Getting Crafty: A hobby becomes a hit for 2 SCV friends

Geoff Pocock, left, and Todd Tisdell, right, stand at the bar of Pocock Brewing Co. in Valencia. The pair opened the brewery a year ago this weekend. (Katharine Lotze / The Signal)

Geoff Pocock and Todd Tisdell’s beers weren’t always good. As homebrewers just starting out, they sometimes had trouble finding friends to taste-test their creations.

But it started to get better. And better.

And then people started asking them to bring beer to parties.

“We did it for long enough that our beer started to get pretty good,” Tisdell said.

pocock_beer-glassSo, in 2013, they “started down the path” of opening the now year-old Pocock Brewing Co. in Valencia.

Pocock and Tisdell are brothers-in-law, and live in Castaic. They saw a rising demand for craft beer in the Santa Clarita Valley, and saw an opening. They started with social media posts, gathering a following before they even opened their doors.

Their official “we’re open!” announcement was just a photo of their operating hours posted to their social media accounts — and people came.

“We’ve had people ever since,” Tisdell said.

They’re now brewing 18 different styles of beer, some using the same recipes that they engineered as homebrewers. But they’ve added new flavors too, like the Saison Gimlet. Pocock wanted to capture the flavors of a gin gimlet in a beer, and brewed a batch flavored with juniper berries, basil, and lime. The concoction doesn’t have gin in it, and has never seen the inside of a gin barrel, but it’s so far been a hit with customers.

“It’s still a beer, and it still looks like a beer,” Pocock said.

Family serves as a big inspiration for the brews at Pocock. The pair created a beer just for Pocock’s sister’s wedding: Nuptials, which combines Pocock’s English heritage with the ale-style, and her husband’s Filipino heritage using mango, the unofficial national fruit of the nation.

Even Tisdell’s daughter, Emma, 13, has been able to have a say in the creation and naming of beers. She suggested that her dad and uncle make a beer that tasted like a banana cream pie — and Pocock and Tisdell delivered with Emma’s Clown Car, a hefeweisen that became so popular, the brewery had to make it part of the permanent collection, instead of just seasonal.

“People get mad when they’re not on tap,” Tisdell said of the brewery’s core group of beers. And on tap is the only place devoted followers will find Pocock’s beers so far, except for a few bars and restaurants that carry their kegs.

But that might change next year. As Pocock Brewing Co. looks to expand, but stay located in the SCV, devotees may be able to take home a few bottles of Pocock brew next year.

“We entered into a market that was looking for craft,” Tisdell said, and they brought a good product.

The brewery celebrates its one year anniversary on Dec. 3, with a beer festival. Fifteen breweries, including Pocock, of course, will be on-hand, pouring their wares, and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Castaic and Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundations.
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