About Gunwhale Ales
Gunwhale Ales is an independently owned and operated brewery & blendery, with taprooms in Costa Mesa and Orange, California. Our beers strike a balance between the raw, wild spirit of farmhouse brewing, and the pioneering hop forward styles of California. We have an obsession with yeast driven Saisons, hoppy IPAs, and other rustic, wild and sour beers. This gives our beers uncommon qualities that are both surprisingly delicate and nuanced, yet refined and robust in their simplicity. From bright, billowy summer ales to rustic, fortifying stormers that stand up to the rougher seas, Gunwhale makes beers that reflect the culinary and cultural heritage of the West Coast.
“GUNWHALE” is a name inspired by a prior era. It means the top ridge of a boating vessel (now more commonly known as a gunnel). Its name is derived from the place where a gun is attached to a ship in order to fend off any threats to the voyage. We think our name is a curious, unique and memorable one, but we were most inspired by its use in the Old West.
“Loaded to the gunwhales”, meant overflowing, and was slang for having tipped back a few too many fermented beverages. Where we were raised has history as a coastal territory with a rough surf, a land fertile for growing (hence the citrus groves lending its name), and a place of exploration. Some of its facade has changed....however its soul has not. Now, just like back then, life in California is about living wild-hearted on the frontier of the world. Let us not forget how to enjoy such a lucky fate!
PRESERVE THE WILD
It was the self-reliance and optimism of the explorers and pioneers who crossed vast and distant oceans to arrive here; they made their way to the West through uncharted trails, discovering a rustic landscape that was majestic and fertile.
These were rugged people living on the frontier, literally and figuratively, helping one another in the building of a new world. And from the Old World, they brought along their most cherished traditions: among them the art of brewing. They include the farmers, ranchers, the natives, the cowboys, the anglers, the hunters, the speculators, the missionaries, and even the outlaws.
We are inspired by how the natural wealth continues to produce the culture on this wild coast, and we hope to preserve the wilderness through a lifestyle of craft food and beverage. We think the fact that society has taken a step back and has begun to re-evaluate and demand more natural, sustainable and quality products, is very promising.
However, the battle for better beer is still in its infancy, and obfuscation and less than savory tactics are prevalent. This project is our effort to do things right, to educate, and create something special. This quote / drawing on our taproom wall sums it up nicely...
Like the ocean collides with the shore, Gunwhale holds the line between the European farmhouse tradition and the bold, West Coast styles that California made famous. We call these “Coastal Ales”, evoking the untamed coastline and the expansiveness of the ocean to replace the rolling hills and plains of the inland farms. The same isolation and rugged terrain that inspired the farmhouse style is found on the open ocean, and against the rugged coastline of California.
Gunwhale Ales push hops, yeast, and unexpected malt bills toward new territory that captures the spirit of our region. As shown in it's history, California remains a place of cultural and culinary diversity, and the beer we make will reflect a balanced influence of local flavor. Our beer will be both delicate and robust — layered flavors, slightly unpredictable yeast strains, wild bacteria, and hybrid styles that evoke a native, adventurous spirit. But they will all be produced with a technical edge that elicits praise for their quality, mouthfeel, and aromatics that draw in the discerning beer drinker. They will often sound familiar, but they will surprise and challenge expectations.
Beers made by Gunwhale Ales
Follow Gunwhale Ales
on Social Media
Tap into the Costa Mesa
Craft Beer Scene
Find Costa Mesa breweries "near me" with this interactive map, list and guide to locally-made craft beers.Visit the Costa Mesa Beer Guide