We sat down with Scott Cortellessa, one of the founders of San Juan Capistrano’s newest brewery, Docent. Scott, along with his co-founders uphold three pillars, craftsmanship, community and independence. Their mission is to provide a home away from home, a place where the community feels welcome, “a spot for your best memories and feats, fostered around independently brewed beers, distinctive eats, and familiar faces”. They work under the belief that their community is just as passionate and free-spirited as they are. It was important for them to create a space where like-minded people come together over a local brew and get lost in the moment. All of their beers are brewed with an intent on flavor and purpose, with no focus on any particular beer style and just as their mission states, there is a beer for almost anyone.
How to Docent come to be? As a restaurant owner, how did you get into beer making?
Scott Cortellessa: Docent came to be from a group of friends gathered around a campfire talking about a passion for craft beer. There isn’t a direct connection from restaurant to brewery except in 2011 we redesigned our South Laguna La Sirena Grill location and wanted craft beer to be a focus of our offerings.
How does sustainability play a role in your business? Why is that important to you?
SC: The spent grain helps feed farmers’ livestock, and our kitchen food scrap recycles. We’re a small startup doing what we can to support our community, we ride bikes and socialize locally. Sustainability is important to us because the alternative seems wasteful and short-sighted. It may take more effort to focus on sustainability, but once you get the connection to its benefits you can’t turn back.
Favorite beer on tap? What’s an adventurous beer that you like to recommend?
SC: Grandpappy Imperial Stout, a beer best around a Campfire (we like to camp and ride bikes). We recently started barrel aging Grandpappy to be released for our one-year anniversary party in March 2018.
Why did you choose to start your brewery in San Juan Capistrano? What does community mean to you?
SC: Both of Docents owners live in San Juan Capistrano, it is close to the beach, bicycle trails and is San Juan Capistrano’s first brewery. We call ourselves “San Juan Capistrano’s Public House”, and we strive to be involved in our local community. From supporting MS charity bicycle rides to our local Chamber of commerce.
What keeps you optimistic and hopeful?
SC: Every day ends in a beer and gratefulness that we’re part of the growing Orange County craft beer scene.
Tell us about the sourcing of your ingredients, what steps do you take to source responsibly?
SC: We don’t have many options sourcing our ingredients as of yet, our dream is to one day partner with Hop farms and have input on variety and growing techniques.
What is one simple solution you believe makes a big impact on our planet?