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Secret Beach Inspired Ales: No Plans, Dates for Grand Opening

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Secret Beach Inspired Ales: No Plans, Dates for Grand Opening

Jamey Moore, the enigma behind Secret Beach Inspired Ales shared some beer with us and admitted he’s still got too much to learn before committing to any dates, but the quality of his beer has us anxiously waiting.

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As we recently outlined in our History of Houston Beer post on The Full Pint, it’s no secret that Houston’s a city full of creative folks – people pushing the boundaries. Often times in the beer world, those boundaries are their garage, and what they’re pushing is bottles of homebrew. In the case with Jamey and Secret Beach Brewing, they’re cans, but I digress.

Jamey’s a Houston area homebrewer with huge ambitions, but I wasn’t 100% sure if his beer would back it up.

He reached out to us on IG so we could taste his beer, and we were like, “Naah. We’re too cool for that.”

PSYCHE!

I was all over it once I got over my skepticism. I asked around to a few friends, and I heard good things, so I figured it was worth the drive. Plus he lives right around the corner from my Grandfather, so I wasn’t losing much if paid him a visit.

Realistically, I don’t even have a date or plan for opening anything any time soon. Once I feel I’m there, it should come together relatively quickly I think.

After seeing some great beer come out of homebrewer Laser Brewing – great enough that it led to collabs with Eureka Heights and Baa Baa Brewhouse – we figured this might be a good opportunity to shed some light on the underground of Houston’s beer culture and homebrew.

(Craft beer is already a subculture, so is home brewing a sub-sub-culture? Super meta. A convo for another time; let’s get back to the beach with Jamey and Secret Beach Inspired Ales.)

First he gave us some Swooner IPA, and holy guacamole that beer was legit. It’d stand up to many of Houston’s best IPAs in a blind tasting, and I’d be willing to bet on that. Like, bet a few dollars. Several maybe.

After that beer, Jamey and I got to talking, and here’s what came of it:

Secret Beach Inspired Ales, huh? So no Lagers?

Haha. Ales for the most part, but there always a chance a nice Double Dry Hopped Pilsner could make its way to the line-up next Summer. Who knows?

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If I remember correctly, Secret Beach Inspired Ales will be like a gothic tiki bar meets a neighborhood brewpub, right? Why?

That’s a pretty good recollection! Yeah, so I’ve always sort of gravitated towards the dark side.

Growing up in the era of skateboarding that I did, late 80’s/early 90’s, you were always a sort of considered the outcast, whether you wanted to be or not. Because of that, I hung out with other outcasts, New Wave kids, rockers…..etc. The surf/skate culture has always been near and dear to me, so the beach vibe definitely comes into the equation as well.

Who doesn’t like Tiki Bars, and so it works perfectly with my vibe and music influences.

I would describe it as a sort of “Dark Tiki” vibe for sure. My vision is a comfortable place with no more than a 5 barrel brewhouse and a definite destination feel.

This one is tough. I’m not really inspired by anything local, and honestly that’s why I went the direction I did. I feel like I have something to offer this city at some point, something they don’t have yet, and really something that nobody has yet.

Music will sort of take precedent, and the decoration will accentuate accordingly. I want it to be a sort of “secret” paradise from city life, but in a very new and alternative way. It’s all in my head, and hopefully people are starting to understand and see it in the branding I’ve created thus far.

What’s the hold up on opening up shop?

That’s a great question.

Primarily the hold-up is on my side. I don’t feel like I have the proper knowledge and experience yet to even think about going pro. That part is on me, and I’m actively working on that. I try to always surround myself with talented people who I respect and admire, and I just try to learn and absorb as much as possible.

Experience and education is paramount in anything you do in life as a chosen profession, and this is no different. I will be doing some things in the coming year to further educate myself on both the brewing and business side, and I will continue to push forward, collab and learn from as many knowledgeable people in the industry that will let me do so.

Realistically, I don’t even have a date or plan for opening anything any time soon. Once I feel I’m there, it should come together relatively quickly I think. In the meantime the plan is to keep drilling and striving to perfect my recipes and continue to share the results with as many willing beer heads as possible.

How’d you come up with the name Secret Beach Inspired Ales?

Actually, the name was thought up by a good friend of mine in CA. He and I sort of have common interests in music and life in general, and so I bounce a lot of ideas off of him. He’s a musician by trade, so he has become really good at creative names for songs and the such. He came up with the name almost immediately and I absolutely loved it. It fits what I’m trying to do perfectly.

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You mentioned that the NEIPA style is what you specialize in, and you’re trying your hand at your first stout right now. Why DDH everything? If you had a second or third option of beer to specialize in, what style would it be?

Again, great question. The end goal here is to specialize in everything. It just so happens that when I left Houston a few years ago, nobody here was doing NEIPAs, as it was still a relatively new thing. I was traveling to the east coast quite a bit, specifically NYC, so I was running into this style quite a bit out there and it was starting to catch on pretty rapidly out there.

Then it caught on slowly on the West Coast as well. By the time I moved back to Houston, people were sort of “trying” to make them here, but most were duds in my book and not really representative of the style I craved.

A few things happened: another very talented friend of mine decided to sell this custom brew rig he had built, and so I found the money and went for it. I started out just wanting to make the beer I liked so much for my friends and I to enjoy, and it just sort of spiraled into what it is now.

I have JUST now gotten to where I think I’m ok with how to make a decent NEIPA, so now I want to turn my attention elsewhere and delve into some other things.

Ha. Well, Swooner just sort of happened. It’s the exact sort of story that comes to mind when referencing my moniker “Inspired Ales.”

Before getting into brewing I was a pretty big beer nerd and trader, so there are definitely other styles out there that I enjoy. I would love to learn more about stouts, and aging those types of darker beers. I’m also very much interested in wild ales, and other fruited styles. One thing you learn early on with brewing is just how crucial yeast is to any and every style, as well as water treatment and the other variables involved there. So, there’s an infinite world of learning to do on my end, and we’ll just have to see where things go.

What local breweries inspire you most and why?

This one is tough. I’m not really inspired by anything local, and honestly that’s why I went the direction I did. I feel like I have something to offer this city at some point, something they don’t have yet, and really something that nobody has yet.

However, as a beer fan, I’m pretty stoked on what Whole Foods is doing, both in the past and present. The beer is great, but it’s also such a unique environment and business model they are working with, and in a VERY limited amount of space.

I haven’t really visited some of these suburban breweries yet, but hear great things about B52 and the environment they have created over there. I like Sigma and what they have managed to do over there in a relatively short amount of time as well, and their beer keeps getting better and better. SpindelTap isn’t really my vibe aesthetically, but they’ve sort of broken through and found their niche and now with a canning line and the space they have over there, I’m looking for some big things from them in the future as they continue to grow.

I would say this city as a whole inspires me more than anything along with the neighborhood I live in. I’m super stoked to live in such a diverse city and neighborhood here in Montrose, and so it’s very reflective in my beer and branding I think.

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Tell me more about Swooner, the recipe design, the name, the art, and your hurricane-soaked honeymoon. I don’t hear many brewers paying homage to their vows with a specific beer, (although I think that’s an amazing way to tell a story). Why was this the sort of thing that needed to be earmarked with a specific beer?

Ha. Well, Swooner just sort of happened. It’s the exact sort of story that comes to mind when referencing my moniker “Inspired Ales.”

First of all, every beer you drink tells a story. If you think about it in this way, this is why people in the beer world are constantly searching for, drinking and creating new beers all the time. We tire of the same old ones rather quickly, but there are some that stand the test of time as “go-to”. Much like books or movies.

I had brewed Swooner before I left to SD to get married. It was the first beer I sort of tried some new things out on. Shorter boil, different dry hopping schedule…etc. More importantly, I think was the time it spent conditioning while I was gone.

I figured it would be nice to have a beer ready to go when I returned in a few weeks. As luck of a Houstonian would have it, during our honeymoon Hawaii was in line to get their first direct hit from a hurricane since the 1950’s. Hurricane Lane was heading directly for Waikiki where we were at initially, and it was a pretty intense situation there. Luckily the good ‘ol Hawaiian trade winds saved us from a direct hit, but we literally spent the majority of our 9 day vacation in a hotel room as it rained.

Needless to say it sucked quite a bit, but I had tons of time to think about what I wanted to do with the beer when I got home. It just made sense to use my vacation as inspiration, and so I built the art around that experience. The art represents my beautiful wife and of course the rain. The black rose in the box with black clouds behind sort of represents us holed up in a hotel room. You’d have to know my wife and I to understand the black rose part, but that’s another story… haha. So yeah, that’s how it was all conceived. It ended up working out pretty perfectly.

If there was one thing you’d want to share with Houstonian beer drinkers, what would it be?

Embrace what you have here. I see and hear a lot of people complain about beer and sometimes the price, or method behind obtaining the beers online…etc. The truth is, this same stuff goes on everywhere.

The scene is just now starting to blossom, and it will continue to grow and get better as it does.

We all love to drink new beers, and there’s a huge new world of craft beers out there, but just try to support the locals first when you can. We are really actually lucky to even have the scene we have now. I know there are a ton of people that get to travel and experience other local scenes, but the majority of beer drinkers out there still haven’t, or at least not extensively.

Trust me when I say, what we have here is special, and we are putting our mark on the industry as we speak. Like anything else, it’s going to have its growing pains, but in the end we’ll all be better for it.

Some folks think of the hazy IPAs as a fad, and I don’t blame them at all considering the nature of beer and the broad, ever-changing IPA style specifically. What if they’re right? How does that change your approach if at all?

Well, I hate to break it to people that still think it’s a fad, it’s not going to go anywhere anytime soon.

That’s like saying smoking weed is a fad.

People love hops, and the aroma and taste attributes. It’s changed the game in so many ways in such a short amount of time.

People tend to always focus on what’s wrong with new things, and not about what’s right. This style has turned so many “Anti-IPA” beer drinkers into fans because people are figuring out that it was the bitterness they hated about the style not the hops.

Think about what it’s also done for the hop industry. Farms are being contracted decades in advance, and that’s a great thing.

The style has singlehandedly pushed the beer world into a more progressive state, both with how business models are built, and also with products being offered on both the professional and home brewing side. It’s a really exciting new time in the craft beer world, and this style is directly responsible for much of that. It’s a pretty simple solution for the naysayers, just don’t buy or drink it. More for everyone else.

Cheers.


So far we’ve had the pleasure of trying 4 of Jamey’s Secret Beach Inspired Ales. Two IPAs and Two Stouts, but Swooner was the first. He collaborated on the stouts (below) with fellow home brewer Wooden Bus Brew of Pearland. This is just a sample size of what these folks are capable of, and the possibilities make me giddy.

Houston’s already awesome. The beer continues to push the boundaries. With home-brew of this level of care and quality, the next decade is going to be wild AF, y’all. Here are some brief tasting notes on Secret Beach Inspired Ales’ beers.

Secret Beach Murkurian – Hazy IPA
Holy shit. A sweet, fruity, hop-forward ale that’ll hold its own on any tap wall in Houston. It’s not as good as Swooner, though.

Swooner – Hazy IPA
Holy shit twice? Super bright and tropical. Orange on the start and pineapple on the finish with a slight hoppy greenness reminiscent of B52 Summer Wardrobe big time. This is as good, if not better, than many a IPA I’ve had in the last year.

Depths of Dessertion (Blue Label) Thai Tea and Rum BA Stout Collab with Wooden Bus Brew of Pearland
Smooth and herbaceous, the Thai tea compliments the roasty stout notes something to the tune of some coughee-brother-esque weed. There’s a cooling effect that’s almost minty as each sip starts.

(Black Label) Coffee and Vanilla Bourbon BA Stout Collab with Wooden Bus Brew of Pearland
Rich, decadent, roasty stout oozing with coffee and vanilla with a hint of bourbon on the drying finish

Give him a follow on IG, and keep your ears to the streets for his next moves. He might just open up a real brewery in your neighborhood. One day. Maybe. *Shrugs* We’ll see.

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Anthony Gorrity
tony.d@beerchronicle.com

Anthony's a Houston native, a graphic designer, and a UH Coog that loves good beer almost as much as he does his city. He's an ex-oilfield guy that spends is days pushing pixels for us, breweries, churches, and one of Houston's fastest-growing companies. Fueled by sessionable IPAs and gangster rap, he's ticked his way through H-Town, rocking nothing but the dopest on-sale Nikes he can find. When he's not writing for us, he's with his family or rooting for the Rockets.

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