Alex DeLeon at Mad Pursuit Brewing Co. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Alex DeLeon at Mad Pursuit Brewing Co. Photo by Robert Eliason.

It’s been less than six months since Mad Pursuit Brewing Company opened on San Benito Street in Hollister, and according to co-owner Alex DeLeon things are going well.

“All in all, this has been a great location and things have been awesome,” DeLeon said. “We have drawn people on Saturdays from the beginning but now we are seeing bigger crowds on Thursdays with a lot of new faces. The winter weather has toned things down a bit but we were slammed during the Lights On Parade last week. All those downtown events are very good for our business.”

Mad Pursuit made the parade more festive by highlighting five new beers from San Juan Bautista’s Brewery Twenty Five, bringing the total to 11 of its beers on tap. And, sometimes, being able to lean on another brewer is handy.

“We are selling a lot of our own beer,” DeLeon said. “A week or two ago, we only had one of ours on tap. That’s a little embarrassing, but as a new business, that kind of demand is not a bad problem to have. We are thinking of expanding a little bit—if we got more fermentors [the machine that carries out fermentation], we could brew more often. But it’s also great that we have so many other breweries represented here, from places like Seaside, Scotts Valley and San Jose. We are always going to carry the best of the local beers.”

They have four of their own beers on tap at the moment and have some new ones planned before the end of the year. There is a stout that they are naming after Hollister resident Big John Bocanegra, who died on Jan. 24, 2021, as well as an oatmeal stout currently fermenting. And for Christmas, they are releasing an eggnog stout, made with cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg.

“After that, we will just have to see what the new year brings,” DeLeon said. “There might be a brut IPA, kinda like a champagne beer. But we are just going to have fun. I love what we are doing and I love the people who come here for our beer.”

The new beers of Mad Pursuit Brewing Company

Fruited Apricot Sour (5%)  For Hollister’s Grillin & Chillin Alehouse and Brewery Twenty Five, B&R Farms apricot puree is a critical ingredient in their light and full-fruit Apricot King and Fuzzy Jules beers. Mad Pursuit follows a different path, sacrificing the sweet smoothness of the apricot to emphasize the tangy earthiness of the fruit. Each batch uses 50 pounds of apricot puree per 31-gallon barrel and the fruit comes through darkly, concentrated but nicely balanced. The aroma is less apricot than clove and balsam. It’s a dry beer with not a lot of residual sweetness. The yeast used produces enough lactic acid to keep the pH moderate and the sourness in the finish comes off as a pleasant dash of vinegar. 

El Dankerino Double West Coast IPA (8.1%)  A play on El Duderino from the Cohen Brothers film “The Big Lebowski,” and like The Dude, this one has a distinct profile—a bit of sweetness swirling around the dankness. With an aroma of malt, this beer owes much of its flavor to the use of Incognito-brand hops. The bitterness is there, along with floral notes in the aroma and taste, but it delicately resolves itself. This is a very inviting beer though I suspect it would be tough to pair with food. Onion rings sound tempting, or a good grilled chicken sandwich, but I would favor drinking this on its own. 

Autumn Burns Red (6.1%) In a nod toward the American metalcore band August Burns Red from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, this was originally intended as a Halloween beer and was going to be called “Blood Red.” Brewed with Norwegian Kveik yeast, it’s a malty beer with a citrusy taste and an edge of lime peel. This is a personal favorite of Mad Pursuit co-owners Lino Gonzalez and Paul Swearingen.

The One Hazy IPA (6.9%) “When I tried this beer,” DeLeon said, “the first thing I said to my partners was, ‘This is the one, the best beer we have ever made.’ And the name just stuck.” I have to agree—out of all the local beers I have tried, I would place The One on my top five list. The brewers varied the normal process by adding hops to the mash instead of adding them to the boil. The first thing you notice is the fruity aroma that jumps out at you, a sweet tropical scent of mango and banana that reminds DeLeon of Juicy Fruit gum. The change in the process did not hurt the balance of the beer. It floats on your palate, with no bitterness or hoppy aftertaste. You could serve this beer with just about anything, but I was happy drinking it by itself to better enjoy the fireworks display in the notes and flavors. 


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