Mountain View’s Tied House Celebrates 25th Year, Plus Q & A with Owner Lou Jemison

Tied House Microbrewery founder and owner Lou Jemison (r) chatting with Hermitage Brewing brewmaster Peter Licht (l), May 2012
Tied House Microbrewery founder and owner Lou Jemison (r) chatting with Hermitage Brewing brewmaster Peter Licht (l), May 2012

Downtown Mountain View’s Tied House Microbrewery opened their doors back in January 1988. To celebrate their 25th anniversary year, Tied House is hosting the next South Bay Beerwalk on Sat., June 1 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This event marks the first time that the popular Beerwalk series will be held in Mountain View, as previous Beerwalks have taken place in Japantown San Jose, downtown Campbell, and Willow Glen.

The complete list of participating breweries (including Tied House, Strike, Faultline, Gordon Biersch, Hermitage, and the new San Jose brewing company Santa Clara Valley Brewing) and tasting locations (including Tied House, Steak Out Burgers and Beer Garden, Jane’s Beer Store, and the recently opened Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant) is available on The Beerwalk Mountain View website.

Tickets are $30 if purchased in advance, and check-in for the Beerwalk starts at noon at Tied House.

Director of marketing for Tied House Carolyn Hopkins-Vasquez says, “Tied House has been fortunate to be a part of this amazing community for 25 years. To celebrate, we are excited to work with Beerwalk to show off the vibrant, local business scene on and around Castro Street, and to introduce Mountain View to some of the best regional craft beer.”

Hopkins-Vasquez began working at Tied House eight years ago as a server prior to overseeing the marketing functions. She credits the successful run of Tied House to its founder and owner Lou Jemison, a Santa Cruz native.

After graduating from UC Berkeley with a history degree, Jemison opened one of the first “fern bars” in the Los Angeles area, calling it The San Francisco Saloon Company. During this time, Jemison acquired Ford’s Fountain in Watsonville, a coffee shop and bakery, which he managed after selling his share of The San Francisco Saloon Company and moving back to the Bay Area. He began a catering company from Ford’s and then in 1986, planted the seeds for Tied House.

Hopkins-Vasquez shares, “Lou is not one for many words. He is passionate about his company, and also about keeping talent and fostering employee talent. For example, he allowed me to create my own job, essentially as a cheerleader for the company. That speaks to the nature of his leadership style.

His quiet but supportive leadership is what keeps the company prosperous and maintains a healthy work environment. I like to think his style is right on par with the whole of Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial spirit and creative nature.”

Jemison recently took the time to answer some questions, including how the idea for starting Tied House Microbrewery came about.

How does it feel reaching this milestone number of 25 years? What does it mean for you?

Our parent company, a family owned farm and land company in Watsonville, just turned 84, so 25 seems like yesterday.

How did the idea for Tied House come about?

In 1986, I traveled to Baden Baden, in what was then West Germany, to visit a friend. While there, I went to several brewery-restaurants and was impressed with the concept. I also loved the idea of having a view of the brewery machinery and the brewing process; something about the ambiance struck me.

When I returned to California, I found out a recent law had been passed making it legal to manufacture and sell beer at the same site. The idea for the name, as well as the concept, of Tied House was born.

We brought in Cheuck H. Tom as our Brewmaster, who previously worked as Chief Chemist and Brewer/Assistant Brewmaster at San Miguel Brewery in Hong Kong and Assistant Brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch in Los Angeles. Under his leadership, Tied House quickly earned multiple GABF and World Beer Cup medals.

The recipes he developed are still made today, and held to the highest standards of brewing, by Brewmaster Ron Manabe and his team.

Why did you select downtown Mountain View as the location to open Tied House?

The Mountain View City Manager called me up and convinced me to open in Mountain View instead of a neighboring town. The city owned the building we are in and sold it to us.

What Tied House achievement are you proudest of?

Being part of creating a quality locally-produced and locally-consumed product in a friendly, open setting is what I am most proud of.

What are your hopes for the next 25 years?

World peace… and I can stay healthy for most of those 25 years.

Anything else to add?

Go Sharks! Go Giants! What about those 49ers?!


In reaching the 25-year milestone, Tied House shows no signs of slowing down, no doubt buoyed by a strong management team, solid food, good beer, a fun and open environment, and friendly customer service.

Indeed, several recent mid-afternoon lunch visits to Tied House consisted of great food, tasty beers, and excellent service, prompting immediate planning for return visits. That the establishment is guided by such a respected owner, and an avid Bay Area sports fan to boot, makes it all the better.

About Tied House Microbrewery: Tied House was founded in 1987 and poured its first pint in January of 1988. Twenty-Five years later, Tied House continues its loyalty to the community and provides a dynamic, fun space where guest can continue to enjoy their favorite Tied House beer. In 2010 and 2011, Tied House acquired over ten awards, including back-to-back Gold Medals for its Ironwood Dark from the California State Commercial Craft Brewers Competition.

About Beerwalk: The Beerwalk is an event that engages the community and presents a great opportunity for them to get to know their neighborhood better, all while enjoying craft beer. Jordan Trigg and Charlie Mann, who own several small businesses in San Jose and Campbell, founded Beerwalk. The Beerwalk’s mission is to provide a social outlet for local communities and neighborhoods, while highlighting small businesses and raising funds for their business associations. Beerwalks give “Beerwalkers” the opportunity to visit new stores and restaurants while tasting local and imported beers.

[This post was shared on]