By Jamie Solis
Hangar 24’s Secret Recipe For Success
Why exactly is Ben Cook always smiling? As the owner and brew master of local Redlands brewery Hangar 24 that was recognized recently as the fastest brewery ever to reach regional status, why wouldn’t he be? And what is Ben’s success secret? He’s always approached his work with a passion for introducing exotic flavors and a simple philosophy—do what makes you happy. Expanding his craft brewery with innovative and exciting ideas, he plans to keep the happiness—and fantastic beers flowing to his satisfied customers in every way possible. Introducing your favorite Hangar 24 beers in cans for the first time starting this week and releasing the bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout Pugachev’s Cobra this Saturday, don’t be surprised that other upcoming endeavors are creating a buzz in the community—there’s more to Hangar 24 than producing complex and inspiring brews.
While we’re eager to hear about what’s new, it’s important to remember the old saying, if it’s not broken—don’t fix it: The folks at Hangar 24 are introducing the new while still respecting what has worked in the past. Last year’s release of Pugachev’s Cobra brought such an overwhelming crowd the brewery couldn’t resist the chance to bring back the stout’s intense flavors on Dec. 8 to the tasting room. While it was a great success, Cook describes how unsure Hangar was to introduce unfamiliar tastes, “Our flagship beer is Orange Wheat, which is a beer you can sit and drink a bunch of. It’s more satiable. We slowly ventured into more exotic beers, and bigger, bolder flavors. So, we weren’t sure when we released this last year with 16-and-a-half percent alcohol, you know it pours like motor oil. It’s a big, bold beer.” Don’t let Cook’s heavy description scare you off—an aroma consisting of dark fruits, vanilla, chocolate and bourbon are sure to make you salivate. It’s also packed with unique flavors like chocolate-covered plum, bourbon, roasting coffee and of course sweet malt—brewed with three different dark-roasted malts it obtains this characteristic honestly. Still worried the bold flavor is too much for your palette? Don’t worry—there’ll be plenty of other favorites on tap and in bottles to tickle your taste buds. We’re excited to get our hands on Pugachev’s Cobra, however there’s another up-and-coming project to look forward to—and that’s cans.
Recognizing the eco-friendly benefits of offering Orange Wheat and Helles Lager in 12 oz. aluminum cans, Cook is most excited for customers to enjoy convenience and savings with this new endeavor, “When you go to golf courses, or when you go camping, hang out by your pool…you don’t really want glass. It’s all about convenience.” Not only is he giving us an easy way to bring your favorite local brew on a hike or to the putting green, he’s assured us that bottles will still be available for those who have become attached. However if you like to live dangerously then go the can route, you’ll save a pretty penny for it. This is only the beginning of Hangar 24’s aluminum debut—Cook claims that Pugachev’s Cobra could be available in a can one day, because what is more fun than having a bold stout pour like motor oil out of a portable, convenient device?
With all the up-and-coming excitement for Hangar 24, Cook recognizes the brewery’s past success with its Local Field Series. Locally grown oranges pack its top selling brew Orange Wheat with refreshing citrus notes. Hangar 24’s second most popular beer, Polycot, is also part of this series, first produced using fresh apricots picked directly from Cook’s friend Paul’s seven acre local supply. Opting to purchase local goods is not exclusive to fresh fruit—Cook told us the Weekly that Hangar 24 has a community centric culture. It supports local restaurants and businesses whenever possible, as well as the Inland Orange Conservatory, a non-profit whose mission is to preserve local orange groves from becoming developed into areas of urban sprawl. Cook shared with us the importance of preserving local orange groves, “Orange groves are the character that built this region. You take them away and that makes it less special. We want to have a higher quality of life and preserve the heritage for the people that are here.” He was excited to announce for the first time that Hangar 24 is in the beginning stages of creating its own non-profit with a similar objective of making sure Redlands doesn’t become another cement playground drained of life and character.
Ben Cook’s positive attitude and energy appear endless, as he shares his many dreams of what’s to come. A full-blown tourist destination spot, Hangar 24 style? You got it—nothing is too far from attainable for Cook and his tight knit team. Take into consideration that Hangar 24 has been wildly successful within a short five years of its creation—yeah, this place has definitely brewed a recipe for success.
Pugachev’s Cobra release party at Hangar 24, 1710 Sessums Dr., Redlands, (909) 389-1400; hangar24brewery.com. 11am. $25.