Track 7 Brewing Company sticks to its home brewing roots
Words & Photos by Adam Saake
All hail to the home brewer, the humble beginning of so many great beers we enjoy today. From an independent and environmentally conscious Sierra Nevada Brewing Company headed by Ken Grossman, who like many of today’s brewers started out with experimental 5-gallon batches, to home brewer Sam Calagione who grew the small Deleware brewery Dogfish Head into one of the most recognized and respected craft beer names in America. In short, great beer begins with a love of brewing and a passion to share it with those who love to drink it. Geoff Scott and Ryan Graham of Track 7 Brewing Company are among the ranks of home-brewers-turned-legit who share this same philosophy. Their recently opened brewery and taproom in the Land Park area, just over the Sutterville Pass, is sure to become an off the grid destination for beer drinkers and has already been established as a local watering hole for its surrounding neighbors.
Scott says that Track 7 has been open since the end of December and the space they occupy, an industrial warehouse with a rollup door, isn’t just a brewery.
“We got a special use permit from the city that allows us to manufacture and then have a tap room,” says Scott.
This mixed-use space creates something similar to what larger, more industrial-sized breweries attempt to accomplish in their accompanying restaurants or public view spaces. The difference is that Track 7’s space feels like you’re sitting and relaxing in the back yard of your friend’s house, except there are fermentation tanks off in the near distance making the delicious suds you’re savoring. The vibe is immediately neighborly. Couples cruise in with their dogs for a pint and groups of friends meet after a long day to unwind and chat with Geoff and his wife Rebecca, who greets guests from behind the bar and pours the day’s offerings from the orange and chrome taps.
Both Scott and Graham have been brewing beer for eight years. They started out by collecting their some-odd 15 batches of beer and having parties at their house where their friends would come over and enjoy the duo’s creations. But it wasn’t just their friends’ enjoyment and a collective skill for brewing good beer that motivated them to take the leap to brewery status.
“People said, your beer is really good, and at the same time our wives pretty much said, you have too much stuff at the house so you need to move it out. So it kind of worked out that way,” says Scott with a grin.
The transition from home brewing to having an actual brewery and operating on a larger scale wasn’t that difficult for the two in terms of process. Brewing was brewing. What did throw them for the loop was the assembly required to actually get started.
“One thing we struggled with was, the guy who built the brew house for us, he kind of just gave it to us and said here you go. We had to do all the piping underneath and it was like a giant puzzle trying to put it all together. We went off of one picture,” says Scott.
But the brewery did come together and the beer has been pumping out. Both Scott and Graham have different styles and tastes, which balances out their selections. Scott is more into IPAs and stouts like their Soulman Stout or Big 4 Strong Ale, where Graham gravitates more toward the Belgium style beers like their Alkali Wit that boasts flavors of coriander and orange. These beers, along with the rest of their concoctions, are all carried over from their days of brewing small batches and experimenting. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
“It’s interesting. Some beers like the Wit we probably tinkered around 25 plus times, and others like the Big 4 were born on the second or third try and that’s how they ended up,” explains Scott.
The four founders are dedicated to community and take pride in being a Sacramento brewery. Local artists like Skinner and Jesse Baggs have designed their bottle labels; their taproom table, a recovered railroad track and glass top, was also designed by a local artist. The name itself, Track 7, is derivative of railroad slang that refers to being out on the furthest track. Scott and Graham, two very down-to-earth guys, had a connection to this slang and felt it appropriate for their new venture. The beers they brew speak to their humble nature; thoughtfully crafted with balance and unique flavor. All eyes will be on Track 7 to see what they grow their new brewery into.
Track 7 Brewing Company’s taproom is located at 3747 West Pacific Avenue, Suite F, Sacramento. The brewery has a few events lined up for Sacramento Beer Week, including the release of a new beer Trainwreck Belgian IPA, which will be available at Track 7 starting Feb. 24, 2012. For more info on what they’ll be up to during Beer Week, go to Track7brewing.com.