Current events, beer mix well in Half Moon Bay 

A brewery may not seem like a typical venue for an informed talk on contemporary events, but Lenny Mendonca, co-founder of Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., doesn’t mind bucking the trend.

Tonight Mendonca welcomes David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay, to the brewery for its “Brews and Views” lecture series, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary.

“I’ve been a huge fan and listener of the Commonwealth Club lecture series since I was a kid,” Mendonca says. “I thought it would be fun to host a set of events where we can have serious conversations but in a more informal setting. The whole spirit of it is to have a really good, engaged conversation in a relaxed setting.”

Mendonca grew up on his father’s dairy farm in Turlock, and listened to the Commonwealth Club lectures on the radio while milking cows.

“My dad still listens to those lectures,” Mendonca says. “When you’re sitting milking cows there’s not a lot to engage your mind.”

“Brews and Views” happens the first Thursday of each month, with occasional special events, including film screenings, sprinkled throughout the year. Technology forecaster Paul Saffo, one of the series’ first speakers, compared it to activities at British pubs, long known for being centers for news and topical discussions, especially in rural communities.

“Something we’re trying to do at the brewery is be a community center,” says Mendonca, who, after recently retiring from a consulting job, was inspired by his home-brew experiments to start Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.

“We have a setting where everyone knows where it is, and I always start the conversations by saying it is informal, but we’re going to have a serious conversation.”

Future guest speakers include Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, and Sean Randolph, president of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

Mendonca has yet to be turned down by any speakers, many of whom are intrigued by the casual setting, and of course, the brews. “A lot of them expect a different kind of audience, but it’s actually an informed audience,” Mendonca says. “They ask good questions, and everyone has fun and learns a lot too.”

IF YOU GO

Brews and Views

with David Lewis of Save the Bay

Where: Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., 390 Capistrano Road, Half Moon Bay

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Tickets: Free

Contact: (650) 728-2739, www. hmbbrewingco.com

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Lauren Gallagher

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