When first-timers stroll in and spot the decor and menu dishes that boldly share a common denominator, it’s not unusual for them to pose a valid question.
“What is it with all of the avocado stuff around here?” says Tim Hass, owner of Patent 139 Brewing Co., with a chuckle. “Then, they flip the menu over and see our story.”
When Hass opened his Chandler brewery in January, it was a brick-and-mortar validation of his great-grandfather’s place in culinary and cultural history.
The fact that nearly every item on the menu incorporates the Hass avocado is not a gimmick. It’s a history lesson about this country’s most beloved avocado variety.
In the late 1920s, Pasadena postman Rudolf Gustav Hass decided to indulge his inner entrepreneur by growing avocado trees. He bought seeds from a farmers market believing they would become the popular Fuerte variety—a large bright green specimen that wowed with its smooth exterior and mango essence.
But when those trees yielded fruit that was smaller with rough black skin, Rudolf was stumped. Unsure what to do, he sold them at the farmers’ market. They were a huge hit.
“The Fuerte looked good but it had this hard interior. This has a creamy fattiness that people loved,” Hass says.
In 1935, Rudolf was granted the patent for the Hass Avocado, specifically U.S. Patent 139. Today, that variety represents 90% of all avocados sold worldwide.
Rudolf partnered with a local nursery and received 25 cents for every Hass Avocado tree sold, earning about $4,000 from this venture.
Prior to the 17-year patent renewal deadline, Rudolf passed away from a heart attack, and his place in avocado lore all but faded away. But When Hass’ grandfather died eight years ago and the family went through his belongings, they discovered his great-grandmothers’ written stories that documented his family’s tie to the avocado.
A veteran of the food and beverage industry, Hass decided to open a brewery that pays homage to his lineage. With Executive Chef Jared Martinez, he pushes the capabilities of the avocado’s talents in creative bites—its fat is used as a substitute for butter in the green buffalo sauce, the avocado’s natural subtle smokiness plays well in the in-house smoked feta and avocado dip, and the octopus starter gets a boost from an avocado salsa verde.
Avocados are even used instead of egg yolks to make an avocado crème brulée. And, the brewing of an avocado-infused Kolsch beer is a quarterly tradition.
If he were around today, what would the man responsible for introducing the Hass avocado to the world tell his great-grandson?
Hass says, “He’d look at me and be like, ‘I’m glad you're taking something that’s part of our family history and putting it out there.’”