denver, Colorado, and is confident about placing for their Mose Gose, South City Brown and their 415 Fog.
“We have hope that these beers will show well, as the Gose is very well-balanced between the tart and salt, while the 415 Fog is just a solid California Common, and customers have been very impressed with the malt layering in the South City Brown.”
They are also preparing for the release of their newest brew called The Red Velvet Saison, debuting in April.