Written by Todd Martens for The Los Angeles Times
Venture inside the walls of the Disneyland Resort and you’ll encounter numerous wonders rarely found outside of Orange Country. This summer’s reopening of the California Adventure park, for instance, attracted plenty of buzz with the introduction of Cars Land and a host of other rides and attractions not found at any other Disney-branded theme park.
But the objects capable of giving visitors a true buzz have received much less attention.
Relatively unnoticed in the California Adventure makeover is the park’s increased offerings of craft beer. The high-end Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge is a showcase for California-brewed ales, offering selections from Placentia’s the Bruery, San Diego’s Karl Strauss, Petaluma’s Lagunitas and three from Anaheim Brewery.
“We decided our main focus would be on introducing California craft beer,” says Jeannie Villarreal-Bissell, beverage manager for the resort. “Not only are we are supporting California craft breweries, but we’re introducing our guests to new flavors.”
The Anaheim Brewery brand dates to the late 1880s; its current incarnation was revitalized two years ago by husband-and-wife brewmasters Barbara and Greg Gerovac. It’s close to the park — not close enough to be visited by monorail but at just three miles from the resort there are no concerns of the beer at the Disney Resort not being fresh.
Additionally, longtime Disney artists Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily have done freelance design work for Anaheim Brewery. The two have worked on labels for the brewery’s bottling line.
The Disney connection came early for the rebooted Anaheim Brewery. Barbara recalls that Anaheim Brewery was visited by a theme park executive a month after opening its doors, and since then it’s been happily ever after for the brewery.
Disneyland is Anaheim Brewery’s largest account, and the company’s namesake hefeweizen is available throughout California Adventure and the resort’s hotels. The toasty malts of the copper-colored amber lager 1888 can be found at Carthay Circle.
“We wanted to make very approachable beers in traditional styles,” Barbara says. “We don’t really target the beer geek. This is beer for the regular guy.”
She’s quick to add that Anaheim Brewery likely would be outmatched if it went after adventurous spices or more extreme flavoring and praises nearby craft outfits the Bruery and Bootlegger’s.
“If you want something with an incredible mix of flavors you’ve never thought of,” she says, “you’re going to go to the Bruery.”
Or even the Disneyland Resort.