A decade-long dream 'in the brewing' is finally coming to fruition for father-daughter dynamic duo Charlie and Taryn Grows. Earlier this year, the City of Folsom approved Uncle Charlie's Firehouse and Brew (UCFB) by a unanimous 6-0 vote, paving the way for the fire-responder-themed establishment's planned opening in early 2024. Located at 905 Leidesdorff Street in Historic Folsom, the 3,322sf location is being renovated with the centerpiece being a 1952 Van Pelt fire engine, which was the third fire engine ever commissioned by the City of Folsom, and where Charlie began his career riding tailboard.
Charlie Grows joined the Folsom Volunteer Fire Department at the age of sixteen after his big brother convinced him "it would be fun" for a whole group of their friends to join the volunteer agency in Folsom together. Charlie spent the next 50 years being of invaluable service to our local communities before retiring as Fire Captain from the Yocha Dehe Fire Department in 2019. His fellow firefighters described Captain Grows as "a wonderful mentor, role model, and an incredibly hard worker. His uplifting personality, genuine kindness, energy, enthusiasm, and 'can do' attitude inspire and encourages others. He is quick to lend a helping hand and leaps at opportunities to serve."
Charlie had many additional jobs while working in the fire service. The Grows family owned a campground on Folsom Lake in the '60s where Charlie worked stacking wood and supplying provisions to campers. He has also been a veterinary assistant, a firefighter in the Air Force, worked on sprinkler systems for farmland, drove a Brinks Armored Car, and owned a payroll company, all while serving our local communities as a firefighter.
UCFB Home of the Halo: In 2010, Charlie’s youngest daughter Stef was at college in Texas and was about to go into doing mission work overseas. She reached out to Taryn to see what to get their dad for Christmas. Taryn texted back, “A half growler of beer” from a Texas brewery they had been to while out there. Christmas morning, Charlie opens up the beer and Stef explains that she had to educate the Texas brewery on how Californians refer to half growlers of beer as a “halo”. Surprised, they realized that Taryn’s text had autocorrected “half growler” to “halo”. A funny and ironic mistake that seemed fitting since Stef was on her way to Christian ministry. The name, Home of the Halo, stuck!
Charlie had a lot of previous brewing experience before the family's brainchild of launching Uncle Charlie's Firehouse and Brew. UCFB has been making great beer for over a decade, taking home 3rd place state honors in 2013 with their unique Kona Coffee Porter. In April 2015, UCFB launched on Facebook with a video spotlighting a six-month-aged Bourbon Barrel Porter and subsequent serving at a Folsom Rotary Club event. The "beernanigans" continued in 2016 with Charlie and Taryn spending the summer globetrotting as interns with World of Beer in search of the best beers in the world. While Charlie knew more about all things beer brewing, Taryn spent the past 8 years navigating all the land mines of a business start-up. "From having to re-zone the space itself to be able to brew beer on-site, to appeal hearings and navigating multiple regulatory agencies in opening a business in California...everything takes significantly more time than you can imagine," says Taryn. Charlie now trusts Taryn more with the business than being on his own. After so much hard work and dedication, we can't wait for the official grand opening of Uncle Charlie's Firehouse and Brew and hope to see you there!
"From having to re-zone the space itself to be able to brew beer on-site, to appeal hearings and navigating multiple regulatory agencies in opening a business in California...everything takes significantly more time than you can imagine," - Taryn Grows @unclecharliesfirehouseandbrew