From the Beer Writer: Whereas most craft fans’ favorite beer style is IPA (not that there’s anything wrong with that…they’re incredible), my favorite beers are Belgian-style farmhouse ales. But wait, like the IPA fan who can tell you they specifically like unfiltered, 7% alcohol-by-volume, tropical-flavored India pale ales dry-hopped with Citra, Motueka and Nelson Sauvin, I too can get way too specific about the types of farmhouse ales (AKA: saisons) I prefer. I like when they are spiked with Brettanomyces and aged in barrels, particularly those which have formerly housed white wine. I prefer Sauvignon Blanc barrels, but I’m not a picky man (despite what everything leading up to this has led you to believe). So, when speaking with local brewer Robert Masterson about future plans he had for his then yet-to-open Resident Brewing, and he told me the first thing he was going to do was get his saison into white-wine barrels so he could start aging it, I tucked that nugget away and started biding my time. It was as if he had intercepted some letter to Santa and, despite my naughty status, decided to bring my beer wish to life. A few weeks ago, that beer, Resident Saison Prestige, made its debut in 750-milliliter bottles, and I went straight to work getting my hands on some. And I’m glad I did, because it is exceptional. Oenophiles will be drawn in by a lustrous bouquet rife with aromas of lemon peel, honeysuckle, pears and grape must, while lovers of farmhouse and sour ales will go gaga for a multifarious yet balanced taste sensation offering up passion fruit, lemongrass, white pepper and oak-borne vanillins with a touch of funk delivered against a textural backdrop that’s medium and slightly creamy, leaving lingering traces of vanilla and kiwi. It’s prestigious enough to live up to its name and available exclusively at Resident’s base of operations, downtown’s The Local Eatery and Watering Hole.
From the Brewery: “Saison Prestige is a barrel-fermented, mixed-fermentation saison aged in French oak Chardonnay barrels. This farmhouse-style ale gets its character from two types of saison yeast, multiple Brettanomyces strains and Lactobacillus. The beer rested in wine barrels for over a year, before being bottled in June 2017. The beer was inspired by a few amazing American farmhouse breweries that have been putting out amazing beers for the past half-decade. We secured some amazing Chardonnay barrels from Chateau Montelena. After the saison picked up their character, we selected the three barrels that had the best-tasting beer inside. We didn’t want to utilize fruit with these killer barrels. Instead, we wanted them to stand out on their own and show San Diego what a wine-barrel and funky, tart saison can taste like without fruit additions.”—Robert Masterson, Head Brewer, Resident Brewing Company
They say it takes a lot of good beer to make good wine. The tons of empty bottles and cans littering vintners’ trash cans in wine-country is testament to that. Soon, those grape-driven artisans will have even more ales to fuel their endeavors—and seriously hoppy ales at that—courtesy of Stone Brewing. Today, the company announced that it will begin renovations to a space in Napa, California’s historic Borreo building to convert it into a venue that will go by the name Stone Brewing Tap Room – Napa
Located on the corner of Third Street and Soscol Avenue in downtown Napa, the 10,000-square-foot spot will include many of the same components as the Stone Brewing Tap Room abutting Petco Park in downtown San Diego’s East Village—a bar, on-site kitchen and merchandise availability. Unlike its local predecessor, the Napa iteration will bring outdoor-seating into the fold and be equipped with its very own 10-barrel pilot-brewery.
Beers produced in Napa will include riffs on core offerings as well as beers incorporating indigenous ingredients. Local edibles will also be folded into the food menu, which will take cues from its sister Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens restaurants. Much of that will be sourced from small, local, organic farms in and around Napa.
This announcement comes in the midst of construction on two of the company’s high-profile projects, Stone Brewing Richmond and Stone Brewing Berlin, both of which have experienced significant delays, but are on-track to open before the close of 2016. Stone Brewing Tap Room – Napa is scheduled to open sometime in 2017.
On the last weekend of January, Pure Project Brewing (9030 Kenamar Drive, #308, Miramar) will become the first tenant of H.G. Fenton’s Brewery Igniter program to open for business. What was once a stark white, nondescript, ready-to-use tasting room space just waiting to be given personality is now outfitted in stylish reclaimed wood, belly bars fashioned from felled trees and a screen featuring projections of nature-based videos. The first chance to peruse this rather Zen spot will be Saturday, January 30 starting at noon.
Upon entering the tasting room, guests’ eyes are sure to dart right to the Pure Project logo composed entirely of three varieties of bulging green fauna with a swirled fluorescent blue water droplet dotting its plant-based insignia. Next up is a beer-board stocked with a dozen different beers—quite the number for a brand-new operation. By opening day, brewmaster Winslow Sawyer plans to have three India pale ales on tap—a single, double and five gallons worth of a Brettanomyces-fermented version. But it’s not all about IPAs here…far from it.
Many of Pure Project’s beers are infused with tropical ingredients, which is fitting considering the brewery was originally going to be founded in Costa Rica. Examples include a hibiscus saison, ginger-citrus blonde and coconut quadrupel—a bizarre additive for a monastic Belgian-style ale. An orange-vanilla cream ale, session rye pale and Kölsch will provide a trio of refreshing options. The latter is proudly adjunct in nature and brewed with rice. Light-bodied and refreshing, it flies in the face of most enthusiast’s definition of craft beer, but it’s tasty and should help to transition the uninitiated to more adventurous offerings. A coffee milk stout and Russian imperial porter make up the darker end of the spectrum and though the stout could use more body, it has nice flavor.
Though they have yet to sell their first beer, ownership is already looking ahead. More than a dozen barrels lay waiting to be filled in the back of the brewery. Sawyer intends to siphon a lambic and Flanders-style red ale into Pinot Noir barrels procured from Napa, and has bourbon whiskey barrels from Coloroado’s Breckenridge Distillery ready to house his porter.
Pure Project’s opening weekend festivities will extend to Sunday, January 31. Following that, the tasting room will be open seven days a week, though that may change once ownership finds the business’ groove.