Wild Parrot Brewing

Pasadena’s Newest Brewery

by Guest Boss Blogger, 93 KHJ

Photo courtesy of Yelp reviewer Matthew M.

My daughter, J.J., was in town visiting from Boston and we wanted to try a new brewery on our way to the Pasadena restaurant, Deluxe 1717 where my niece works. So, I pulled up my well-used Yelp app and came across Wild Parrot Brewing Company. My immediate thought was that it must somehow be related to Jimmy Buffet’s “Parrot Head” fans. The term Parrot Head was coined in 1985 by Timothy B. Schmidt (of Eagles fame) who at the time played in Jimmy Buffet’s Coral Reefer Band. He noticed fans wearing parrot hats and the name was born!

But I digress…back to Wild Parrot Brewery.

Wild Parrot Brewing Company (WPBC) is in East Pasadena (2302 E. Colorado Boulevard) and shares a space with Rosebud Coffee. This is a great marriage because once Rosebud Coffee closes, WPBC opens. While WPBC has nothing to do with Jimmy Buffet, it has a unique background story that is told in animated murals (painted by the owners’ neighbor) on the brewery’s wall.

Photo by J.J.

According to John Jackson, one of the owners, the name pays homage to all the wild parrots found in East Pasadena and he encouraged me to look up the legend of where all those parrots came from. Never one to let a challenge like this go by, I immediately looked it up, and here is the short version of the legend:

Photo ⓒ Larry Ditto

It started with Simpson’s Garden Town Nursery and Bird Farm which was a nursery started in 1928. The nursery soon grew to include many things, including a pet shop. Unfortunately, in 1959 there was a fire which destroyed the nursery buildings among other things. According to the legend, all the birds, i.e. the ancestors of the East Pasadena parrots, were released during the fire. Hence the evolution of the Pasadena parrots!

Upon entering the brewery we were greeted by John, who owns the brewery with his wife Kirsten. John and Kirsten are local Pasadena residents and John was full of energy and excitement about his beer and brewery. As of the date of this writing, they have only been officially open for about six weeks. The atmosphere is colorful and gives you a friendly neighborhood vibe. The beer is brewed onsite in large stainless steel tanks that are visible right as you walk in.

Photo by J.J.

We decided to do samplers of the seven beers on tap which ranged from a pilsner to a coffee stout. The glass samplers were served in muffin tins, which I thought was a very clever idea and when I pointed it out to John, he said it worked well with keeping spillage contained and it was easy to clean. Made sense to me! Their focus seems to be on lagers, as those were the first beers they brewed.

The Beer

The Doug Heavy American Lager seems to be a fan favorite, as is the Pandemonium West Coast IPA (their only IPA), which my daughter really enjoyed along with the Margadena Lime Sour.

Photo by J.J.

J.J. said, “I like that the IPA isn’t hoppy, and has some caramel notes.”

My favorites were the Doug Heavy Lager as it had a light, crisp, smooth taste from start to finish, and the Porch Chill Amber Lager as it had a good flavor complexity with hints of caramel.

The third lager was a Marzen Lager called Squawktoberfest and the pilsner was called Snobbytown. Both were fairly typical and didn’t stand out to me. The Suburban Weekend Coffee Stout was like drinking a shot of espresso. The taste of coffee was immediate.

Another thing to mention is that they have other things to drink such as wine and cider, which is always nice when you go out with someone who is not a beer lover. In addition, they have some yummy-looking bar food, which includes a very large pretzel. 

Photo by J.J.
Photo by J.J.

The affable patron sitting next to us begged us to share with him the pretzel he ordered. When we declined, he ended up eating the whole thing himself and proclaimed it delicious! He was quite chatty and told us he lives in the neighborhood and couldn’t contain his excitement about having a local brewery within walking distance, not to mention that it was attached to his favorite coffee shop.

The Wild Parrot Brewing Company is definitely worth a visit. You’ll love the ambiance, not to mention the beer. And keep an eye out for weekly events such as Tuesday Trivia Nights. We were told they can get quite lively!

— Cheers, Boss Blogger 93 KHJ

2 thoughts on “Wild Parrot Brewing

  1. Loved this post! And those Altadena parrots are for real. Make quite a clatter at times. Chauncey and I will be heading over to Wild Parrot soon to put more feathers in our pub hats.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s