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Frequently Asked Questions

Being a Legend means that you have to answer a host of questions. Here are some of the ones we are asked. If you want to ask a question, write to us at questions@mendobrew.com

Who built the bar?

Local woodworkers Ric Garren and Tim Husted built the bar out of solid oak. Its design was based on the style of bars that were present in the oldest San Francisco bars.

What is the difference between Ale and Lager?

Beer is a generic term that includes ales and lagers. Most American beer is lager style, which means the yeast used in fermentation is a bottom-fermenting or lager yeast, which generally ferments at colder temperatures.

Ale yeast ferments at a higher temperature and has a distinct flavor difference. Our proprietary yeast is an ale yeast in the English style and we keep a pure culture of this yeast in our lab. American history had 200 years of ale brewing and drinking before lager beer was introduced by German immigrants in the 1850s.

Our proprietary yeast ferments best around 60 degrees F., another characteristic of ale yeast. Lager beer is generally fermented at lower temperatures, mostly below 50 degrees.


We do not grow hops for our own brews, although we do grow hops in the beer garden for shade and beauty! The hops we use in our ales come from eastern Washington and are seedless - the finest quality available. We use Cluster and Cascade hops for most of our brews.


Our malt is a blend of two-row malted barleys. We use pale malt, crystal or caramel malt and black malt in various amounts for various brews. Malting is when the barley is sprouted, then kilned (roasted) to various degrees for different flavors. The pale malt is the least kilned and the black malt the most.

What started us brewing?

Michael Laybourn, Norman Franks and John Scahill were the founders of the company. Michael and Norman had been home brewers for l0 years till they decided to go professional. Don Barkley and Michael Lovett were brewers at the New Albion Brewing Co. and they along with Jack McAuliffe were hired early on to help us build the Hopland brewery.

Why isn't the beer ice cold?

For fullest flavor, our ales are best at 60° F. The colder they get, the less the flavor. Think of the difference between a fresh tomato right out of the garden and one that has been refrigerated. You get the picture!

Why are there no hops in Hopland anymore?

Hops were the major farm crop around here from the 1850's until the late 1940's and early '50's. About that time, so we were told by a local hop farmer, hops in this area became susceptible to the downy mildew disease and that, along with less hops used by the major brewers, was the end of the local hops industry. With the hops in our Beer Garden, we are the last hop growers in Hopland!

Where do you distribute your beer?

Everywhere we can! 43 states now and growing.