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Posts Tagged craftbeer

Beer of the Week: Welk Stout

Jul 31
Iron Fist Velvet Glove bottled as a private-label offering for Escondido's Welk Resort

Iron Fist Velvet Glove bottled as a private-label offering for Escondido’s Welk Resort

From the Beer Writer: Recently, I found myself at Escondido’s Welk Resort, a sprawling property with spacious suites, a golf course, theater and more. Having vacationed there with my family a decade prior, it was a pleasure to return, but I went there expecting little-to-nothing in the way of craft beer. So, you can imagine my surprise to discover the resort had its own private-label, locally-produced craft beers. And you can imagine my delight to discover that one was my favorite beer offering from Vista’s Iron Fist Brewing Company, Velvet Glove. An imperial oatmeal stout, it wowed the powers that be at Welk Resort (as did Iron Fist’s Blond Kölsch-style ale, which is also available under the getaway spot’s name), and is now available in a 750-milliliter bottle that sports unique artwork, while crediting the brewery that made the sultry yet powerfully delicious brew. A luxury property like Welk Resort realize the significance of craft beer—San Diego County craft beer, no less—represents another forward step for the artisanal brewing industry.

From the Brewer: “Velvet Glove was originally one of our homebrews that we made before opening Iron Fist, so it has a particularly sentimental place in our hearts. It’s an imperial oatmeal stout brewed with nine different grains, four of which are roasted, leading to a very well rounded, complex, dark chocolate and coffee flavor. The addition of oatmeal to the mash gives the beer a velvety, smooth mouthfeel. You can also get hints of vanilla, dark fruit and just the slightest touch of anise. As it ages, more and more chocolate begins to emerge. Finding the patience to cellar it is about as tough as brewing the beer in the first place. One of the challenges of brewing this beer is trying to keep the mash from getting stuck. The huge dose of roasted malts, the oatmeal and the fact we overload our mash tun to brew it make it a constant concern. One fateful day, we lost the battle. After collecting about one-fifteenth of the wort we usually do, the lauter came to a screeching halt. After several hours of trying everything I could, I finally gave up and opened the mash tun door. The entire mash evacuated onto the brewhouse flour, covering it in its entirety with one-to-three inches of what can only be described as “malt mud.” I spent the next six hours disposing of it. That was a late night!” —Brandon Sieminski, Brewmaster, Iron Fist Brewing Company

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Hess debuts Open Mike cans

Jul 29

open_mike_18x32V5Good bye red cup, hello flavor. It’s a clever tagline from Mike Hess Brewing Company referring to the company’s new line of Open Mike cans. Designed so that the entire top of an aluminum can pulls completely off so that the receptacle can be used in place of a glass or cup, the cans are close to making their debut for the North Park-based brewing interest.

Brewery founder and proprietor Michael Hess says that only seven or eight breweries in the country are utilizing this type of can technology, and that his is the only one of them located in California. It’s unlikely they’ll remain loners in this regard for long, as the advantages of Open Mike cans are many.

First and foremost, there’s the obvious elimination of dirtying and cleaning a glass to enjoy a beer to its fullest. Any beer geek knows that, in order to enjoy a beer’s full bouquet, sufficient open space must be provided for it to make its way to one’s nasal passages. But this also keeps beer fans from having to settle for the insufficient insulation provided by disposable paper and plastic cups, while offering a receptacle that works for poolside and outdoor imbibing.

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Green Flash’s Treasure Chest beer and fest return

Jul 28

treasurechest_00Over the past half-decade, what started as one woman’s battle has grown to include the support of a diverse militia spanning from one side of this great country to the other. Green Flash Brewing Company co-founder and vice president of marketing, Lisa Hinkley, is a breast cancer survivor who is passionate about aiding others afflicted with this widespread disease and, with any luck, eradicating it from the face of the earth. Five years ago, she and her work colleagues banded together to debut a special beer called Treasure Chest to raise money for the local chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. That succinct initial offering has sprouted numerous follow-up beers, a pair of large fundraising festivals and, most importantly, a great deal of support for breast cancer charities and sufferers.

Each year since the release of the first Treasure Chest (Brettanomyces-spiked Belgian-style pale ale that has since become an annual offering under the name Rayon Vert), Green Flash’s has upped its efforts to support Susan G. Komen, most notably where its Treasure Chest Fest. The beer festival is held at the company’s Mira Mesa facility, taking over everything from the outdoor beer garden to the brewery itself, but numerous local restaurants also show up to prepare dishes specifically paired with Green Flash specialty and one-off brews, including Treasure Chest, which changes each year. This year’s Treasure Chest Fest will take place August 29 and once again include guest chefs. The iteration of Treasure Chest that one of those culinarians will be pairing their food with will be a pink, 100% Mosaic-hopped IPA brewed with hibiscus flowers and the juice of prickly pears and grapefruits.

treasurechest_01For the first year since the initial Treasure Chest came out, the beer will be bottled. Look for the IPA in 22-ounce bottles and on draft nationwide as well as the fest beside rare Green Flash beers and unique cask creations. Tickets for the event are available online. And on the 11th of October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), Green Flash will hold its second annual Treasure Chest Fest on a parcel of land adjacent to its upcoming brewery in Virginia Beach, Virginia (scheduled to open 2016), proceeds from which will go to Susan G. Komen Tidewater.

Over the past five years, Green Flash’s Treasure Chest initiatives have raised more than $150,000. In addition to the beer release and festivals, the company will set up various events across the country (tap takeovers, beer dinners, etc.) to garner additional funds from September through November.

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Beer of the Week: Lightning Dark Current Ale

Jul 24
Lightning Red Current Ale, a black saison brewed with currants and citrus for Beer to the Rescue

Lightning Red Current Ale, a black saison brewed with currants and citrus for Beer to the Rescue

From the Beer Writer: Before I was a beer writer, I merely drank beer. It was fun, tasty and something I really didn’t put a lot of thought into. But when I was ready to go from merely enjoying beer to finding out what goes into making it and making a business of it, there was a local brewer who was more than happy to take the time to converse with me on those subjects—Jim Crute. The founder of Poway’s Lightning Brewery, Jim was the first brewer I ever shared a conversation with. At the time, I wrote solely about food and hadn’t yet expanded into the beer realm. The time he took to explain the art and science of brewing made me want to learn more, and made me want to meet more brewers and business owners. In a large way, he helped me to get my writing to where it is today and expand my passion for something I already loved into something I could share with my readers. I am very thankful for that, as well as this beer he crafted for my Beer to the Rescue lupus campaign. Coming in at 5.9% ABV, it’s an outlandish take on a Belgian saison that debuts today at Lightning’s tasting room (13200 Kirkham Way, Poway) Another upcoming debut for Crute will be an outdoor beer garden that’s an A-OK from the ABC away from opening to the public. Look for that to open come August or September.

From the Brewer: “We were proud to brew Dark Current Ale to support our friend in the beer trade’s lupus initiative, Beer to the Rescue. The beer—which is only available at the Lightning Brewery tasting room—is a Belgian-style farmhouse ale that incorporates black malt into the grain bill to give it a translucent black appearance. We’ve accentuated the farmhouse characters of this beer by introducing the flavors of orange zest and black currants. A play on words…for sure. A great beer to enjoy…definitely!”—Jim Crute, Owner & Brewmaster, Lightning Brewery

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Q&A: Jeff Josenhans

Jul 23

josenhans_01Certified Sommelier, Cicerone & Head Mixologist, U.S. Grant Hotel

He’s competed on a national level in the Olympics of cocktail crafting and oversees prestigious wine and spirit programs for one of San Diego’s most iconic spots, the historic U.S. Grant Hotel. And over the past several years, Jeff Josenhans has deepened his exploration of adult beverages to include craft beer, gaining his Cicerone certification and expanding the Grant’s drink offerings to include not only craft beer, but ales he has worked hard to procure as well as help birth using industry connections and experience earned over many years of deep thinking about the art of drinking. Thanks to him, the Grant offers a number of interesting beer options the likes of which are unavailable anywhere else, including a delicious, barrel-aged beer brewed and matured at the nearby Mission Brewery.

You are a certified Sommelier and Cicerone. How do these two worlds stack up against each other?
The Somm’ and Cicerone worlds are very different culturally, yet are similar in the sense that those within them are extremely passionate people. I think Cicerones all have a little homebrewer in them, so by nature they are perhaps a little more creative, while Somm’s are more on the studious side. Both certifications require a lot of tasting and studying, but the Cicerone exam definitely is aided by some home and draft system experience. An aspiring Somm’ will have to study a much wider array of wine styles and regions than what you find with the BJCP, as well. These are generalizations, of course.

What inspired you to go to the lengths required to become a certified Cicerone?
I always had an appreciation for beer, but had never put the study time into it that I had done with spirits and wine. It just made sense to complete the circle and give the U.S. Grant a beverage program that complimented that knowledge.

What are the specifics behind your Gentleman Grant collaboration with Mission Brewery?
josenhans_02Gentleman Grant is an imperial red ale that has been barrel-aged in Manhattan-seasoned barrels we get from High West Distilling in Park City, Utah. The base ale is more towards the malty side, with spicy rye malt and sweeter caramel malt notes added to the grain bill. Chinook and Summit hops provide a strong hop backbone, but are not pronounced enough to take over the aromatics. Barrel-aging provides what I consider to be the sexy side of this beer. We added cigar-smoked Luxardo cherries to the barrels and let the beer soak up the Manhattan from the oak for almost six months. The result is a powerful, yet unexpectedly smooth beer showing a lot of spice, dried fruit and caramel notes. It’s available exclusively at Grant Grill (inside the U.S. Grant Hotel, 326 Broadway, Downtown) while supplies last.

What sort of cask offerings have you added to Grant Grill’s beverage program?
We will be rotating cask ale in on the weekends. We plan on using small- to medium-size breweries for the cask program. Our first partner on this front was Fall Brewing Company and its Green Hat IPA. Moving forward, guests can expect an integration of our cocktail and beer programs. I’m pretty determined to become one of San Diego’s best cellarmen, and with that I will be looking to get our casks right after racking, so we can make additions here on property as opposed to at the brewery.

What other beer-related projects do you have in the works?
Our next big beer project is to drive craft beer and cask ale into the meeting and wedding worlds. We are in the process of putting cask ale on wedding menus as well as changing more and more of our offerings on the banquet side to local craft beers.

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