The Smog City family — Laurie, Emmett and Jonathan “Porter” Porter. Photo courtesy Laurie Porter
A new craft beer movement has begun, and husband and wife Laurie and Jonathan Porter arrived just in time. Smog City Brewing, the couple’s craft brewery, recently celebrated its one year anniversary and its recent expansion to a new brewery in Torrance.
Porter, the head brewer at Tustin Brewing Company, started brewing his own specialized batches with the excess brewing capacity at his work. While continuing his work in Tustin, the couple has been building public awareness of Smog City’s imminent South Bay arrival. The couple is ready to leave Tustin and go into production full-time at their new location.
“We always wanted to be our own bosses,” Laurie said. “When you put so much time and effort into something you love so much, you want to be the boss and do what you want and what you think is right.”
Their beers have been a hit with bars, restaurants and individuals since the beginning. Their main sellers have been their Saison and Groundwork Coffee Porter. The most unique part of their production is their experimentation and unique blends. Because they are so small, they are better able to play around with tastes and types to create beers completely new to a beer-lover’s pallet. Their “Weird Beer,” a 5-grain Saison, was recently tapped at an L.A Beer Festival event, and from the first sip they knew they were going to have to make a bigger batch.
“Five months in, after we started selling and taking accounts we had to set up a waiting list,” said Laurie. “We’re a small production brewery – it’s not like we’re Budweiser or even Strand or Monkish. We’re brewing such a small amount, but the reception has been incredible.”
The couple began brewing six years ago, beginning with an at-home brewing system. When they both lost their jobs simultaneously, Porter decided to follow his dream. Laurie, who does freelance photography, followed her husband’s lead. Porter was drawn to brewing because it is a blend of art and science. It satisfies both his creative side and his mantra to “never stop learning.”
“Since we’ve known each other we’ve worked well together,” said Laurie. “And we knew that whatever we would be doing we’d end up being a team.”
Their timing appears ideal. “There’s such a thirst for this new craft movement in this city,” said Laurie. “Whether its farmers market, home-brewing or craft beers, people want to know their producer and who they’re buying from.”
Laurie said that chefs are among those increasingly asking for their beer.
“We’ve been getting great reception from them,” said Laurie. “For us that shows that we’re succeeding in what we’re aiming for. We’re a well-balanced foodie beer.”
The pair plan on building their brewery in Torrance industrial and raw, designed just like the inside of a brewing house.
“You’re gonna walk in and it’s going to be a cold storage unit with taps on the wall,” said Laurie. “You’re going to have a perfect view of the brewing system. You’re coming to see where the beer is made and that’s going to be part of the experience.”
When open, Smog City will be located at 1901 Del Amo in Torrance. Visit http://smogcitybeer.wordpress.com to see upcoming events or call 310-989-8202. B