WEST SWANZEY — Three friends have launched a new nanobrewery, added to the region’s expanding beer scene.
David Smith of Swanzey co-owns West LA Beer Co. with Ryan Gale and Eric Johnson. The trio conceived the idea about two years ago, with construction ongoing for the past year and a half, Smith said. The brewery hosted its grand opening Oct. 26 to an eager crowd and food from Street Savory Food Truck.
Inside what was formerly a convenience store at 647 West Swanzey Road, the brewery seats nearly 50 people and has six beers on tap, with two more likely on the way, Smith said. There’s also outdoor seating when the weather permits, he added, and often a food truck on the weekends.
Regarding the business’ name, Smith acknowledged that it might be jarring to those who recognize LA as Los Angeles, but he assured there’s a story behind it.
Before the mid-1700s, he said, the town of Swanzey was known as Lower Ashuelot, and since the brewery is less than a half-mile west of the Ashuelot River, the name West LA Beer Co. was born.
“It’s kind of confusing, and I get it, but it’s a name you don’t forget,” Smith said.