It all started with the gift of a home-brewing kit. In the early years, I brewed mostly Belgian Witbier and consumed the few bottles of Chimay I could find at my small town market. I discovered the Maltose Falcon’s homebrew club and added more brewing equipment to my kitchen. Few of my friends knew about Belgian ales, let alone the blossoming craft beer scene and tasty landscape onto which I had stumbled. Yet in no time, they were drinking it faster than I could brew it. One summer, a batch of ‘bottle-conditioning’ dubbel exploded, and I decided that it might be just as easy to brew 10 barrels, as it was 10 gallons. The brewery dream was born.
I wear many boots at Ladyface Ale Companie. Officially, I am the GM, marketing & distribution department, designer, head floor mopper, and occasional barley sherpa. I’m often referred to as “the lady behind Ladyface,” which sounds glamorous, but chasing down details can be likened to herding cats. I hate lipstick on glassware and wilted flowers on tables. I like filling the recycle bin fuller than the trash can. I love mismatched vintage silverware and the perfectly poured ale. I’ve always been an I-can-do-it-myself type of person, but I knew that this venture needed strengths I lacked, so I surrounded myself with talented people, including my neighbor, friend and brewer Dave Griffiths, who has a special talent for French-Belgian & barrel-aged ales. Our biggest struggle is that there are simply not enough hours in the day.
The fun of owning a brewpub is offering people not just great, local beer, but an experience, as if they have stepped into an old European bistro or a village pub. We strive for innovation and capturing the imagination in a glass. As a boutique brewery, we have the luxury of hand-selling our ales while educating visitors to Ladyface, one pint at a time. That’s why Ladyface staff are all Cicerone®-certified servers.
One of our main goals as a company was to build a beer culture, starting locally. When we opened our doors, we were defining an IPA; now our guests want to know the hop profiles of the different IPAs on tap. They’ve become savvy and opinionated about their beer and the idea exchange on Facebook and Twitter is really fun. Those beer enthusiasts are the people who remind you every day why you make beer. They want Ladyface to succeed, which is humbling and encouraging.
One of the things I love about this business is that the craft beer industry is supportive of its own. In the past three years, I’ve witnessed the Los Angles craft beer industry catch fire; it’s just starting to see its potential as a beer town. We’re still jealous of cities like Portland and San Diego, but more breweries are opening, and beer talents have moved to Los Angeles to be part of this bubbling new landscape. I have encouraged others in their shift from home brewer to commercial brewer. Diversity is good. Each brewery, brewpub, and craft beer establishment feeds and supports their neighborhood in a different way. This is the way to really build not just local beer communities, but a broader beer culture.
Spread the word (and the Ladyface motto) – “Beer makes everything fine.”
– Cyrena Nouzille
Ladyface Ale Companie, established in late 2009 along with its restaurant Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie, brews La Blonde, La Blanche Wit, Blind Ambition Abbey, Trois Filles Tripel, Ladyface® IPA, Chesebro IPA and Picture City Porter as well as seasonal and special occasion ales such as Blue-Belly Barleywine and Dérailleur® Bière-de-Garde. Located northwest of Los Angeles in Agoura Hills, Ladyface was named a 2011 & 2012 Best Brewpub by RateBeer.com. Visit www.ladyfaceale.com for information on Ladyface beers, tours, special events and more.