Posted by Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. on May 23, 2017
Tucked behind the East side of Figueroa Mountain is a remote campground and trailhead named after one of the area’s most interesting and mysterious residents, Davy Brown. Brown was an Irish immigrant, who adventured across the country from East to West before settling in the Santa Ynez Valley. His legacy is the namesake for our American Brown Ale, Davy Brown, and our Davy Brown Mug Club
Little is known of Brown’s life between his birth in Ireland in 1800 and his death in Santa Barbara County in 1898. Many legends and rumors persist, but Brown didn’t speak much of himself or his accomplishments and left very few official records. (Picture was taken from www.dirtygourmet.com of the Davy Brown Trail at Los Padres National Forest)
The first record of him arose in 1812 when Brown left Ireland aboard a ship. Many claim it was a British privateer fighting Americans in The War of 1812, and that Brown was sent ashore when the United States captured his vessel.
During his exploration West, he reportedly ran into the famous hunter Kit Carson in Missouri, where he honed his sharp shooting and survival skills. From there, he set out to Texas and became a Texas Ranger during some of the wildest years of the Wild West.
By the time of the California gold rush, Brown was in the Sierra Nevada Mountains along with thousands of gold-hungry miners. Brown, however, wasn’t there for gold. He made his living by hunting and trapping, then selling meat and furs to traders.
After the gold rush, Brown moved to San Francisco, where he immediately became very ill. One night, Brown overheard his doctors speaking of his imminent death. Unfazed by their prediction, 72-year-old Davy Brown took off into the hills to live in the wilderness. Brown would tell others that he “fought with death single-handed and whipped him” (Inside The Santa Ynez Valley Magazine).
Shortly after he recovered, Brown made his way down the coast and purchased just over 300 acres of the Rancho Guadalupe. Citing a growing population, Brown left the ‘crowded’ area in 1883 for a home in the wilderness behind Figueroa Mountain.
Davy and his friend George Willis, another mountain man of the time, built a cabin in the untouched backcountry between the two creeks now known as Davy Brown and Fir Canyon creek. Together, Brown and Willis lived a bountiful life taking what they could from nature until Willis passed on in 1890.
Brown lived in the cabin for a few more years until he became too weak to care for himself. He returned to his Guadalupe ranch and passed away at 98 due to cancer.
With the adventurous and elaborate lifestyle that Davy Brown led, we wanted to brew a beer that was as much a staple as Davy Brown’s legend is to the Santa Ynez Valley. Brewed with caramel and chocolate malts and with Northern Brewer and Cascade hops, this brown ale has West Coast hop characteristics with notes of coffee. We hope you’ll enjoy with a good book in front of a crackling fire.
Written by: Tanner Walker
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