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Posts Tagged beer of the week

Beer of the Week: Little Miss Hoperation Overlord

Jan 20

Hoperation Overlord Imperial Oatmeal IPA from Little Miss Brewing in Miramar

From the Beer Writer: Having written about beer for as long as I have and during such an adventurous stretch in American brewing history, it’s rare to come across something completely new. Often, such first-of-their-kind creations incorporate exotic fruits or outlandish yeast strains, but a recent oddity was based off very traditional brewing ingredients. That creation is Little Miss Hoperation Overlord, a double India pale ale with flaked oats folded into its malt bill. Brewed by Miramar newcomer Little Miss Brewing, its an IPA that features added mouthfeel in a county known for going as light as possible where malt-body is concerned with this beer-style. Admittedly, it in no way resembles a “San Diego IPA”, but in a day and age of imitation, it’s refreshing to have something not only different, but darn good. A modern-hop bill bring delicious flavors of mango, peach and candied lemon to the party, while the malt bill gives this concoction a copper appearance, brown-sugar nose and burnt caramel undertones. The viscosity provided by the oats helps convey all of that character in a smooth and even fashion. And at 8.5% alcohol-by-volume, it comes in low for a double IPA, but that’s just fine, as this is a beer you’re likely going to want to enjoy two of, anyway. And soon it’ll be available at a pair of WIP Little Miss tasting rooms in Normal Heights and Ocean Beach, the latter of which will be the fifth such space to debut on Newport Avenue between Cable Street and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

The future home of Little Miss Brewing’s tasting room in OB (three doors down from Culture Brewing’s satellite)

From the Brewer: “We had been planning on making a double IPA and San Diego Beer Week seemed as good of a time as any to debut it. When formulating the recipe, we decided to use oatmeal, mostly because we couldn’t think of too many imperial IPAs that use it, and also because we thought the oatmeal would take a normally big, aggressive, hoppy beer and mellow it out a little bit, creating a deceptively smooth beer. For the hops, we used Citra, Mosaic and Nugget. We wanted to showcase the fruity, citrusy, floral qualities of those hops. It wasn’t necessarily a beer that we intended to have on full-time, but the reaction to it has been overwhelmingly positive and it has quickly become one of our best-sellers, so it will stay on as long as everyone wants it.”Joe Lisica, Head Brewer, Little Miss Brewing

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Beer of the Week: Pizza Port Shark Bite Red Ale

Jan 13

Pizza Port has canned its iconic Shark Bite Red Ale in celebration of the company’s upcoming 30th anniversary

From the Beer Writer: When I first heard Pizza Port was about to hit the big three-oh(-where-did-all-the-time-go?), I could hardly believe it. Though brewing operations began at the family-owned SoCal chain’s flagship Solana Beach brewpub in 1992, it’s been slinging pies and Beer Buddies since 1987. Through it all, the concept has stayed true to the humble vision of brother-and-sister team Vince and Gina Marsaglia: provide a dependably fun and inviting place for people to enjoy themselves over pizza and house-made beers. Simple pleasure is the theme of the organization, which has grown to include a formidable quintet of “Port Holes” reaching from Ocean Beach to San Clemente, including a large-scale, production facility-equipped brewpub in Carlsbad’s Bressi Ranch community. Along the way, a boatload of awards have been lavished on the multifaceted interest’s beers, and numerous members of its brewing team have gone on to starring roles at breweries across Southern California. Its an impressive evolution that, from a beer-perspective, all started with a hoppy offering that was far ahead of its time and helped define San Diego’s lupulin-driven brewing style: Pizza Port Shark Bite Red Ale. When it came time to can a beer in celebration of Pizza Port’s 30th anniversary, this mainstay of its extensive and impressive canon was a no-brainer. Piney in its hop profundity (especially for the time-frame in which it debuted) and nicely bolstered by a toffee-like yet dry malt-body, this beer is a piece of San Diego brewing history that has endured based on the tenets of good taste and craftsmanship. Each of the company’s brewpubs will hold release parties for Shark Bite on Tuesday, January 17, where six-packs of the beer will be available for purchase. Additionally, Pizza Port will hold festivities (details to be announced) to celebrate 30 years in business at its Solana Beach location the last weekend of March, shortly after its official anniversary on March 23.

From the Brewer: “Shark Bite Red was the first beer we made. I wanted to do a red instead of an amber, probably because I had a red ale at Callahan’s Pub and I liked it more than amber ales. It has more crystal-malt flavor. Before making that first batch, I was so excited about the our seven-barrel system, that I decided to go inside the brew-kettle and have a couple of beers. I ended up just sitting there and falling asleep, then waking up and not knowing where I was. We actually had to throw away the first batch of Shark Bite we brewed. Somebody hooked up the thermocouple backwards and we didn’t know, so it cooled the yeast down and the beer didn’t ferment. It tasted like motor oil. Other than that, there aren’t many weird or funny stories. I just made beer and people drank it. There were no guidelines, but even if there were, we didn’t read them. We were just making beer…beer we liked.”Vince Marsaglia, Co-owner/Brewmaster, Pizza Port


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Beer of the Week: Council Beátitude Boysenberry

Jan 6

Council Brewing’s Béatitude Boysenberry imperial tart saison aged in bourbon barrels

From the Beer Writer: Few are the fruits that haven’t made it into the sour fruit of Council Brewing Company‘s labor care of its ever-changing line-up of tart saisons. One that was particularly successful gained its assertive flavor character from boysenberries. It was such a fruitful addition to the beer-board that head brewer Liz Chism decided to not just bring it back, but employ oak-barrel maturation when doing so. Enter Council Béatitude Boysenberry, an imperialized (i.e., higher-alcohol) version of the beer that spent several months in bourbon whiskey barrels. Though the beer is over double the strength of its progenitor and is big on acidity, it drinks smooth and easy. Its bouquet reminds me of wine grapes at first sniff, with an interesting PB&J quality arising upon further analysis. On the tongue, the beer conveys fruit-forward flavors that remind me of home-made boysenberry pie filling minus the sugar. There is a touch of sweetness and very slight traces of vanillins from the oak, and they round out the dessert-like qualities, but the wood-character blends in instead of taking over, leaving an earthiness behind that tastes delightfully like the seeds of fresh boysenberries. It’s a winner that’s currently available in limited supply exclusively at Council’s Kearny Mesa tasting room.

From the Brewer: “This beer was inspired through our Employee R&D program when our beertender, Candice Dowell, aged her favorite fruit, boysenberries, along with toasted American oak in the base-beer for Béatitude. We only made five gallons of this R&D keg and it didn’t last long. The flavor combination complemented the tart base-beer perfectly. As soon as I tasted it, I knew I wanted to build off Candi’s idea, and Imperial Béatitude Boysenberry was born. The original beer was only about 4% alcohol-by-volume. We decided this beer needed to be aged in Heaven Hill bourbon whiskey barrels, and 4% is rather low for barrel-aging, so we amped the malt bill up on this beer to 9.7% to stand up to the extended barrel-aging, and pitched our house Brettanomyces and lactobacillus ‘magic slurry’ culture. This, along with the intensely tart boysenberries, resulted in a beer that has much more perceived acidity than the typical beers in our Béatitude series. The deep red color from the fruit and the intense sourness makes this beer come across as much more of a sour red or Flanders-style red ale than a saison.”—Liz Chism, Head Brewer/Owner, Council Brewing Company

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Beer of the Week: Mason Second Son

Dec 30

Second Son Barrel-Aged American Strong Ale from Mason Ale Works

From the Beer Writer: From the moment the owners of the Urge Gastropub family of hospitality venues conceived their foray into the brewing business, a barrel-aging program was a key component. Even before their eventual Mason Ale Works was serving beer from its sister-restaurants’ taps, it was siphoning hearty ales into spirit-soaked oak. They dubbed this slice of the business Mason Snaleworks in light of the extended time it takes for beer to mature and take on wood-borne character. After eight months of patience on the Mason crew’s part, the first bottled Snaleworks release, Mason Second Son, is now available in wax-dipped, 22-ounce bottles throughout Southern California. Labeled simply as an “American strong ale”, it’s a blend of imperial stout and barleywine that pours nearly black and lets off a bold, billowing bouquet rife with scents of sawdust and whiskey extracted from 12-year-old Elijah Craig barrels. Alcohol is big on the nose, but much more subtle in the palate; no small feat considering this monster registers a whopping 14% on the alcohol-by-volume scale. Despite its brute strength, it drinks rather smoothly, cohesively presenting flavors of dark chocolate and coffee with a ton of vanilla and a hint of anise that comes out once the beer reaches room-temperature. It’s a great first-effort that elicits excitement over future barrel-aged offerings from Mason, which will soon have a lot more barrels and space to work with when it moves its primary brewing and aging operations to San Marcos’ Urge Common House venue early next year.

From the Brewer: “First of all, we are pleased as punch with ourselves for the release of our first barrel-aged, Mason Snaleworks release. Second Son was a name we had been throwing around for quite some time, mostly for the enjoyment of the way it sounded and how we associated it with ourselves, personally. Having been born in this particular order in my family, as was Mason co-founder Grant Tondro, I am very aware of the stigma that comes with being a giant pain in the ass and an embarrassment to the family. Our second barrel-aged beer somehow escaped the blemishes often staining the second-born. A barleywine and imperial stout aged in eight bourbon barrels for eight months, blend together so perfectly. It’s rare to see such a complex barrel-aged beer that is so approachable. Rich chocolate, toffee and bourbon notes in the nose finish with soft caramel, toast and slight roast from the coffee. Take heart, at 14% ABV, this sneaky little bugger can drive you to dangerous levels of insanity, but you will fall fast in love with the ferocity with which this child opens its heart.”Jason De La Torre, Head Brewer, Mason Ale Works

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Beer of the Week: Karl Strauss Seven Sharks A-Circling

Dec 23

Karl Strauss’ Seven Sharks A-Circling Holiday Imperial Smoked Porter

From the Beer Writer: Some of the first beers I fell for when introduced to craft were dark, smoked ales. From the clean, peaty Stone Smoked Porter to the smoldered-salmon sensation of Alaskan Smoked Porter, these beers were rather prevalent. It would seem the beer-drinking public’s interest in smoked beers has declined a bit over the past two decades, making it all the more special when a new one comes along. Swimming into the local sudscape like the migratory sharks it gets its name from is Seven Sharks A-Circling, the latest holiday-beer offering in Karl Strauss Brewing Company‘s 12 Days of Christmas series, which sees a unique yuletide offering released each December. This imperial porter is as big on alcohol (9% by-volume) as it is on smoke character. Subdued chocolate-coated, malted milk-ball notes greet one’s taste buds, and are quickly overtaken by a deep, almost meaty smokiness. The beer has a warming effect that’s perfect for winter, and the brawn of this brew makes it best consumed in tight sips while taking in the splendor of a roaring fire or the family Christmas Tree.

From the Brewer: “We wanted to brew an imperial porter for this installment of our holiday series, but with a little something extra.  We had this nice, beautiful smoked malt left over from a recent collaboration brew we did with Taylor Guitars that we had smoked using maple wood from the Skagit Valley, where they source the wood for their guitars. We had experimented a bit and didn’t end up using the smoked malt in that particular brew and thought it would be a great addition to this imperial porter.  We added just enough smoke flavor to complement the base-beer in a delicate and thoughtful way without overwhelming the brew. I think we ended up with a respectable, balanced imperial porter with a high ABV to keep you warm during those cold San Diego winter nights.”—Paul Segura, Brewmaster, Karl Strauss Brewing Company

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