For more than a decade, Giovanni Albanese and Robert Anderson have been taking bold risks with their home-brewed beers.
By their estimates, the two have brewed more than 350 different beers, with the goal of trying new twists on flavors no other brewers have attempted. They’ve covered all types of lagers, pilsners, IPAs and more, with sours such as smoked honey ham scotch blonde, bleu cheese and olive martini lager, among other flavors.
They’ve shared their creations with family and friends to rave reviews. Now, they’re taking their passion to the masses.
Albanese and Anderson, the owners of Settle Down Beer, recently signed a lease to open their establishment in downtown Gilroy at 7515 Monterey St. The building is one of many along the corridor that is undergoing seismic retrofits, with work nearing completion.
“We’ve been sharing our beer for 12 years now to family and friends,” Albanese said. “The response has been incredible. We want to share it with Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Hollister and all the South Bay. That’s our hope.”
Albanese, who lives in Gilroy, met Anderson, who is now his brother-in-law, about 12 years ago. They would frequently buy different beers to enjoy, when an idea struck.
“We were spending all this money buying these beers, we decided we might as well make them ourselves,” Anderson said. “And here we are, 350 batches later.”
Albanese and Anderson said they’ve been searching for a long time for a spot to open to the public.
Albanese and his family moved from Fremont to Gilroy in 2018.
“It’s such a tight-knit community,” he said of Gilroy. “Everybody’s really welcoming to their neighbors.”
Looking to establish Settle Down Beer downtown, Albanese and Anderson worked with John Taft of Maxima Realty Group to find a spot. After touring a few buildings earlier this year, the two “fell in love” with 7515 Monterey St., Albanese said.
Constructed in 1900, the 1,800-square-foot building has housed a market, music store and water store, among other businesses. The back of the building, located on Gourmet Alley, features a patio.
Such a business is what downtown property owners are hoping to attract to Gourmet Alley, which stretches from Third to Seventh streets. Downtown owners envision a variety of restaurants and other businesses to attract locals and tourists to the area.
Albanese said they were originally slated to open in October, but with Covid-19 delays, the brewery is eyeing an early 2021 debut.
Settle Down Beer is reaching out to the community to help with start-up costs. The owners have set up a GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/f/helpsettledownbeer, offering merchandise and other incentives to those who donate.
Once the pandemic eases, Albanese and Anderson hope to grow a craft beer movement in the downtown corridor. Although Golden State Brew and Grill closed in 2019, Monterey Street is still home to Promised Land Brewing Company, with Bitter TapHouse and Lonely Oak Brew Pub and Pizzeria in the works.
Anderson said he and Albanese don’t consider themselves businessmen in the traditional sense, but rather, two craft beer lovers who want to share their passion with others.
“We realize there may not be a ton of money in brewing beer, but that’s not necessarily our goal,” he said. “When people enjoy our beer, that makes it worth it.”