Eastlakers Can Now Stumble Home On Foot!
The first craft brewery has opened in Chula Vista!
The first craft beer brewery in Chula Vista, NOVO Brazil, opened on Friday, April 17th. Starting as early as 4 p.m., the parking lot was packed as local Eastlakers rushed inside to try five new beers with a Brazilian twist.
The brains of the operation, general manager and co-owner Morise Gusmao, grew up in the northeastern part of Brazil and came to the U.S. at the age of 18. He studied business at San Diego State University and after graduation he worked in the corporate world while brewing beer as a hobby. His dream was to own a craft brewing company and in 2008 Gusmao made it happen. He went back to Brazil and established his first brewery there.
He developed several business partnerships, including with a Brazilian distributor. After five years, he returned to Eastlake where he lives with his wife and twin daughters. Calling the neighborhood home, he started driving around in search of a suitable brewing location. A commercial building off Lane Avenue beckoned and he then created the company inside along with several financial partners. Preparations for opening day took months. He imported fourteen 100-barrel steel tanks from Brazil and began brewing in the gutted warehouse. He also turned the space into a slick tasting room with shiny hardwood counters.
For opening night, Gusmao rolled out five beers and even tracked down the Brazil on Wheelz foodtruck to serve, among other specialties, Feijoada, the Brazilian National Dish of black beans with 6 cuts of pork and 2 cuts of beef cooked for eight hours.
Gusmao’s beers call out to his home country. There’s the Rio Pale Ale that claims to ‘meet the Samba melody’ and the hefferweisen called Nebulosa, which means cloudy in Portuguese (the national language of Brazil). The Brazil Soul is a balance between a dry stout and a porter and tastes much like a refreshing iced coffee. Gusmao says you can taste the soul of the owners with every sip. For the Session Caucau, Gusmao has added Brazilian caucau nips to give the beer a spicy kick.
The Otay IPA, named after Otay Lakes, is still a little on the weak side. Gusmao describes this beer as a teenager going through puberty. “We take our own spin on the IPA. The aromas are not in your face. It’s more subtle.”
Many of Gusmao’s beers aren’t quite ready yet. It’s similar to waiting for your wife to give birth, he says. He doesn’t know when, but likely within the next few weeks, he’ll have a total of twelve craft beers for customers to taste.
Gusmao says, “We feel that our beers are trying to make our own personality. For example, our beers tend to be more balanced as opposed to straight up hop or straight up malt. We are trying to make it drinkable, enjoyable and smooth in your throat.”
Address: NOVO Brazil Brewing Company, 901 Lane Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91914
Opening Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. everyday, Friday and Saturday they may be open until midnight or 1 a.m.
Prices: $6 for a pint, $7 for a 4-glass tasting. Bottles available for take-out.