Most people don’t take too much persuasion to drink beer.
But at Modesto’s new Persuasion Brewing, the persuasion is about more than just drinking some craft brews. It’s about trying new things and getting out of our comfort zones in different ways. The brewery, which is part of The Market at La Comisaria on Seventh Street, opened its taproom inside the specialty grocery store in late September.
Since then fans of craft-brewed beers have been finding the spot, in an industrial area off downtown and tucked inside the red warehouse building’s back wall. General Manager Patrick Chinn started thinking about opening a brewery in the store about a year and a half ago. The Market, opened in 2015, already carried one of the most diverse craft beer selections in town. In its cold cases you’ll find more than 300 varieties of craft beer, most from small, independent California and the West Coast brewers.
Chinn said he wanted to take that adventurous approach to the beer they carry into the beer they make. And that includes the brewery’s name, which head brewer James Singleton came up with after hearing the ’60s classic “Crystal Blue Persuasion” while driving.
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“We’re trying to change people’s minds about the beer here in the valley. So Persuasion fit,” Chinn said. “It was a motivating factor for us instead of having to worry about getting other people’s beer maybe we’d make our own. And just start something cool for the neighborhood — not with any thoughts of grandeur, but to make fresh beer with a soul for the neighborhood.”
Persuasion truly puts the micro in microbrewery. Instead of using the standard 10-to-30 barrel size for its brewhouse and fermenter tanks like most commercial craft beer producers, Persuasion brews much tinier half- to one-barrel tanks. So they make only 15 to 30 gallons at a time. This small batch approach allows brewmaster Singleton and assistant brewer Jonas Dixon to experiment with flavors. They brew about twice a week and a batch can be gone in a weekend.
“I like complex beers. You put more love and passion into it,” said Singleton, who has been brewing for about 10 years. “We want to be different. You have to to set yourself apart in this industry or you get stale. It’s about having fun with beer.”
Their first batch, released at the end of September, was India pale ale. They’ve since experimented with saisons, porters and more. Currently they can only sell their beer on draft. Down the road they hope to be able to sell growlers and eventually bottle their brew.
Typically they have one to three Persuasion beers on tap, with the rest from other regional brewers. The bar currently has eight taps, with plans to double that soon to 16. They also carry other small craft brews on tap from up-and-down the state, many of which they have to drive to pick up themselves. Chinn drives over 300 miles each Tuesday to get beer for the shop.
You can order sandwiches and anything from the market’s deli to eat in the taproom. Chinn has plans to expand the menu in the near future — selling some the the butcher shop’s meats, including its in-house made sausage, smoked or barbecued. And there’s even talk of making their own ramen bowls.
By the spring, when their adjoining neighbor La Comisaria moves out of the warehouse area, The Market and brewery will have more space to expand in its storage and parking in the lot. La Comisaria, a retail food storage and mobile food truck hub, will move closer to the flea market on South Seventh Street.
Still, The Market and Persuasion’s current Seventh Street location, surrounded by auto shops and other industrial businesses, has made it difficult for some people to find. But Chinn and company said they’re up for the challenge, and want to make a difference in that part of town.
“You have to be the spark to change your neighborhood if you want it to change,” he said. “We want to get more people over to Seventh Street with the beer.”
The taproom is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information call The Market at 209-338-3660 or visit www.facebook.com/PersuasionBrewing.