The Wild Parrot Brewing Company takes its name from the wild parrots of Pasadena, who, as the story goes, were set free to escape a fire at the pet emporium in Simpson’s Garden Town on East Colorado Boulevard, which burned down in 1959.
By Cheryl Cabot
Owners of the Wild Parrot Brewing Company, John and Kirsten Jackson, are set for their grand opening on September 23 to the 25th at 2302 East Colorado Boulevard. As Kirsten said, “It’s been a heck of a journey.”
There are actually two businesses under one roof: Rosebud Coffee, and Wild Parrot Brewing Company. The sharing of the space works well since Rosebud is a morning and afternoon business and Wild Parrot is an afternoon and evening business.
The business is easy to spot on Colorado Boulevard with large stainless steel brewing tanks in the front window. This allows customers to watch the actual process, and on brewing days the smell of grain will waft out the front door.
John’s interest in brewing craft beer began several years ago, but living in an apartment with a family, made it untenable. When the Jackson’s bought a house, John began attending a brewing class in Eagle Rock. Of course, this required more equipment and more space. The Jackson’s like to entertain, so the next step was to find a place to have a brewery and make it a family place. They wanted a place where friends come together to meet, have a coffee and a pastry, or a beer and a big pretzel.
The theme of wild parrots is carried throughout the brewery, with window signs and a striking wall mural depicting the story of the Pasadena Parrots. The mural was painted by the Jackson’s neighbor, Ben Balistreri, an animator. As payment he wanted his own personal beer mug, which you can see hanging by the beer pulls.
Currently there are several ales and lagers available as well as hard cider, including a pineapple habanero that Kirsten swears is delicious, and red and white wine. There is even an ale named for the parrots, “Pandemonium,” a “West Coast IPA.”
They offer nachos from Home Boy Industries, a “really big pretzel’ with dipping sauce, chips, soda, sparkling water, and as a nod to the kids, chocolate milk.
The actual brewing process is a bit complicated. It includes using filtered water, hops, providing the bittering, flavoring and aroma; malt which is barley, wheat, rye or rice, and finally yeast. Hot water (150 degrees) is added to the malt, which takes out the starches in it and converts it to sugars, making “worts” or sugar water, the first step in making the beer. The next is adding the hops to add the flavor and aroma. Finally, the boiling liquid has to be cooled down very quickly and sent to another tank to let it ferment.
According to John, “The time it takes to ferment depends on the beer. A standard ale can be done in four days. A lager ferments at a lower temperature, so takes longer, sometimes up to a week.”
The Wild Parrot is a large, open space allowing the coffee shop and brewing company to be compatible. Orange picnic tables throughout the brewery and outside area, are authentic German, Octoberfest beer garden tables (yes, they really are shipped from Germany).
John and Kirsten have achieved their goal of creating an inviting space with craft beers, fun food, and a friendly, family atmosphere. During the week the Wild Parrot is open from 3:00 to 10:00 pm and on Friday until 11:00 pm. On the weekends, they are open from at noon until 11:30 pm on Saturday and noon to 9:00 pm on Sunday.
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