UCSB graduate alumnus Jaime Dietenhofer and award-winning brewer Jason Courtney recently opened the Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company in Buellton, California.
Dietenhofer and Courtney launched the new Santa Barbara establishment during last Thanksgiving weekend. After graduating from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management in 2002, Dietenhofer spent his post-graduate years as founder of a garage remodeling business and a city planner.
Courtney is a Texas native and winner of the Great American Beer Festival award for “Small Brew Pub Brew Master of the Year” in 2002. Jason’s wife, Sarah Courtney, is the FMBC’s taproom and tasting room manager.
FMBC is open Thursday through Monday and, according to Sarah Courtney, business in the new location has been excellent since its initiation.
“It has been packed every night,” Sarah Courtney said. “It is the eighth brewery we’ve opened and [business] is comparable to breweries in towns with no other breweries.”
Sarah Courtney said the tasting room is a family-friendly space where snacks, like Full of Life Flatbread pizza from Los Alamos, can be sampled alongside FMBC’s brews and local wines.
“The best-selling beer is Hoppy Poppy IPA and second is Davy Brown Ale,” Sarah Courtney said. “Those are our flagship beers.”
Three other FMBC brews — Danish Red Lager, Wrangler Wheat and Paradise Road Pilsner — are also available on tap at several bars and restaurants in central California, such as Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos and HobNob Tavern in Santa Barbara.
According to HobNob proprietor Michelle Mastrangelo, the brewery came to the tavern’s attention when one of the company’s bartenders “raved” about his tasting experience at FMBC.
“We’ve had a great response to it,” Mastrangelo said. “People really, really enjoy it. They’re the only beer we do on tap. As soon as they start bottling it, we’re looking to carry more.”
Mastrangelo said FMBC’s Hoppy Poppy IPA and Danish Red Lager are innovative tastes that anyone can enjoy.
“I’m not a big beer drinker, but the red ale is so smooth,” Mastrangelo said. “It’s definitely a girl’s beer, for sure. The other one we carry has more of a citrus taste to it. I’ve never had a beer like it. I’m definitely a fan.”
According to Sarah Courtney, new local vendors are expressing interest in selling the brews and the company will begin individually bottling the beers within the next 60-90 days.