Ritual Brewing Co. in Redlands adds yet another brewery to the rapidly expanding list of breweries in the Inland Empire. Ritual differs from all other new breweries in one major respect- this brewery is enormous.
Located in a light industrial area of Redlands on Lugonia Ave. at the corner of Research Drive (just West of California and Pharaohs Splash Kingdom), the space is big enough a few hockey rinks or go kart tracks. In fact, one of the owners took their car for a spin inside the space before construction began.
In the planning stages for three years, this brewery plans to produce beer as plentiful as some of the biggest breweries. Currently, its premises is only partially filled with four fermenting vessels, each capable of holding 60 barrels (120 kegs). The future, Ritual hopes, will be many, many more.
The person responsible for seeing that all this beer ends up on tap handles and store shelf near you is Ed Heethuis, whose background includes two decades with Budweiser. This background allows him to understand the economics of shelf space at liquor stores. Combining this with the quality of craft brewing will soon make Ritual available throughout the IE and beyond, Ed insists.
Of course, that depends on whether locals like the beer he is pushing, with reactions and buzz quite strong already. So far, Ritual offers six beers in its tasting room- four regular brews and two imperial (double) microbrews. Our favorites were the Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout and the red ale.
IPAs, which are all the rage in microbreweries these days, are on their way. The hops required to make such beers must be contracted one year in advance, so hopheads should check back in 2013 to see what Ritual has to offer.
While you’re at Ritual, drop by across the street at Donkey Punch, another new microbrewery with a different philosophy of small batches.