As a way to welcome Lucky Luke Brewing to the Santa Clarita Valley, Jaime Hernandez, co-owner of Telco Brewery in Santa Clarita, had the idea of collaborating with the competition on a beer they’d come to call Four Corners.
A similar collaborative effort had taken place a few years back, said Laina McFerren, co-founder of Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewing Company.
“The last one that we did was pre-COVID, just shortly after, I believe, Draconum and Telco had opened,” McFerren told The Signal during a phone interview. “And so, my husband had reached out to the group and decided to do a collaboration with everyone at the time. Lucky Luke was not a part of it because they were up in Lancaster. Since then, my husband has passed away, and Lucky Luke bought our production brewery. So, Wolf Creek was kindly allowed to participate as sort of an honorary gesture to my husband, who had kind of spearheaded the first collaboration.”
McFerren, along with her husband Rob McFerren, founded Wolf Creek in the Santa Clarita Valley on April Fool’s Day in 1997. They’d been the only craft beer brewery in the SCV for years, with a restaurant on North McBean Parkway in Valencia. Since then, Telco Brewery on Fremont Court in Valencia, Brewery Draconum on Main Street in Newhall, and the Pocock Brewing Company on Avenue Tibbitts in Valencia planted roots.
McFerren’s husband died of cancer in December 2020, and a few months after that, the Antelope Valley-based Lucky Luke bought the brewery portion of the Wolf Creek business, which is located on Rye Canyon Loop in the Valencia Industrial Center.
As a friendly gesture, Hernandez told The Signal that he invited Lucky Luke of SCV to join in a collaboration with brewers from his Telco Brewery and those from the other local breweries, to make a beer together.
“I thought, ‘You know, it’s probably a good way to welcome them (Lucky Luke) into the neighborhood,’” Hernandez said. “I have a really good relationship with the other three breweries out here in Santa Clarita, so I brought it up to Brian and Samantha (Schmitz) over at Lucky Luke, and I told them, ‘How do you feel about maybe doing a collaboration beer?’”
Brian Schmitz said he and others at Lucky Luke were more than enthusiastic about it.
“We’re all supportive of each other and realize that we’re all on the same mission to promote craft beer and all that it has to offer, and we all grow better and stronger together,” he told The Signal. “That’s easier than if we’re just going to take it on all on our own.”
Caroline Law, co-owner and general manager of Brewery Draconum, said she didn’t think twice about participating.
“The thing that was drilled into me from the get-go when I entered the craft brewing world is that we’re always a community,” she said. “The independent craft brewery always treats each other like community and like family.”
She added that she never sees the other breweries as opposition.
“We never feel like we’re in competition with Telco or Pocock or Wolf Creek or Lucky Luke,” she said. “We see it as, you know, the more craft breweries around here making great beer, the more we’re inspired to make great beer and work together and enjoy each other’s craft beer.”
Todd Tisdell, co-owner of Pocock, agreed.
“All of us breweries that are out here, we’re all friendly,” he said. “It’s a camaraderie amongst us. I mean, technically, yeah, we’re all competitors, but we all kind of root for each other and believe in the whole, ‘rising tide rises all ships.’ And so, we wanted to come together and do something collaborative and all work together toward making something that’s fantastic.”
According to Tisdell, the group decided to make a cold IPA because no one involved, at the time, really had that style.
“We didn’t want to duplicate something that somebody already had,” he said.
Hernandez added that it’s a new take on an original recipe.
“It’s called an India pale lager, but the IPL name never really took off,” he said. “So, people started rebranding it as a cold IPA. It’s a lager recipe, kind of like a Mexican lager or an American lager. So, it’s very light and crisp, but with a lot of hoppiness.”
McFerren added, “It’s just a really great, clean-tasting, solid beer that I think is going to appeal to a lot of different palates.”
According to Schmitz, the brewers worked about two months from the idea stage, to naming it and creating label artwork, to rolling out a finished product earlier this month. The actual brewing days were Jan. 30 at Lucky Luke and Jan. 31 at Telco.
Hernandez said the name of the beer, Four Corners, refers to the intersection in Santa Clarita known as “four corners,” which is where Valencia Boulevard becomes Soledad Canyon Road at Bouquet Canyon Road near where it becomes Railroad Avenue.
“One of my employees, Joseph, actually suggested that name, Four Corners, as just kind of like, it’s a central point in Santa Clarita,” Hernandez said. “And he figured that’s probably a good way to represent all of us — because we’re all in different parts of town.”
All brewers involved expressed joy in the collaborative experience, saying it was a blast. The beer, they added, is currently on tap at all locations, and is even sold by the can at Lucky Luke, Pocock and Wolf Creek.
But the beer won’t be around forever, the brewers said. It’s a limited edition. Hopefully, however, they’ll all come together soon for another collaboration.
“I don’t know when, timing-wise,” Tisdell said, “but everybody had a good enough time that we’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
To learn more about the Four Corners beer and the brewers that made it, go to Lucky Luke Brewing in SCV online at LuckyLukeBrewing.com, Brewery Draconum at BreweryDraconum.com, Telco Brewery at TelcoBrewery.com, the Pocock Brewing Company at PocockBrewing.com or Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewing Company at WolfCreekBrewingCo.com.