A Trip to King & King Ranch

With Avocado Ale being one of our most anticipated beers each year (and this year it’s going into CANS!), we know how crucial it is that the ingredients we get for it are the best we can find. Getting the right avocados is obviously a big part of making sure that the beer has all the bright fresh flavor of a California orchard.

This year, we didn’t have to search too far. King & King Ranch has been farming avocados since 1913, and they’re just down the street – or at least their stand at our weekly Farmer’s market is. When they invited us to their ranch in Fillmore to check out their crop, we couldn’t possibly say no. Take a look at the photos below to see how we determine the right fruit for the job.

King & King Ranch is nestled between the Santa Clara River Valley and the Santa Susana Mountains (pictured above) in Ventura County. The rich, fertile soil of the area makes it perfect for growing a wide variety of fruits, including avocados.

 

Alana King is a fourth generation farmer at King & King – here, they’re explaining the different varieties of avocado they’ve been growing for over a century.

 

When we visited in late June, the trees were already loaded with the fruit, but these guys won’t be ready for another two weeks. Once picked, they take about 10 days to ripen.

 

Avocados are unusual in that they sit on the tree for more than one season – these ones won’t be ready to pick until next year!

 

The farm doesn’t just grow avocados though. Peaches, blood oranges, peppercorns, pomegranates, and these Buddha’s Hand citrus fruits are all part of the fare they grow and sell at farmer’s markets. They also grow golden nugget mandarins and provide them for schools in Ventura as part of their healthy lunch program.

 

After talking it through with Alana, Head Brewer Layton Cutler (left) settled upon Lamb Hass avocados for this year’s batch. This variety is much bigger than standard Hasses, and they’ll be ripening at the perfect time for our beer. We’ll be getting 300lbs of the fruit to add.

 

Layton and Brewmaster Joseph Reynolds are pretty pleased with the prospects. Once these are done growing, they’ll be delivered to the Arts District to be smashed into a pulp along with some cilantro and lime juice, and then added into the beer in the final days of its fermentation.

 

 

After touring the orchard, we sat down for lunch with some of the freshest orange juice you’ve ever tasted – and of course, some equally fresh Angel City Double IPA.

 

We didn’t know this, but apparently some avocados grow with Angel City swag inside of them, like a creamy, fatty, Kinder Surprise. Surely this one was destined to go into Avocado Ale.

 

From left to right: ACB Operations manager Renee Rubin, Brewers Alex Kennedy, Layton Cutler, and Joseph Reynolds,Alana King and Kai Krupa.

 


Friday, August 4:  The first ever can release of Avocado Ale
Saturday & Sunday, August 5-6:   5th Annual Avocado Fest!