ATASCADERO — An award-winning brewer is leaving Long Beach and Huntington for a return to Atascadero and the chance to start his own family brewery.
Ryan Fields is starting the transition out of his head role at Beachwood Blendery, although he intends to keep ties to the Southern California brand as he prepares to open Wild Fields Brewhouse at 6907 El Camino Real in Atascadero.
That’s the same building which the Chamber of Commerce recently moved into, sharing a parking lot with the Galaxy Theatre and pedestrian access from the footbridge across the creek.
Ryan and his wife Jacque Fields have both been in the industry for about a decade and will be running the business together, slated for a mid-2019 opening. Demolition work to prepare the interior 6,500 square foot space started its permitting process with the City the week after Labor Day.
Although residents and visitors may not have known it, they might have already met Jacque Fields in passing as she volunteered with the Central Coast Brewers Guild during the well-attended Dancing in the Streets event in August.
While Ryan Fields will be making a wide assortment of what he terms, “the traditional standards,” stouts, lagers, and ales, Jacque’s experience is on the service and management side, most recently as the executive director for the Orange County Brewers Guild.
She terms what the beer and brewpub itself are aiming for as basic approachability, although Ryan Fields plans to continue limited experimental and intriguing runs with sour ales and staff will try to encourage customers to try new flavors.
Part of what they’re looking to develop Ryan Fields said, is the kind of “brewery as community center” environment that has been the historic benchmark of a classic pub. The sort of place, he added, that a family like their own, early-30s professionals with two kids, can all enjoy together.
“We really want to be a part of the community. And where else would we get the perfect location and get to pick the layout of the space from scratch?” he said, noting that developer Clint Pierce had given them tremendous freedom in designing their own space in the former bowling alley which faces the theater and abuts the creek.
Fittingly enough, in addition to the brewing area, kitchen, and restaurant they’re looking to install some arcade space which will include a half-regulation length bowling game.
Jacque Fields adds that they’re not really “city people” by nature despite having worked in larger population centers, and it will be good to have family nearby while the kids are young.
“We’re excited about being part of what’s happening in Atascadero right now,” she said, and despite the marketing appeal of a new family friendly spot downtown, they’re not going to be just for kids, or just for young people, “We’re looking to serve and be part of the full circle of the business community. There will be something for everyone.”