Joe Wilshire, left, co-owner of Docent Brewing, serves a customer in the brewery’s “public house.”
San Juan Capistrano Mayor Kerry Ferguson, right, presides over a Docent Brewing ribbon-cutting with brewery co-owners, from left, Scott Cortellessa, Joe Wilshire and Brian Hendon.
Docent Brewing’s public house serves food and brews in a social setting.
The chalk board reminds patrons, among other things, that beers are available to go in quart-sized cans.
Victor Geesink, left, and Alex Dehesa play foosball against a backdrop of Docent Brewing kegs.
The San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce hosted a business mixer at Docent Brewing that doubled as a ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the business on May 11.
Brewer Bryan Giesen, foreground, is flanked by Docent Brewing co-owners, from left, Joe Wilshire, Scott Cortellessa and Brian Hendon
San Juan Capistrano is known for its historic Spanish mission, for its migratory birds called swallows, for its indigenous people the Acjachemen, for its equestrian heritage and maybe, now, for its beers?
Joe Wilshire, Brian Hendon and Scott Cortellessa, owners of the town’s first brewery, say they are encouraged by the reception they’ve received since they opened for business on March 27 at 33049 Calle Aviador, in an industrial district bordering San Juan Creek.
Docent Brewing creates craft beers on site and operates “San Juan Capistrano’s Public House,” serving food and a variety of brews in a social setting. Hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 10 Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 7 Sundays.
We asked Wilshire about the enterprise:
How did you come up with the name?
Over the last five years we attempted to get clearance on many different names with no success. Once we connected with our brewer, Bryan Giesen, he had a beer named Docent. As we developed our business philosophy and mission, we realized that Docent was a perfect match for what we wanted to do in the beer industry – guide people through the process of discovering new locally crafted beer.
Why San Juan Capistrano?
We are local guys. Brian Hendon and myself live right across the creek from the brewery. Scott lives in Laguna Beach, right down the road. San Juan Capistrano is a city full of great history and charm. It was always our goal to be San Juan’s first brewery and we made it!
How are things going?
Things have gone as we had hoped. People are embracing the “Public House” vibe we are going for, and we are meeting our neighbors and making new friends every day.
What kind of beers do you do?
Everything except sours. At least for now. We really want to have something for everyone that is willing to explore our beers. That means we hopefully will get people that are making Docent their first brewery experience. For those guests, we offer our “Canteen,” “Self Titled” and maybe our delicious pale ale “Peel Top.” But we also want to have offerings for the seasoned beer connoisseur. Our brewer along with the rest of us Docents are ready to take on that challenge.
How many beers do you plan to do?
We will have a lineup of about 8-10 beers that will remain regulars on our wall, But the great thing about being a small craft brewery is the ability to experiment with different recipes and styles and give our guests the opportunity to explore those tasty creations alongside us. We currently have the equipment necessary to do about 2,500 barrels per year. That may take a little time to hit our max production.
Are your beers available outside the brewery?
Currently our beers are available at several local restaurants and tap rooms that focus on local crafted beer.
What in the founders’ backgrounds led you all to start a brewery?
Brian Hendon has been exploring the craft beer scene since the mid 90s. Brian and Scott are brother in laws, married to sisters. Scott and I have kids the same age that have grown up together. All of our experiences hanging out together, traveling together and enjoying each other’s company always revolved around craft beer. We thought we had some good ideas about creating a local brewery that the community would embrace as a public house — a place to meet your friends and make new ones. So far, so good.
In brief, list five things the community should know about Docent Brewing.
1. Our brewer, Bryan Giesen, is a local. Born and raised in Dana Point. He developed all of his recipes home brewing over the last 10 years.
2. Brian, Scott and myself worked on this project for about five years before we actually got the doors opened.
3. We have a kitchen. Check out our menu online at Docentbrewing.com
4. Kids and dogs are welcome.
5. If you are stopping in for the first time or the 100th time, say hello. We look forward to meeting all of our guests. Cheers!
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