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CANCER FIGHTER: Drinking Beer with a Heart of Gold

Jan 6

Over the past year I started researching and developing my own version of a British Golden Ale* recipe at home, for many of the same reasons the young Brits enjoyed them in the 1980s. Mostly I was in search of a low ABV, hop forward, brassy golden ale.

Around the same time I was researching and developing the recipe, I made the trek up to Rouleur Brewing, which opened in March of last year, to check out their beers. The Bonkeur Pale Ale, Domestique Belgian Blonde, Soloist Belgian Golden Strong, and Sprinteur Hoppy Red Ale all completely blew me away; they were gems of delicately nuanced and highly quaffable beers. It was immediately obvious, by the way the beers drank, that the brewer used some Belgian yeast strains and reverse osmosis (RO) water to customize the mineral content and flavor profile of each beer.

Brian Trout, Miguel Loza, and Rawley Macias. Photo by Tim Stahl

That same trip I got to meet Rouleur Brewing’s Owner & Brewer, Rawley Macias, after asking the tasting room manager, “Who the hell is brewing here? This beer is great!” After a brief chat about brewing and bicycles, Rawley invited me to tickle a zwickle valve or two and geek out about brewing.

Prior to opening Rouleur, Rawley worked in aerospace engineering and was an avid cyclist and homebrewer for many years, as member of San Luis Obispo Brewers (SLOB). From that first meeting it was evident that he is driven by his passion, with a perfectionist edge, and holds the belief that a good brewer is one who learns something from each brew, no matter how small; that you grow as a brewer and expand your knowledge with each beer. He was definitely a kindred beer spirit, so we chatted about the backburner idea of brewing some beer together in the future.

While Rawley and I were casually talking about collaborating on a beer, Miguel Loza (a familiar face in the San Diego and Baja beer scenes) found out his 9 year-old daughter, Sarah, had cancer. She had been experiencing random headaches that “felt like a zap of electricity” for several months, and undiagnosed leg and dental pain. After months of doctor’s visits, she was finally given an MRI and specific diagnostic tests that found Stage 4 Large B Cell Lymphoma.

Miguel is in the first class of graduates of SDSU’s Business of Craft Beer, is a beer educator (hops are his specialty), and owner of La Casa Del Lupulo Homebrewing Shop in Ensenada, and Rancho Loza hop farm in Valle de Guadalupe. He also teaches brewing, hop classes, and was on the Experimental Brewing IGOR (Independent Group Of Researchers) with our mutual beer friends Drew Beechum and Denny Conn. Miguel is generous, compassionate, and loyal. He is the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. I met Miguel in 2013, at local homebrewing club QUAFF, and I’m truly honored to call him my friend.

When the San Diego beer community, of which Miguel is such an integral part, found out about Sarah’s condition, we immediately rallied around the Loza family and I knew I had to help any way I could.

I called Rawley with the idea to brew a version of the hoppy ale I was developing for Miguel’s tough little warrior. Rawley generously said yes, and we immediately started looking at brew date openings. Our biggest priority, however, was figuring out how to lower the production cost as much as possible in order to increase the amount we’d be able to donate to Miguel’s family. To do this, we opted to use an in-house pitch of a dryer English yeast strain, and Country Malt Group graciously donated the entire grain bill for the 9.5 barrel batch of beer.

Miguel Loza removes spent grain for Cancer Fighter. Photo by Tim Stahl

Our brew day was December 21st, the winter solstice, and luckily Miguel was able to join us. Always one to make the people he’s with feel cared for and comfortable, he arrived with two gigantic carne asada chips, and a bounty of soft pretzels and chocolate chip banana bread home baked by his wife Mirabel. His generosity and the delicious food helped to energize us, and the brew day could not have gone smoother. We hit our numbers perfectly and the wort looked and tasted exactly as expected.

We are proud of what we made and are eager to raise pints of beer brewed from the heart for a great cause. 45% from all sales of CANCER FIGHTER will go directly to help Sarah’s Miracle Fund in her fight against cancer. You can also friend “Sarah’s Miracle” on Facebook to donate directly.

Rouleur Brewing / Brian Trout – CANCER FIGHTER (Hoppy British Golden Ale) 5% ABV will be released on January 13th starting at 12 p.m. at Rouleur (5840 El Camino Real Suite 101, Carlsbad, CA 92008). Beaten Berry Food Truck will be onsite. Crowlers, growlers, and limited kegs for on-premise are also available.

*More on British Golden Ale:
John Gilbert of Hop Back Brewery, a small microbrewery inside of the The Wyndam Arms in Salisbury, UK, started brewing British Golden Ales in 1986 in order to win people over from pale lagers that were popular at the time. Hop Back’s Summer Lightning (named after a P.G. Wodehouse book) was geared toward the younger drinking crowd and their affinity for dryer, hoppier, and highly-drinkable ales. Summer Lightning went on to become one of the most award-winning ales in the UK. Pretty soon many other breweries were brewing their own variation of this style. At first,  British Golden Ales were using English Nobel Hops, but soon moved on to American and newer school hops (Cascade, Amarillo, Citra, and Galaxy). The separation between a Hoppy SD Session Ale (American Pale Ale sans caramel malt or IPA) is nearly non-existent.

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