Wednesday, 18 December 2013 03:24

Southern California Represented at the Props & Hops Craft Beer Festival

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Dedicated to the preservation, presentation and interpretation of the Air Power of World War II, the Palm Springs Air Museumwas home to the 2nd annual Props & Hops Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, November 23rd. Sixteen breweries served their brews among Grumman A6 Intruders and McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantoms.

The veterans enjoyed the festival alongside the war planes, by volunteering to serve the beer.

As founder of Props & Hops, Brent Schmidtman, said, “…it’s an air museum, so there’s a lot of veterans that were pilots during wars, so that’s really where that whole thing started. And a lot of them volunteer and dedicate their time here all the time, whether it’s as mecanics to refurbish the airplanes, whether it’s in the snack shop…that’s kinda how it started and because they are volunteers here, they’re all very happy to volunteer to help in any way to help the museum. We’re very proud to have them here and honored.”

Among the 16 breweries were three Coachella Valley locals, Coachella Valley Brewing Co. (Thousand Palms), La Quinta Brewing Co. (Palm Desert) and Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse (Rancho Mirage).  
The other attendees included Black Market Brewing Co. (Temecula), Bootlegger’s Brewery (Fullerton), Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles), Golden Road Brewing (Los Angeles), Hanger 24 Craft Brewery (Redlands), Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma), The Lost Abbey (San Marcos), New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins),Ninkasi Brewing Company (Portland), Packinghouse Brewing Company (Riverside), Refuge Brewery (Temecula) and Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido).

Having just celebrated their grand opening the night before, La Quinta Brewing, brought their "Brews Traveler", a traveling beer truck carrying their "Poolside Blonde" and "Indian Canyon IPA". Their IPA is a nice representation of a west coast style IPA, balanced with two row pale and vienna malts. Coming in at just 4.8% ABV, "Poolside Blonde" is very low on the bitterness scale and will likely live up to its name in the upcoming warmer months in the desert.

Black Market Brewing Company stood out with their pale ale, "Aftermath", brewed with six different hops, producing a wonderful citrus aroma, with only 44 IBUs. The "Coconut Curry Hefeweizen" from the "Lips of Faith" series, hailing from New Belgium had an interesting blend of spice and fruit flavors like cayenne, cinnamon, coconut, corriander and kaffir lime leaf. Ballast Point brought their amazing 10% ABV vanilla coffe porter, "Victory at Sea".

Golden Road made their presence known with their new, unique imperial IPA. An ode to "light sweaters and flip flops", "Better Weather IPA" is Golden Road's answer to traditional winter warmers. Gone are the typical holiday spices and in their place are an abundance of west coast style hops including bravo, zythos, cascade, centennial, amarillo and simcoe. The result is a flavorful, hoppy beer with toffee undertones and bright notes of grapefruit and stone fruit. Coming in at 9.4% ABV, this is a sneaky can that does the trick.

Coachella Valley Brewing brought “Monumentus”, their crisp, 100 IBU double dry hopped rye IPA, brewed with American pale malt and American hops. Also on tap was their “Volstead”, a 90 IBU classic American pre prohibition pilsner, brewed with 30% corn and imported pilsner malt. CVB also brought what’s come to be their farm to glass flagship beers, “Double Date” and “Desert Swarm”, both using all local ingredients like kumquats and dates from the east valley.

During the festival, CVB announced the winners of the Props and Hops Homebrew Contest, that was judged the previous week, by yours truly and ~ 20 other homebrew judges at Coachella Valley Brewing Co.  Standout brewers were Josh Kunkle's Robust Porter winning best in show and soon to be brewed at CVB.  Runners up Jose Lopez brewed a bourbon barrel aged English barley wine is also going to be brewed at CVB. And Kimberly Bowers brewed an excellent chai cream ale.

The local Coachella Valley home brewers took 80% of the prizes this year, stepping it up from last year.

The winners are:

Best of Show –

Joshua Kunkle – Robust Porter 

Category 4 – Dark Lager

2. Anthony Lopez

Category 6 – Light Hybrid Beer

1. Curtis Guillen – Brew Commune 
2. Ben Johnson – Plato’s Republic
3. Bill Ainsworth - QUAFF

Category 7 – Amber Hybrid Beer

1. Anthony Lopez 
2. Aaron Ramson  – Coachella Valley

Category 8 - English Pale Ale

1. Stewart Holl – Trub Grubbers 

Category 10 – American Ale

1. Jeff Johnson  – Coachella Valley

Category 12 – Porter

1. Joshua Kunkle

Category 13  – Stout

1. Ralph Sargent  – Coachella Valley

Category 14 – IPA

1. Erik DeBellis – Coachella Valley 
2. Erik DeBellis  – Coachella Valley 
3. Jamisen Allen

Category 15  – German Wheat and Rye Beer

1. Erik DeBellis  – Coachella Valley 
2. Stewart Holl – Trub Grubbers 
3. Amy Quirk

Category 16  –  Belgian and French Ale

1. Stewart Holl – Trub Grubbers 
2. Bob Givens 
3. Franklin Hess

All proceeds from the festival went to the air museum.  

And if quaffing craft beers among history’s most famous war planes amidst the desert mountains wasn’t cool enough, a Cicerone rare beer tasting took place for 20 attendees, for an extra $20.00, inside an operational Douglas DC-3 warplane. The patches on the roof and walls were actual artillery rounds taken and she still made it home.

As I sat in the historical plane, slightly tilted to the left from the metal seats, we prepared for the first rare beer to be served by Cicerone, Justin Moeller, manager at Schmidey’s Tavern.

We started with none other than an amazing pumpkin beer, Pumking from Southern Tier. This 8.6% ABV beer is reminiscent of an oatmeal raison cookie and has a killer aroma. Fantastic start.

Moving on, Justin broke out a two year-old Stone Vertical Epic ale, 11/11/11. Hell yes. This 9.4% ABV bottle-conditioned ale is specifically designed to be aged until sometime after December 12th, 2012. Each Vertical Epic is unique to its year of release. The aroma is malty, slightly citrus and somewhat boozy. A nice Belgian yeast character accompanies mild cinnamon flavor and then the hash chilies kick in. Overall, this is a unique beer that pushes the limits of what yeast is capable of.

The third rare beer was from Orange Country brewery, The Bruery.  Motherfunker is a retired American wild ale that had white wine, pear, oak and heavy lacto yeast on the nose. I honestly love just about everything this brewery does and this was no exception.

We kept The Bruery beers going with a really special (well, they’re like kids – they’re all special) one.  Melange No. 3 is a blend of Black Tuesday, Anniversary ale, and White Oak Sap. This 15% ABV American Strong Ale is top notch, with flavors of bourbon, raison, vanilla, spicy oak, and toasted oak. While sipping this, I suddenly thought about rum cake and a fireplace. I may need to recreate this scene.

As if there weren’t a ton of “ooooohs and aaaah’s and fuck yeah’s” from the beer geeks in the plane, Southern California continued to represent with another Bruery specialty beer. All hale Black Tuesday, a 19.2% ABV imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels for over a year. This thick, decadent beer is rich with notes of caramel, toasted malt, vanilla, brown sugar, burnt wood and anise. This is a world class beer. Period.

Last, but certainly not least was Sculdis, a Belgian favorite. At 12.5% ABV, the Scaldis Noël winter ale has a lovely spicy aroma with notes of caramel, marzipan and peach. This is a classic winter ale, perfect for the holidays. It has a great, warming finish….much like the ending to the festival.  It was the perfect ending to a fantastic day.


Read 5384 times Last modified on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 19:24
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