When the five friends behind Ambitious Ales opened their microbrewery in Bixby Knolls in 2019, they had no idea how it would go. Five years later, their taproom and outdoor beer garden became a bustling community hub.

The brewery is hosting a party on Saturday, March 23 to celebrate their five-year milestone with new merchandise, music, special beer releases, vendors and more.

Balloon artist Scott Lee will be twisting up his creations from noon to 3 p.m., Dan McKinnon will be performing close-up magic from 2 to 5 p.m. and face painting by Bella’s Creative Crew will be offered from 1 to 5 p.m. 

The locally beloved Hamburgers Nice will pop up at noon; Long Beach-based vegan, Filipino bakery San and Wolves will be selling baked goods at 2 p.m. and Oaxacan pop-up Poncho’s Tlayudas will be there starting at 5 p.m.

All vendors will serve until sellout, so attendees are urged to nab some bites as early as possible.

The space the brewery has called home for the past five years was originally Tuttle Cameras, a camera and accessories store. It was the building itself that inspired the group of home brewers to open up a brick-and-mortar.

The space presented an opportunity to breakaway from the standard craft brewery aesthetic — typically industrial, barren warehouses with some taps and a few chairs, co-owner Garrett Carroll said.

“We were attracted to the vibrant, open space,” Carroll said. “It gave us the creativity to make the beer we want to make.”

And even though they were only open for a year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was the community and other local partnerships that saved their business.

“We became a community hub, that was our goal from day one,” Carroll said. “We are forever grateful.”

Carroll describes their growth as “organic”, stemming from word of mouth and focusing the business on crafting good customer service and creating fun beers with a lot of passion behind them. Part of their ethos has also been partnering with other businesses as they have regular food vendors pop up Fridays through Sundays at the brewery.

Their most symbiotic partnership has been with the brewery’s neighbor, Jay Stebbins of Thunderbolt Pizza. Thunderbolt opened in late 2020, moving into the former PowWow Pizza space.

For Thunderbolt, which has a fairly small seating area, the taproom and beer garden has widened the number of customers they can serve.

“We’re excited we can be alive for five years in Long Beach, in Bixby Knolls,” Carroll said.

Ambitious Ales is at 4019 Atlantic Avenue.