By Emily Frisan, Jan. 25, 2022

I have always been intrigued by Innovation Brew Works, Cal Poly Pomona’s café and brewery located at Innovation Village, but as a commuter student, I never allocated the time to visit.

Since becoming a student at Cal Poly Pomona, I constantly heard the restaurant hosted trivia nights and offered specialty items for sale. As a student who is now 21, I decided to see what it was all about.

The first beer in my flight was Dr. Ortiz from the classic menu. Although the initial description wasn’t appealing, the cashier explained that the oranges in the brew were cultivated by Cal Poly Pomona’s orange groves, so I tried it. The university’s “learn-by-doing” philosophy matches perfectly with the curation at Innovation Brew Works with its laboratory showing a deep connection with the campus through the menu.

The Belgian-style witbier tasted very clean, free of flaws or any other distracting flavors. Dr. Ortiz was very easy to drink, but the orange flavor wasn’t as strong as I’d like. Overall, I can see how this is considered a part of their Core Classes selection.

My second beer was the Magic School Bus, described by the menu as possessing a fruity blueberry and milky yet sugary, sour taste. The beer was tart but sweet and generally tasted very vibrant. Although there wasn’t as much berry flavor as I desired, I wish this seasonal release was available all year round.

The turkey avocado ciabatta sandwich and beer flight, as pictured above. (Courtesy of Emily Frisan)

I was pleasantly surprised to see various sections of appetizers, fresh salads, sandwiches, build-your-own pizzas and desserts. The website mentioned using seasonal produce grown on our campus throughout the year in select dishes.

I proceeded to order the turkey avocado sandwich which became a clean addition in between tasting each beer. The garlic aioli was slathered on a perfectly toasted ciabatta roll which became more addicting after each bite.

Overall, the ambiance possesses everything needed for a perfect ending to the day. There was plenty of indoor and outdoor dining space accompanied by games of cornhole and Jenga to play with friends.

I was greeted by various COVID-19 advisory signs which made me feel more comfortable about precautions the brewery was taking.

Interested students can look at the menu and find their current hours of operation on the   Innovation Brew Works’ website.

Featured image courtesy of Emily Frisan.

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