By Emily G. Peters
Flavor-seeking caffeine fiends should make their way to Home Brewed Bar, a Pasadena cafe distilling new flavors from the classics.
Managed by “renegade entrepreneur” Brian Molina, Home Brewed Bar’s painstaking “toddy” technique creates a smoother, less acidic base for its inventive cold-brewed concoctions.
“I want people to see that coffee and tea don’t have to be strong and bitter to give you that punch and kick to get you through the day,” said Molina. “Coffee and tea can actually taste good as opposed to strong.”
And here, they do. The menu at Home Brewed Bar reflects Molina’s 20-plus years of experience developing menus and mixing cocktails in the restaurant/bar/club business. Home Brewed Bar marinates both grinds and leaves for 20 hours—the “toddy” process—before combining them in a variety of hot, iced or blended concoctions, like Nutella or Matcha Pistachio. Enhancements like mini boba, extensive milk alternatives and the mind-blowing Taro whipped cream (do not skip this) allow customers to season their selection to taste. The resulting flavors are complex, yet mild, feeding in a maddening desire to try the whole menu—and to pull up a stool and stay a while.
“We wanted an atmosphere that skewed to camaraderie and conversation, so we designed our tables to be like bar tops at your local watering hole during happy hour,” explained Molina. “We are definitely all about the home feeling and vibes.”
That vibe is largely attributed to the staff at Home Brewed Bar, whom Molina cites the most important part of this “home away from home” model.
“My team is great,” he said. “Behind that bar and, sometimes in front of it, are an assortment of comedians and creatives. We’ve been fortunate to hire super genuine people; really friendly and always hard-working.” His business partners also serve as inspiration for life both in and outside of Home Brewed Bar.
“We met at Cal State Fullerton as club members of the Pilipino American Student Association (PASA),” he said. “Ever since then we’ve been trying to make our mark, break from traditional jobs and become leaders as Pilipino Americans; to become leaders, mentors, partners and friends to other members of PASA, to other entrepreneurs, and really, to anybody out there who wants to listen and be part of it all.”
It’s clear the team behind Home Brewed Bar is doing something right. With glowing Yelp reviews and a loyal following, Home Brewed Bar is slated to open a second location in Cerritos this spring—an encouraging success story in a sea of competing name-brand coffee shops. To Molina, future growth will involve constant innovation as well as that home-brewed hospitality.
“Indie business are a birthplace for innovation and invention. Much like how baggy pants were once a thing which then moved on to skinny jeans, I’m sure the shell will change to keep us ‘lit,’ so to speak,” he said. “One thing’s for sure, our heart won’t.”
Home Brewed Bar is located at 39 N. Arroyo Parkway in Old Town Pasadena. Contact the team at www.homebrewedbar.com | 626.397.2887 | firstname.lastname@example.org and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @homebrewedbar.