May 28, 2019 – A combination coffee house/brew pub is the latest addition to Oldtown Salinas, promising not only house-roasted coffee drinks, but also a selection of craft beers and live entertainment.
The Beerded Bean, at 210 Main Street, is set for a soft opening this Friday and a grand opening on Saturday. The soft opening on Friday will be from 6am-5pm and the grand opening on Saturday will be 6am-9pm, with live music starting at 10am.
Right now, the Bean is serving coffee only, but beer service is anticipated in the next six weeks or so, according to partner Ernest Rodriguez.
The logo on the storefront says it all: a coffee bean with a green “beard” made of hops, with the slogan, “Best of Both Brews.” The hybrid hangout is the creation of Eric Del Real and Ernest Rodriguez, with Eric’s brother Michael Del Real helping out.
Located in the former Rollick’s Coffee & Internet Café, The Beerded Bean is directly across the street from the recently opened Downtown Book & Sound, and in the same vicinity as 201 Main/Giorgio’s, Patria, and Farmers Union Pour House. It’s a buzzy block that is the heart of Oldtown, and is especially active in the evenings.
Combining coffee and beer might seem like an unusual mix, but it’s actually a trend that’s catching on across the country, as customers gravitate toward locally created products. Both beverages offer a sense of community to those who partake, and that sense of community is exactly what The Beerded Bean is trying to foster, according to president/CEO Eric Del Real.
The Beerded Bean already has a major following, thanks to its presence at area farmers’ markets, where fans discovered the smooth taste of the brand’s beans. It all started because Del Real couldn’t stay away from coffee.
“I once worked in the coffee industry, and it left a vacant place in my heart when that ended back in 2011,” Del Real wrote in an email. “Since that time I tried to open up my own mobile coffee shop but for various reasons, it fell through.”
Del Real worked for six years in the medical field to support his family, but said, “My heart was never in it.” In 2017, he told his wife he wanted to give coffee another go, starting with farmers’ markets and earning the trust of customers.
He did his first farmers’ market in downtown Salinas in December 2017. In June 2018, Del Real brought in Ernest Rodriguez who, with over a decades of business experience in his own ventures, brought a whole new dynamic to the business.
“(Ernest) re-designed our original logo and brings in a creative aspect to the business that has helped with the overall branding and direction in marketing of The Beerded Bean. My brother Michael Del Real who helps balance out overall operations that me and Ernest deal with on the day to day. Since us three joined up, the business took on a life of its own.”
The Beerded Bean specializes in organic fair trade certified coffees from around the world, offering single-origin beans that are roasted in small batches to ensure quality and consistency.
Rodriguez says that just coffee will be served during for the first four to six weeks while the Bean’s beer and wine license gets approved. “We want to keep a unique variety of local and out-of-state beers. In the future we will be hosting taproom takeovers from a variety of different breweries,” he adds. “We will also have bottled options as well as a variety of wines.”
Hours are 6am-9pm but subject to change once the beer and wine license kicks in.
The trio have continued to build their brand, through their website and social media, and offer subscriptions through www.thebeerdedbean.comthat offer regular shipments of beans to subscription customers. At local farmers’ markets, they sell fresh coffee, cold brew and beans.
When the opportunity came up to have a brick-and-mortar store, they jumped at it. After signing the lease for 210 Main Street, they’ve been busy remodeling the space to give it a woodsy/industrial vibe.
Plans call for live entertainment to be a staple at the space.
“The biggest thing for us three is the experience for our customer. You’ll feel the genuine connection when you walk into our café. Offering the best of both brews with specialty coffee and craft beer with live music provides a setting unlike others in our area,” says Del Real.
“We’re all working our passions and doing the best we can to provide unparalleled experience and product to anyone who walks through our doors. It’s our unity that keeps us stable, positive and excited.”
Kathryn McKenzie, who grew up in Santa Cruz and now lives on a Christmas
tree farm in north Monterey County, writes about sustainable living,
home design and health for numerous publications and websites.