Old Stump Brewing Company brings communities together
by Arielle Torrez
photography by Kathleen Arellano
A brown-haired woman greets you with a high pitched, “Hello! How are you today? What can I get started for you?” Her enthusiasm is absolutely contagious and leaves you smiling. A few other customers walk in as she discusses specialties on tap and the European flare included in each gulp. She excuses herself to go around the room and give welcoming hugs to familiar faces. “I have yet to see you this week, can I get you your usual?” The customer nods their head with an excited grin. She approaches the selection of taps and hands the customer a gently-poured brew as she asks how the family is doing.
“Hey Barbara! Do you think I can get some dog treats for the little fella when you have a chance?” Barbara rushes to a jar filled with dog treats and feeds the furry friend as she laughs and walks back behind the bar. Just about every person in the tasting room seems to have this undeniable connection with her. This is the at-home feeling co-owner Barbara Gallob gives the second you walk through the Old Stump Brewing Company’s doors.
The sense of localism and community is present from the moment you step into Old Stump. College students, businessmen, cyclists, families and even dogs can be seen throughout the wide-open tasting room. The long bar lines up against one side of the room, listing all beers on tap for the day. The wooden interior, paired with sunlight peeking through the windows, give the room a cabin-like feel. The staff is easily recognizable with big smiles on their faces and t-shirts that read “BREW CREW.” The outdoor patio smells of the food that will be served alongside a nice, cold brew. “I think the quality of local brew and community is what really drives people to come in. My husband Harald and I have traveled all over the place, and we have always said that the best places to go are the ones that as soon as you walk in, they remember you and remember your drink,” Barbara says.
Although Old Stump has been open only since September 2015, they have gained quite the following and several regular customers. “It’s that sense of making you feel at home and part of the family. That’s what we try to do here and we have made great interactions with customers by doing so; we are a family-owned and family-run business and we take pride in that,” Barbara says. Barbara’s enthusiasm is definitely shown by her hugging every regular customer that walks in and striking conversation with anyone walking up to the bar to order a drink.
The Old Stump Brewing Company is located on Bonita Avenue in Pomona amongst other commercial-style buildings, giving it more of a local feel. The big, open tasting room accompanied by an outdoor patio leaves plenty of space for the perfect gathering. The bar is lined up all across the room, making it more accessible to order a drink with a big crowd. During weekend evenings, Old Stump is energized with live music and local food from places such as Pappas Artisanal, Wood Stone Pizza Company, Pirate’s Bistro and more. They even have a variety of board games to choose from for families to turn their visit to the brewery into a fun-filled game night. The microbrew, unlike others, has late night hours and stays open until 11 p.m. on weekend evenings.
A European twist on craft beer
For beer lovers who are looking for a more diverse beer than the average, run-of-the-mill brew, Old Stump Brewing Company is on a mission to bring a European twist on craft beer to the surrounding communities. It offers unique flavors that have been praised highly by customers. Harald Gallob, the head brewer, is an Austrian native and displays that in every beer he brews. “I moved to the United States when my mother wasn’t able to find work and then later attended Cal Poly San Louis Obispo, but I have always carried my European background with me. Most of our beers are catered to the European taste and flare which is what makes us different from other local breweries,” Harald says.
Old Stump is one of many breweries that has been opened in the area. La Verne Brewing Company, Claremont Craft Ales, Last Name Brewery (formerly Dale Brothers) and Rok House Brewing Company are just some of the microbreweries that have brought their own twist on craft beer to the local areas. However, Old Stump brings a different taste with a history. Each beer is handcrafted by brewers who understand how important the European twist is to the Old Stump brand.
The brewery offers a variety of beers, including their flagship beer, the Red Hammock IPA. The Red Hammock can also be seen at Cask and Cleaver in San Dimas and at the Cantina Grille located on the Pomona College campus. Their Milk Stout can also be seen around the community at Slater’s 50/50 in Rancho Cucamonga. Old Stump carries a few seasonal beers such as Santa’s Sin, a spiced brown ale during the Christmas season, and a summer beer called Bonfire Blonde. Old Stump also offers a variety of light beers, hoppy beers with a floral or spicy flavor, and specialty craft beers for those who want something hearty. All beers served range anywhere from 4.6 to 6.3 percent alcohol, giving a slight buzz paired with its powerful flavor.
Opening Old Stump
The microbrewery was opened by two couples with a love for brew — Barbara and Harald Gallob alongside their longtime friends, Liz and Mike Conway. Ten years ago, owner and main brewer Harald unexpectedly received an at-home brewing kit for Father’s Day from Barbara and their son. Little did Harald know, this would soon become a full time job. “I started playing around with the brew kit and realized, ‘Hey, I’m not so bad at this,’” Harald says. He then spent hours and hours testing out different ways and techniques using his small-sized kit.
Harald and Liz worked together in a financial company before the market crashed a few years back, which led to the idea of opening Old Stump. “Running the brewery is 20 percent brewing beer and 80 percent running a business, so (for) Liz and I, having a background in the business aspect has definitely helped us,” Harald says. Harald brought the idea up to Liz and she was more than willing to get her husband involved as well. Thus, a beautiful partnership began. “With all of our talents, the brewery really came together and we’re all very proud of what it has become. We will not put anything out for sale unless it is family approved by all of us and that is what makes us special,” Harald says.
While discussing a name, the couples faced issues on the location of the brewery. They joked about how stubborn they were at rooting their feet to the location. The name “Old Stump” tells the story about what it took to get to where they are as a company now and that they really are more than just good taste — that the microbrewery is “rooted” deep, just like an old stump.
Embracing localism and the community
It is clear that Old Stump takes pride in being a part of the community, not only through their customer interactions, but they also hire local bands to play on weekend nights along with local restaurants to cater to hungry beer drinkers. The microbrew is also home to the La Verne Chamber of Commerce Bunko Night, Kiwanis Club Casino Night with blackjack, poker, food, and other local fundraisers. The fundraiser events bring in a fun crowd to the brewery to celebrate for a great cause. A local bicycle group meets at Old Stump every Thursday to share some brew and get other community members interested in the outdoors. Old Stump has also been home to local community member’s birthday events and retirement parties.
Both regulars and those who are just passing by have really appreciated the space that Old Stump has brought to the community. Glendora native, Ryan Smith, has been coming to Old Stump since opening day. “I appreciate the atmosphere at Old Stump. I bring my kids in there along with my dogs and it’s just a welcoming environment to us all. It doesn’t feel like a typical bar and I enjoy that, the Red Hammock IPA is what keeps me coming back, it is a lot different than most IPAs and it isn’t too heavy when you drink it. Their drinks overall are just very refreshing.”
Craft beer has been highly praised by those in the local community and has become almost a hobby to explore each microbrew the area has to offer. “Being able to talk and ‘geek out’ with other microbrew fanatics is only half the fun. When you’re able to try the beer from the source, witness the environment they provide and enjoy the company of family and friends all at the same time is a great experience,” says Jacob Rivera, local beer buyer for Liquorama.
The tasting room wall will have a mural that will tie in the La Verne, Pomona and Claremont communities together. “We are in close proximity with three wonderful cities and we want to exhibit that in our business. It is important to us to show that we are engaged in our surroundings and appreciate the bond between our location,” Barbara says. The mural will be painted by a Pomona native and will be complete by the summer of 2016. “This mural is something that will bring lot of liveliness and we are looking forward to it being the centerpiece of our business,” Barbara says.
Old Stump Brewing Company is not only bringing a community-friendly environment for craft beer, but is providing a place for locals to hang out as well. This family-run business takes great pride in what they do while servicing the community that has given so much to them. Buying local brew is something that has been embraced by the community and is definitely celebrated at Old Stump. The Gallobs and Conways have brought their friendly faces and Euro-beer to Pomona, and they are here to stay.