Interview with OC Beer Society founder Ron Bland

OC Beer Society

Sandwiched between San Diego’s established craft beer culture and the growing community in Los Angeles, Orange County is a region with a lot of potential. Following the success of the recent OC Brew HaHa and October’s OC beer week, craft beer in Orange County is percolating and a serious revolution is starting to take off. Over the past few years, establishments like The Bruery, Noble Ale Works, and Pizza Port San Clemente have helped convert the taste buds of residents and are making good beer more accessible than ever.

So what’s Orange County’s craft beer future? We asked founder of the OC Beer Society Ron Bland to share his perspective.

1. Let’s start from the beginning, why was the OC Beer Society created and how did it come to be?

OC Beer Society was started in December of 2007 while I was working for Back Street Brewery’s Ladera Ranch location (now closed). Originally it was started to help me hone my brewer’s pallet by tasting different examples of specific beer styles and how they differed from brewery to brewery & it quickly evolved from there.

2. The society just held it’s monthly meeting, Afternoon of Sours, this past weekend and it doesn’t sound at all like your typical organizations’ meeting. What goes on during the meetings and how can we attend?

Afternoon of  Sours is one of the 3-4 larger gatherings that we hold throughout the year in which we bring in harder to find examples of beers that highlight a popular style- in this case sours, also known a wild ales.

Every month we hold a ‘meeting’ of some kind, everything from simple bottle-shares to beer dinners to gatherings like AoS & anyone can attend as long as space provides.

3. Orange County is somewhat unique in that its spread out and for the most part is only accessible by car. What kind of impact have you seen this have on the beer culture here? 

Seems like a good majority of beer-centric locations are in Northern OC, but it is slowly creeping further south. With more bars starting to carry more craft beer selections, the general public is being exposed more and more to great beer. Then you have places like Selma’s Taproom in Rancho Santa Margarita & Ladera Ranch and the soon to open Bru in Lake Forest. The local scene seems to be growing nicely.

4. What kind of potential do you see for craft beer in Orange County?

I see the potential for OC to grow in the next 10 years to the the level SD has achieved. Just look at all the new production breweries that have popped up in just the last twelve months, not to mention the ones planning on opening their doors in the coming year.

5. What does the future hold for the OC Beer Society and what kind of events can we start looking forward to?

We are steadily growing every month, fine-tuning as we go, but with the planned relaunch of our expanded website we expect 2012 to show us growth as never before. As far as gatherings to start looking forward to, our next big one will hopefully be in February 2012 and will be centered around barrel aged beers.

A big thanks to Ron for spending some time with us. Keep an eye on OCBeerSociety.com and the OCBS Facebook Page for information on future meetings and events. Cheers and enjoy craft beer!

– Philippe

This was originally written for and posted on the Tap Hunter Blog

Philippe Gagnon is the founder and writer for Craft Beer Culture. Currently residing in Orange County, California, you can find him at the local brewery drinking craft beer or online through FacebookTwitter, and .

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