Chula Vista’s Novo Brazil Brewing recently implemented a packaging rebrand, the mission of which was three-fold. The Brazilian ownership team wanted to broaden its concept into a fermented-beverage operation, while incorporating and celebrating their homeland’s native flavors, and showing off the colorful culture and “happiness” of their homeland. The vibrant cans containing the company’s assorted beers, hard seltzers and kombuchas were a nice first step, but the vehicle best driving home Novo Brazil’s identity is its newly soft-opened brewpub at the Otay Ranch Town Center.
Located at 2015 Birch Toad, Suite 1017, the combination bar, restaurant and brewery, comes in at a whopping 12,000 square feet. From an exterior sporting a black-and-white wave pattern mimicking the walkways of Copa Cabana beach to an interior sporting a wavy west wall and similarly curvy bar (one of the longest in South Bay if not the entire county), plus furniture fashioned from Brazilian wood, murals from Brazilian artists depicting Rio de Janeiro and Pelé, it is an authentic interpretation and presentation of the owners’ heritage.
But it isn’t all about them. Just as important, they say, is conveying the roots they’ve laid down in Southern California and recognizing the influence of Chula Vista’s Hispanic population. “It’s important to us that people know Novo Brazil is not imported beer,” says Novo Brazil co-founder and president, Tiago Carneiro. “We are an American company with Brazilian soul.”
To that end, an installation using beer-can lids to make out the bear from the California state flag can be found atop a row of refrigerators packed with assorted beverages to-go. A foeder in the dining area features hand-painted, Mexican-inspired art and a mural of famed artist Frida Kahlo sidles the entrance to a kitchen made fully visible via glass panes. That space is the domain of Carlos Araujo, a chef who moved from Brazil to helm this project. His offerings are currently limited to five items but will soon expand to a full menu of dishes fusing Brazilian-inspired flavors and ingredients with recognizable preparations spanning multiple cultures.
The new location—its third overall and second in Chula Vista (joining its Eastlake headquarters)—is Novo Brazil’s largest to date and boasts a capacity of 957. That’s a lot of people to please, and ownership has gone to lengths to provide various means for doing so. A pair of 14-foot-by-10-foot televisions are mounted on the east wall, two pairs of shuffleboard tables serve as dividers in the shotgun-style dining room, and a kid’s area that will feature ping-pong, video games and other activities will be completed by the time the business officially debuts.
A five-barrel brewhouse and accompanying fermentation tanks occupy the south end of the venue. Brewer José Felipe Carneiro and company have lofty aspirations where that equipment is involved. They intend to brew more than 300 different beers at the brewpub in the first year alone, with over 50 of them being different hazy IPAs. They will need a great deal of variety to fill their 60 taps, roughly 40 of which will dispense beer with the rest designated for kombucha and seltzer. Additionally, Novo Brazil has applied for a distilling license at the brewpub in hopes of producing canned cocktails.
Novo Brazil’s Otay Ranch brewpub will hold its official grand-opening festivities on Wednesday, December 11 beginning at 11 a.m. Until then, it will continue in soft-open mode, open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. most days.