Out came the old wooden church pews, making way for a complete remodel that included a larger bar and a functional refrigerated room. More importantly, however, Martinez ushered in his passion for high-end beer and a vast, ever-changing selection of brews.
He established a scene for true beer aficionados. The Alehouse has 23 taps flowing at all times and rotates through as many as 450 different varieties of beer a year.
“The key to our success has been being true to what we are,” Martinez explains. “There’s a lot of beer talk here. We get people coming in from all over. They know to come here for something that’s really good.”
It turns out that beer drinking can be just as high-end a culinary experience as wine drinking. In the winter months, the selections gravitate toward darker offerings like porters, stouts and barleywines. In the summer, lighter varieties begin to appear.
At any given time, the Alehouse has four or five selections of IPAs (India Pale Ales), an extremely popular style in Northern California and beyond. The hoppy ale has its origins in the mid-18th century,
when English sailing ships would export the brew to India.
On June 7-8, the Alehouse will host an IPA Festival that will include 20 varieties of IPAs on tap and another 10 in bottles. Participants will receive a special glass designed to “open up” the hops of the beer. Tickets are $35 for one day or $50 for both, and the event will include acoustic music.
In addition, the establishment regularly holds specialty events for women who want to increase their knowledge of beer and expand their palates. Alehouse server Lindsie Lefort will lead the next women’s tasting on June 1.
“I don’t want (women) to feel intimidated when they walk into a bar,” says Lefort. “I want them to have a beer backbone. I want them to know the styles and know their beers. Having me lead it probably helps because it’s not as intimidating. They can approach me with any question.”
At the Alehouse, the names of the beers, breweries and alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage appear on a huge chalkboard behind the bar. Martinez has developed relationships with distributors who help him bring in a wide assortment of craft selections. Some of the breweries the pub features include Lagunitas, Mad River, Russian River, Stone, Deschutes, Mendocino, Firestone Walker, Rogue and many others. The Alehouse also typically has at least one tap devoted to Redding’s new Wildcard Brewery.
“They do have beers for aficionados, but they’re not haughty or snooty about it,” explains Ben Moulton, who has been enjoying the Alehouse for the past three years. “They’re so humble in their approach. They’re very knowledgeable and they’re ready and willing to help you find a beer that fits your palate. I like quality, and they have quality taps.”
Martinez, who owns the pub with his wife Shellie, is a native of San Jose who has been living in the North State for 13 years.
“What I enjoy is that you can have a guy in a leather vest and a guy in a suit and they’re talking and having a great time,” Martinez says. “They have nothing in common except beer. It’s what everyone has in common here. It’s pretty fun.” •
IPA Festival • June 7-8, Redding Alehouse
2181 Hilltop Drive, Redding
Featuring 20 varieties of IPAs on tap and another 10 in bottles
Tickets $35 for one day, $50 for both;
includes a special glass and acoustic music