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SELA Rising: Latino-owned ‘Brown Soul Brewery’ Is Coming Soon to South Gate’s Historic Tweedy Mile

1:21 PM PDT on October 5, 2021

    beer being poured at brown soul brewery

    beer being poured at brown soul brewery

    [dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]weedy is about to get twisted.

    The Historic Tweedy Mile in downtown South Gate, home to southeast L.A. cultural institutions like Greenspans and Yuri’s Records, to name a few, will now soon be home to Brown Soul Brewing Co. The soon-to-be brewery and eatery founders hope to create an inviting community space anchored around Latino-inspired craft beer and Jalisco-style mariscos. 

    Founded by four community members born and raised in South Gate, South Central, and Huntington Park, Brown Soul Brewing Co. consists of Hugo Sanchez, Victor Zamudio, Dora Mejia, and Noe Tellez. 

    Sanchez is a Le Cordon Bleu alumni and a culinary producer in multiple major Food Network shows, including “Iron Chef” and Netflix’s “Nailed It.” He is determined to create a space for his neighborhood after having helped open multiple restaurants in the greater L.A. area. Sanchez’s brother, Zamudio, owner of a CrossFit gym next door to this slated brewery, is also a core founding member. Zamudio shares that their goal is to provide a unique community space to revitalize the Historic Tweedy Mile. In his words, “We have a lot of quick-service restaurants, but we don’t have something truly immersed in food and drink that demonstrates what the community is all about.” 

    The team behind Brown Soul Brewing. Photo by Elmer Argueta for L.A. TACO.
    The team behind Brown Soul Brewing. Photo by Elmer Argueta for L.A. TACO.

    Working with Sanchez on the culinary front is Mejia, originally from Jalisco. She grew up in Huntington Park and, after becoming a single mother in 2017, launched a successful home-based catering business specializing in Mariscos (@Coloniasententaysiente). 

    Mejia shares that her love for food originated in Jalisco, where she spent countless hours cooking at her family’s restaurant as a young girl. When presented with the opportunity to help bring Brown Soul Brewing Co. to life, she could not refuse. “In 2017, I became a single mother of two boys, so I had to dig deep and say 'What can I do for my boys?’” The entrepreneurial spirit that she developed through hard work after committing to her catering business is now manifesting into the development and menu curation of the brewery. 

    “We know sometimes alcohol can be controversial. Our goal is artisan beer and doing it all in a responsible manner.” In their commitment to being an inclusive community space, they've begun talks with East Los Angeles College, which is opening a new campus in South Gate, in efforts to collaborate on a potential brewing and fermentation program down the line. 

    The Head Brewer, Noe Tellez, grew up in South Central and East Los Angeles. Originally a homebrewer with a decorated competitive record in the craft beer scene, he had his first experience as a Head Brewer at Angry Horse in Montebello. After being forced to end his role at the Montebello brewery due to a conflicting schedule with his day job, Noe has moved on to co-own and operate Brown Soul Brewing Co. Reflecting the collective’s ambition to create an inclusive community space, his mission is to bridge craft beer and Latino culture with his unique craft recipes—all to be brewed in what will be a stainless steel 5-Barrel brewhouse sourced from the coveted brewery supplier SS Brewtech. This concept will be the first of its kind in South Gate. 

    South Gate, in a similar fashion to other neighboring cities in SELA, is under transition. 

    A historically working-class Latino community, with dining options primarily limited to traditional Mexican sit-down restaurants and low-quality fast-food options, is experiencing the rise of a new wave of businesses that can be seen dotted across the city. From health-based eatery Eatgud Kitchen, serving open-face low-carb sandwiches and dressed avocado halves with organic tea to Milk+Cookies, offering house-made horchata ice cream and freshly baked snickerdoodles. Brown Soul Brewing Co. is set to join the ranks of businesses committed to a driving principle that you shouldn’t have to drive out of town to enjoy new and exciting flavors and experiences. 

    Inside the space as it is being built.
    Inside the space as it is being built. Photo by Elmer Argueta for L.A. TACO.
    Renderings of Brown Soul Brewery by NS Designs, Pasadena.
    Renderings of completed Brown Soul Brewing Co. by NS Designs, Pasadena.
    Renderings of completed Brown Soul Brewery by NS Designs, Pasadena.
    Renderings of completed Brown Soul Brewing Co. by NS Designs, Pasadena.
    Renderings of completed Brown Soul Brewery by NS Designs, Pasadena.
    Renderings of completed Brown Soul Brewing Co. by NS Designs, Pasadena.
    Renderings of completed Brown Soul Brewery by NS Designs, Pasadena.
    Renderings of completed Brown Soul Brewing Co. by NS Designs, Pasadena.

    Still, the question remains as to how this inevitable transition will impact the community at large and whether or not the ever-changing socio-economic landscape in SELA can bring about new community destinations while also staying true to its first-generation working-class core. 

    When asked whether they think the South Gate community is ready for a craft brewery offering a carefully curated food and drink program, their response is, “Absolutely, South Gate is ready, and it needs it!” Zamudio goes on to elaborate, “We know sometimes alcohol can be controversial. Our goal is artisan beer and doing it all in a responsible manner.” In their commitment to being an inclusive community space, they've begun talks with East Los Angeles College, which is opening a new campus in South Gate, in efforts to collaborate on a potential brewing and fermentation program down the line. 

    The meal program will include seasonal breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus centered around familiar Latino-inspired flavors and quality ingredients. While they've yet to fully develop their space on the intersection of Tweedy Boulevard and San Antonio Avenue, let alone finalize their food and drink menu, some offerings that patrons can expect are classic IPAs, saisons, and the now-standard Mexican lager. However, theirs will be brewed using blue corn. With plans to offer diners a unique culinary experience incorporating Sanchez and Mejia’s sazon, they will also serve the classics. 

    “We have to have chilaquiles because that’s a nod to my mom and cooking food for 18 people at the house,” says Sanchez, expressing the need to represent his upbringing in South Gate throughout the menu. While the brewery will host its own kitchen, boasting an open fire Santa Maria-style wood grill with a dedicated menu, they plan to share the space with vendors by regularly hosting pop-ups. “Right now, because of COVID, there are a lot of amazing people doing great things out of their homes and street corners, but maybe there’s an opportunity to give them a little ‘aventon’ at a brick and mortar,” says Sanchez. 

    The collective's goal to create a vibrant downtown South Gate destination is still in its early stages, but they aim to open Brown Soul Brewing Co.'s doors to South Gate and the greater Southeast L.A. community in early 2022. 

    Follow Brown Soul Brewing Co.'s on Instagram @brown.soul.brewing to stay up to date with progress as they build out the brewery, put together their food and drink menu, and announce an opening date.

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