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Wednesday, 09 September 2015 00:00

Mad River Brewing Announces New CEO

Blue Lake, CA – Mad River Brewing Company is excited to announce that Tom Del Sarto has joined their team as CEO. Del Sarto comes to Mad River with over 35 years of experience in the beer business. He began his career at Coors West Distributing on the San Francisco peninsula working his way up to Vice President/Managing Partner before transitioning his team to South Bay Beverage, the Miller/Coors distributorship in Santa Clara County.

Del Sarto is replacing Charlie Jordan, who has accepted a leadership position with a virtually located company that allows her more flexibility to spend time with family. “It is a very exciting time at Mad River right now,” said Ms. Jordan. “I am grateful to the owners for trusting me to lead the company through several changes including the completion of a brand refresh.”

For the past eight years, Del Sarto has provided consulting services to the beverage industry with a focus on the craft beer segment and distribution. On his decision to take the helm at one of California’s first craft breweries, Del Sarto states, “Mad River has a great product and great people. I feel that my experience on both the distributor and supplier side can help grow the business in the evolving craft beer market.”

Recent growth at the award-winning brewery also includes the addition of a kitchen to the Mad River Tap Room. The popular brew pub offers a family friendly environment with a variety of tasty cuisine for all ages, and local bands are featured on most nights. The outside beer garden welcomes pets and offers plenty of sunshine to enjoy your Mad River brew with family and friends.

About Mad River Brewing Company:

Built in Humboldt County in 1989, Mad River is an award-winning craft brewery and one of the first in California. Their distinct ales are renowned for their unique flavor profile and consistent quality. Their flagship brand, Steelhead Extra Pale Ale, and their John Barleycorn Barleywine have received gold medals at The Great American Beer Festival (GABF), the industry’s most prominent award. In 2010, Mad River Brewery was select as the “Small Brewery of the Year” by the GABF. The brewery produces a broad array of beer styles and flavor profiles.

Published in Beer News

(Thousand Palms, CA) – Locally owned and operated Coachella Valley Brewing Co (CVB) will celebrate its second anniversary of craft beer brewing at its Thousand Palms brewery in October. The first two years of business have brought the company numerous accomplishments, including increased distribution, multiple industry awards, and doubled sales from the previous year.

To celebrate its second anniversary with devoted fans and the community, CVB will hold a beer festival-style party at its brewery with live music and food vendors on Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 2 – 9 p.m.

David Humphrey, CVB Co-founder and CEO, said: “I’m so proud of what the brewery has been able to accomplish in just two short years. We have positioned ourselves for growth without compromising our core values – producing beer that reflects our valley and all that makes it special. The past two years have been an amazing journey and our upcoming celebration is about great beer and the great Coachella community that we live in.”

Since opening its doors in August 2013, CVB has achieved significant success:

  • Became the first fully-dedicated ABC license ‘Type 23’ brewery in the region;
  • Secured statewide distribution with Young’s Market Company of California and Arizona;
  • Earned a 2014 silver medal for Monumentous IPA in CVB’s first competition at the Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition; and earned a 2015 gold medal for Monumentous IPA;
  • Earned 2015 gold medals for Monument on Fire and Phoenix at the Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition;
  • Secured more than 100 tap handles in the Coachella Valley;
  • Featured in more than 900 out-of-valley accounts;
  • Featured on draught in key accounts, including Downtown Disney, LA Live/Staples Center, and locations in downtown Los Angeles and San Jose;
  • Featured at the world-renowned Coachella Music and Arts Festival for two years in a row;
  • Transitioned three core brands into 6-pack long necks for greater distribution;
  • Selected to pour at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado two years in a row; and selected as a presenter at the Great American Beer Festival on the topic of brewery efficiency;
  • Started extensive small batch barrel aging and sour program using local ingredients from farmers within the Coachella Valley.
  • Voted the “Best Brewery” in the Coachella Valley by CV Weekly;
  • Named as a top 12 brewery in the California by the Culturetrip.com
  • Awarded most commercial water-friendly business in the Coachella Valley by the Coachella Valley Water District.

Chris Anderson, CVB’s Head Brewer and Chief Operating Officer, said: “We attribute the brewery’s success to quality beer matched with a quality brand. But most importantly, the hardworking team at the brewery is what really makes CVB great.”

Martin Wadley, Vice President, Beer, Young’s Market Company, said: “Young’s Market Company is proud to represent Coachella Valley Brewing Co and congratulates the brewery as they celebrate their second anniversary. Over the past two years, CVB has proven to be a strong and valued addition to Young’s portfolio. CVB is doing a great job competing in California – one of the most competitive beer markets in the country – and CVB is winning by offering consistent, creative and award-winning beers.”

The anniversary celebration will be held at Coachella Valley Brewing Co at 30650 Gunther St., Thousand Palms, from 2 – 9 p.m. Attendees will receive a free souvenir tasting glass, along with 12 beer tastings for the $20 admission price. Coachella Valley Brewing Co promises great fun and most of all great, local craft beer at the event. For more information, visit www.cvbco.com or call the brewery at 760.343.5973.

About Coachella Valley Brewing Co
Since opening its doors on August 30, 2013, Coachella Valley Brewing Co has grown from a small lofty notion into a full-fledged reality. Locally owned and operated in Thousand Palms, California, Coachella Valley Brewing Co is committed to crafting beer that showcases the agriculture and attitudes of the desert. Locally grown, quality ingredients are used to create expertly crafted beers that deliver exceptional taste and a ‘farm to glass’ experience.

Published in Beer News

For Immediate Release: Contact: Matt Turner
Phone: 805-448-3358

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SB Hustlers to host Shakes'Beer Festival at SB Historical Museum

Santa Barbara, CA · July 21, 2015––On Friday September 18, 2015, from 6:00 – 10:00 pm the SB Historical Museum will be hosting Shakes'Beer, a Shakespeare in the Park meets a beer festival pairing beers with different Shakespearean characters and themes. This event will feature a cast of fifteen actors and actresses who will be directed by David Holmes. Scenes, monologues, and lines from a wide range of Shakespeare's plays will be featured. Interpretive ballet and an Elizabethan dance session will be directed by Cecily Stewart. Waters Rising, a three-person acoustic band, will play theme music throughout the evening. The beers will be curated by local Certified Cicerone, Zachary Rosen, who is working with local brewers to craft unique beers that match the different characters and themes being shown. Snacks will be provided by Whole Foods Market and meals will be available for purchase. All profits will be donated to the SB Hustlers, who have commissioned this project. Tickets are available at SBHustlers.org

This festival is a benefit for, and the brainchild of, the Santa Barbara Hustlers for Peace and Prosperity, a new volunteering community in Santa Barbara. The SB Hustlers are an approved project of the Share The Wealth Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. This new organization provides volunteering opportunities for those interested in becoming more engaged with their local community. The SB Hustlers promotes positive social change through personal commitment and volunteering. “We hope to positively impact every single resident in Santa Barbara by the year 2020,” says Matt Turner, co-founder of the SB Hustlers. Only in their first year of operation, this blossoming non-profit has already provided support for such organizations as A Year Without War, Earth Day SB and SB Open Streets.

Shakes'Beer is being curated by Zachary Rosen, Certified Cicerone (beer Sommelier), a specialist in abstract beer pairing events whose work combines beer with music and art in both artificial and natural environments. Rosen has worked with eight breweries to custom design ten different beers for the evening. “It has been incredible to see how the brewers have gotten behind this project. With cask beers, barrel-aged barleywines and spiced beers, this is one of the most exciting beer lists that I've seen at a festival,” says Rosen. Each beer has been custom designed to reflect a different Shakespearean character and was made just for Shakes'Beer.

The performances will be directed by David Holmes, who brings over thirty years of experience directing plays and musicals including eight fully staged Shakespeare productions. “David's dedication to this production and his insight on Shakespeare's works have been critical for Shakes'Beer, says Rosen. “David has produced a script that takes the audience through a lighthearted and whimsical selection of popular scenes and monologues,” Rosen continues. Cecily Stewart of State Street Ballet and Library Moves has directed interpretive ballet performances of literary works including Shakespearean plays. Stewart will be choreographing traditional Elizabethan dances alongside era-themed music from Waters Rising, a 3-piece acoustic band who will use a range of instruments including an accordion, cello, guitars and other stringed instruments.

# # #

To Arrange Interviews and More Information, Please Contact:

Contact: Matt Turner
Phone: 805-448-3358

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shakes'Beer Tentative Beer List

1. brewLAB: Romeo (Romeo & Juliet) Red Purl-Saison with Perle hops, Wormwood, Orange Peel, & Licorice Root

2. Rincon Brewery: Juliet (Romeo & Juliet) Belgian IPA with Falconer's Flight hops, Hibiscus, Vanilla Beans, & Orange Peel

3. Telegraph Brewing: Gingered Julia & Bonny Kate (Two Gentlemen of Verona & Taming of the Shrew) White Ale with Fresh Ginger, Pineapple, and Scotch Bonnets

4. CARP Brewers: Benedick (Much Ado About Nothing) Blonde Robust Porter with cacao nibs and coffee

5. Captain Fatty's: Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing) Black Witbier with citrus peels, white pepper, chamomile and honeysuckle

6. CARP Brewers: Falstaff (Henry IV & The Merry Wives of Windsor) Imperial Mild Ale

7. CARP Brewers: Mistress Page & Mistress Ford (The Merry Wives of Windsor) Scotch Ale & Scottish Ale produced by parti-gyle technique

8. Island Brewing: Bottom (A Midsummer Night's Dream) Paradise Pale Ale on Cask with Dandelion Blossoms, Wildflower Honey, and Meyer Lemon

9. Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.: Queen Titania (A Midsummer Night's Dream) Lizard's Mouth Double IPA on Cask with Dragon Fruit, Jasmine, and Cardamom

10. Pure Order Brewing Co.: King Oberon (A Midsummer Night's Dream) Montecito Peak Barleywine aged on French White Oak Bordeaux Barrels

Note: Parti-gyle brewing is where you load a large amount of grain in the mash. A first stronger beer is brewed from the mash and then a second batch of beer is made from the same grain, producing a weaker beer than the first.

Published in Beer News

San Diego is world renowned for producing amazingly high quality beer that has encouraged new comers to be creative and push beer style limits to new heights.

San Diego’s legacy breweries like Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Co., Ballast Point, Green Flash Brewing Company and AleSmith Brewing Company have a stellar reputation for brewing consistently great craft beers over nearly a century, collectively.

Published in The Beer Goddess Blog

(Petaluma,CA) – Owner Tony MacGee casually announced on Twitter that they will be opening their third brewing facility in Azusa, CA.  Their new building is already under construction, hoping for launch in early 2017. Here are the tweets:

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Lagunitas

Published in Beer News
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 02:42

Pucker Up: The Sour Resurgence has Arrived

Driven by nature’s unpredictability and culinary expression, experienced brewers are adapting traditional European techniques to bring bursts of intentionally tart and tangy flavors in beers as luminous as an autumn sunset.

In the mid-nineteenth century, back when beer was aged and shipped in wooden barrels, before the advent of refrigeration, nearly all beer was – on some levels - sour.

Practicing patience and an artful curiosity, sours can take up to two to three years to produce. But the wait is worth its weight in golden, deep amber and coppery-orange colored beers.

All hail Pediococcus, Lactobacillus, and Brettanomyces. The remarkable flavors in sour ales can be attributed to these wild yeast strains.

With bright flavors and carbonated mouthfeels of champagne and lemonade, these rising stars of the beer world are perfect for warmer months.

Just a couple hours south of the Coachella Valley, sour specialists, Lost Abbey Brewery, hand bottles every sour beer, eight bottles at a time. Their 2015 Framboise de Amorosa is coming out in July. In northern California, Russian River ages each batch of beer in a specific type of wine barrel (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon). And over in the Great Lakes region, Jolly Pumpkin is the only brewery that ages every beer.IMG 9229-edit

While Lost Abbey, Russian River and Jolly Pumpkin have been wreaking sensory havoc for over 30 years collectively, the following Southern California breweries are helping to lead the sour resurgence, on varying and awesomely quirky levels.

The Bruery: A Chat with Benjamin Weiss

Benjamin is The Bruery’s Marketing Director and the brewery’s second ever employee. The Bruery just celebrated their 7th year in May.

Benjamin became a professional brewer at The Bruery in 2008, just two years after starting to homebrew in Los Angeles. He eventually became the brewer on the infamous Black Tuesday.

EP: What’s your background brewing sours?

BW: I just drank them. Brewing them is pretty much the same as anything, you’re just fermenting slightly differently...most of our sours are aged in a used wine barrel, most of them nowadays, actually, primary fermentation starts in an oak barrel, then we rack into smaller oak barrels.

EP: Do you have any particular favorite wineries you like to get your barrels from?

BW: No, as far as the sour beers, we get the barrels from wineries, but we’re really using a neutral barrel. We clean them out…so as long as they’re newer, solid barrels, we’re happy with them. (pic: Cambria Griffith courtesy The Bruery)KQLynM6DA64MrDYbT4ytTyIklHOg809XebfgOnIqxd8ZqOdDM5KX4r9srgx-h0qmNIOO RIgoMaEt fKKlq BAzp12P9sBLw4TL4ALz2R8a35R2zzLjGCLr8OeKO1eFmg

EP: What do you love about sours?

Wow, that’s a good question. I don’t know. I’ve loved sours since I’ve first tried them back in my homebrew meeting about 10 years ago. I don’t know, there’s just something, when you have a good sour, there’s something complex and delicious about it. Like most of our sours are not purely lactic fermentation. They’re not just one note. It’s hard to describe, it’s almost a clean sour taste...also the funkiness that you can get from different strains of Brett that comes with time. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of time…I find them just fascinating.

EP: What do you think of the resurgence, or popularity of sours?

BW: Yeah. It’s crazy. I was just commenting to one of my coworkers that, we were at some festival, that five years ago, every single person that came up to you, you had to explain what a sour beer was…now almost everyone walks up and says, ‘oh you have a sour beer?’. It’s completely the opposite. At least with the beer crowd. It’s still a very, very small segment of beer. But within the craft beer aficionado community, it’s increasingly more popular.

EP: What are some of your favorites from The Bruery and why?

BW: One of my favorites we make is Rueuze, our kind of Gueuze style…it’s gotten a little bit better every year. It has that funky character that I like.

Gueuze is a type of lambic made by blending young (1-year-old) and old (2- to 3-year-old) lambics, which is then bottled for a second fermentation.

Rueuze is a blend of their sour blonde ale from several of their oak barrels, some of which have been aging several months, some several years. Notes of apricots, peach, lemon and bright barnyard funk flavors come through – perfect for summer. The Bruery Terreux suggests pairing it with smoked salmon with fresh goat’s cheese. I definately agree with that.

EP: What are some of your upcoming plans?

BW: We’re launching a tasting room for Bruery Terreux [in Anaheim] hopefully at the end of this year, if not early next year. And we’re just going full steam ahead. Coming out soon, we’ve got a Jester King collaboration and a Prairie collaboration at Terreux.

Bruery Terreux is a new-ish brand, loosely translating to “Earthy Bruery” in French. Developed by Patrick Rue of The Bruery, it’s a new space that focuses solely on their farmhouse-style ales fermented with the wild yeasts. (pic: Cambria Griffith courtesy The Bruery)6t6pTBfZCwsRzd9qkbOXOWiZn1FkmDXq5dHYCGToYC02b7G8 SjHKar4IgyQUFZIhsIGbGfUKMjz9n1cU8WlcAO7jI5btJClPXB-Sm-AQQc estMAFbPbsUu7ch20bRZo

The Jester King collaboration will be coming out in about two months.

Firestone Walker: A Brewery in Wine Country

The “accidental” story of Barrelworks is a beautifully tasty one. The story of renegade brewers Matt Brynildson,“Sour Jim” and Jeffers Richardson has grown from its humble beginnings in 2005 to over 1,500 barrels, just south of Paso Robles, in Buellton.

Jeffers is the Director of Barrelworks (aka “Barrelmeister”).

EP: What’s your fascination with sours?

JR: I love how it contributes depth and complexity to beer. Acidity ads a whole new dimension of flavor to beer…and plays teasingly with wild yeast and oak, when those components are involved.

EP: How long have you been experimenting with sours?

JR: My palate has been experimenting with acidified beers since 1985, when I lived in Brussels and first tried them. But I didn’t become comfortable with wild beer production until I teamed up with Jim. I'm old school. I was indoctrinated in the ways of clean beer practices. Once we were given our own padded room [facility], and the inmates were allowed to run it, I was more comfortable. Jim, on the other hand has been a certifiable experimenter of sours for some time.

Masterblender, Jim Crooks – aka Sour Jim- started making wild beers in local wine barrels. This innovative and unprecedented barrelhouse is the birth house of several of the wildly coveted beers being poured annually at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival, held every May.

IMG 5058-edit

What does "Sour Jim" love about sours?

My main love for sours stem from our choice to embrace the funk, and more importantly, the continuous learning curve that is brought about by the use of Brettanomyces and acid forming bacteria in our products.  Using these agents to produce truly unique beers constantly test the theory of how fermentation, barrel aging, and flavor/aroma of each strain can be so wildly unpredictable and unique.

Their Agrestic (2014) is based on Fireston's original flagship beer, Double Barrel Ale, or DBA, which then underwent a “chrysalis” process involving 87% French and 13% American Oak barrels and a proprietary collection of micro flora. It spends 14 months there. This sour leans towards the punker, tropical and oaky side of things and is brewed with B. lambicus, L. lindneri and L. brevis. The nose and taste bring citrus along with a gorgeous mix of coconut, vanilla and spice.

According to Jeffers, the acidity in a beer should enhance and support other aspects of the beer.

“We want to build layers of complexity.”

Sour Opal is an American Gueuze style with a Titratable Acidity (T.A.) of 6.6 g/L. You’ll notice on the Firestone Walker Barrelworks labels this acidity, which is something that currently, no other brewery divulges. With their home in wine country, Firestone Walker has adapted traditions and techniques from their winery friends.

La Piccola is a new collaborative cross-continental dark Saison that was featured at the Firestone Walker Beer Invitational in May. The collaboration between brewmasters Agostino Arioli of Birrificio Italiano and Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker resulted in two very similar beers. Agostino brewed his version with Sichuan peppercorns, sourced directly from a spice hunter in Italy.IMG 5391-edit

IMG 5101-edit

Bretta Weisse will be in bottles July 25th. Agrestic and Krieky Bones will be available August 22nd. And the wild brewers also have a Hood River Strawberry Saison in the works.IMG 2389-edit

Coachella Valley Brewing: Pucker Up in the Desert

Chris Anderson has been brewing up his sour program in Thousand Palms over the past year.

EP: What sours are on tap now?

On tap now is the Peche, an American wild ale with locally grown white peaches and pediococcus, lactic and multiple Brettanomyces cultures. Tasters are $3 and there’s only one keg left.

Also pick up a bottle of the special Framboys, wild ale brewed with raspberries and boysenberries. It's decedent.IMG 5382-edit

EP: When did you start this, or think about starting to brew sours?

CA: We immediately started getting into that mode when we had the capacity to store that type of a beer. We got a bunch of tanks dedicated just for making sour beers. That was probably about a year ago. That was kind of the inception of the first couple sour bases that we use to make a couple different beers with a batch of different fruits.

EP: How many tanks?

CA: We have three right now. We immediately made a sour base which is your run of the mill wheat beer and used some really old hops, which is typical of sour beers. You want to use old, cheesy, skanky hops, rather than the real aromatic ones. You don’t want that to shine through in the beer. We aged it away, we use a special flora. We have an onsite laboratory here that we can do micro – we built our own culture, that we inoculate all the barrels with, as well as the wort.

And the sour program at CVB is taking off. Anderson even hinted they might be expanding their sour program – outside of their current space – in the near future.

Their new Profligate Society will feature upcoming sours, Cabernet barrel aged Epineux Poire prickly pear wild ale, Cabernet barrel aged Cassis Noir black currant sour ale and Cabernet barrel aged Flame Rouges wild ale. Less than 500 bottles of each beer will be released to Profligate members.IMG 5374-edit

CA: We have the Flame Rouges, brewed with red vine raisons and red flame grape juice. That’s fermenting in the barrel now. We’ll be releasing it late this year, probably Fall…we’ve got a guava one fermenting, too.

EP: What do you love about sours?

"I don’t know, it’s kind of mysterious ya’ know? A little unorthodox. It’s the opposite of everything you’re told as a brewer, even the way the mash is done. The long aging, and you still may not get really high quality results…and it’s all about blending too."

And Anderson has blending experience, having won homebrew medals for his sours, before becoming a commercial brewer. He would sweep these categories in competitions.

Hangar 24 – New Sours are Landing

Hangar’s new sours First Crush and Sanguinello are launching this Saturday.

"First Crush" is a Sour Red Ale aged in red wine barrels with Syrah grape juice, there will be 2,300 bottles. The addition of Syrah grape juice after primary fermentation adds vinous, tannic notes of red wine, ripe fruit and leather.e2e2453d-dd2e-4493-a1b4-1116c6b153c9
“Sanguinello” is a sour blonde aged in white wine barrels with blood orange juice. They squeezed the juice of blood oranges into Sauvignon Blanc barrels, which held nine and eighteen month old sour blonde ale. There will be only 1,200 bottles. (Hangar pix: Hanger 24 Brewery)99b5cb0c-0167-47a9-8eda-3d6ab7b04699

When venturing into your sour quest, don’t miss out on the much-revered Cantillon Brewery, Drie Fonteinen, Allagash Brewing, Side Project, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, Cascade Brewing, Almanac Beer Co., The Rare Barrel or Mikkeller.

While sours still make up a relatively small portion of the craft beers that are available, they are becoming more and more prevalent - in small batches. 

Sours are brewers way of coloring outside the lines. Get funky and join the wild, wild yeast of the beer world.

Published in The Beer Goddess Blog
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 02:42

Pucker Up: The Sour Revolution Has Begun

Driven by nature’s unpredictability and culinary expression, experienced brewers are adapting traditional European techniques to bring bursts of intentionally tart and tangy flavors in beers as luminous as an autumn sunset.

In the mid-nineteenth century, back when beer was aged and shipped in wooden barrels, before the advent of refrigeration, nearly all beer was – on some levels - sour.

Practicing patience and an artful curiosity, sours can take up to two to three years to produce. But the wait is worth its weight in golden, deep amber and coppery-orange colored beers.

All hail Pediococcus, Lactobacillus, and Brettanomyces. The remarkable flavors in sour ales can be attributed to these wild yeast strains.

With bright flavors and carbonated mouthfeels of champagne and lemonade, these rising stars of the beer world are perfect for warmer months.

Just a couple hours south of the Coachella Valley, sour specialists, Lost Abbey Brewery, hand bottles every sour beer, eight bottles at a time. Their 2015 Framboise de Amorosa is coming out in July. In northern California, Russian River ages each batch of beer in a specific type of wine barrel (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon). And over in the Great Lakes region, Jolly Pumpkin is the only brewery that ages every beer.

While Lost Abbey, Russian River and Jolly Pumpkin have been wreaking sensory havoc for over 30 years collectively, the following Southern California breweries are helping to lead the sour resurgence, on varying and awesomely quirky levels.

The Bruery: A Chat with Benjamin Weiss

Benjamin is The Bruery’s Marketing Director and the brewery’s second ever employee. The Bruery just celebrated their 7th year in May.

Benjamin became a professional brewer at The Bruery in 2008, just two years after starting to homebrew in Los Angeles. He eventually became the brewer on the infamous Black Tuesday.

EP: What’s your background brewing sours?

BW: I just drank them. Brewing them is pretty much the same as anything, you’re just fermenting slightly differently...most of our sours are aged in a used wine barrel, most of them nowadays, actually, primary fermentation starts in an oak barrel, then we rack into smaller oak barrels.

EP: Do you have any particular favorite wineries you like to get your barrels from?

BW: No, as far as the sour beers, we get the barrels from wineries, but we’re really using a neutral barrel. We clean them out…so as long as they’re newer, solid barrels, we’re happy with them.

EP: What do you love about sours?

BW: Wow, that’s a good question. I don’t know. I’ve loved sours since I’ve first tried them back in my homebrew meeting about 10 years ago. I don’t know, there’s just something, when you have a good sour, there’s something complex and delicious about it. Like most of our sours are not purely lactic fermentation. They’re not just one note. It’s hard to describe, it’s almost a clean sour taste...also the funkiness that you can get from different strains of Brett that comes with time. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of time…I find them just fascinating.

EP: What do you think of the resurgence, or popularity of sours?

BW: Yeah. It’s crazy. I was just commenting to one of my coworkers that, we were at some festival, that five years ago, every single person that came up to you, you had to explain what a sour beer was…now almost everyone walks up and says, ‘oh you have a sour beer?’. It’s completely the opposite. At least with the beer crowd. It’s still a very, very small segment of beer. But within the craft beer aficionado community, it’s increasingly more popular.

EP: What are some of your favorites from The Bruery and why?

BW: One of my favorites we make is Rueuze, our kind of Gueuze style…it’s gotten a little bit better every year. It has that funky character that I like.

Gueuze is a type of lambic made by blending young (1-year-old) and old (2- to 3-year-old) lambics, which is then bottled for a second fermentation.

Rueuze is a blend of their sour blonde ale from several of their oak barrels, some of which have been aging several months, some several years. Notes of apricots, peach, lemon and bright barnyard funk flavors come through – perfect for summer. The Bruery Terreux suggests pairing it with smoked salmon with fresh goat’s cheese. I’ll go with that.

EP: What are some of your upcoming plans?

BW: We’re launching a tasting room for Bruery Terreux [in Anaheim] hopefully at the end of this year, if not early next year. And we’re just going full steam ahead. Coming out soon, we’ve got a Jester King collaboration and a Prairie collaboration at Terreux.

Bruery Terreux is a new-ish brand, loosely translating to “Earthy Bruery” in French. Developed by Patrick Rue of The Bruery, it’s a new space that focuses solely on their farmhouse-style ales fermented with the wild yeasts.

The Jester King collaboration will be coming out in about two months.

Firestone Walker: A Brewery in Wine Country

The “accidental” story of Barrelworks is a beautifully tasty one. The story of renegade brewers Matt Brynildson,“Sour Jim” and Jeffers Richardson has grown from its humble beginnings in 2005 to over 1,500 barrels, just south of Paso Robles, in Buellton.

Jeffers is the Director of Barrelworks (aka “Barrelmeister”).

EP: What’s your fascination with sours?

JR: I love how it contributes depth and complexity to beer. Acidity ads a whole new dimension of flavor to beer…and plays teasingly with wild yeast and oak, when those components are involved.

EP: How long have you been experimenting with sours?

JR: My palate has been experimenting with acidified beers since 1985, when I lived in Brussels and first tried them. But I didn’t become comfortable with wild beer production until I teamed up with Jim. I'm old school. I was indoctrinated in the ways of clean beer practices. Once we were given our own padded room [facility], and the inmates were allowed to run it, I was more comfortable. Jim, on the other hand has been a certifiable experimenter of sours for some time.

Masterblender, Jim Crooks – aka Sour Jim- started making wild beers in local wine barrels. This innovative and unprecedented barrelhouse is the birth house of several of the wildly coveted beers being poured annually at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival, held every May.

Their Agrestic (2014) began from their DBA, and then underwent a “chrysalis” process involving 87% French and 13% American Oak barrels and a proprietary collection of micro flora. It spends 14 months there. This sour leans towards the punker, tropical and oaky side of things and is brewed with B. lambicus, L. lindneri and L. brevis.

According to Jeffers, the acidity in a beer should enhance and support other aspects of the beer.

“We want to build layers of complexity.”

Sour Opal is an American Gueuze style with a Titratable Acidity (T.A.) of 6.6 g/L. You’ll notice on the Firestone Walker Barrelworks labels this acidity, which is something that currently, no other brewery divulges. With their home in wine country, Firestone Walker has adapted traditions and techniques from their winery friends.

La Piccola is a new collaborative cross-continental dark Saison that was featured at the Firestone Walker Beer Invitational in May. The collaboration between brewmasters Agostino Arioli of Birrificio Italiano and Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker resulted in two very similar beers.

Agostino brewed his version with Sichuan peppercorns, sourced directly from a spice hunter in Italy.

Coachella Valley Brewing: Pucker Up in the Desert

Chris Anderson has been brewing up his sour program in Thousand Palms over the past year.

EP: What sours are on tap now?

On tap now is the Peche, an American wild ale with locally grown white peaches and pediococcus, lactic and multiple Brettanomyces cultures. Tasters are $3 and there’s only one keg left.

EP: When did you start this, or think about starting to brew sours?

CA: We immediately started getting into that mode when we had the capacity to store that type of a beer. We got a bunch of tanks dedicated just for making sour beers. That was probably about a year ago. That was kind of the inception of the first couple sour bases that we use to make a couple different beers with a batch of different fruits.

EP: How many tanks?

CA: We have three right now. We immediately made a sour base which is your run of the mill wheat beer and used some really old hops, which is typical of sour beers. You want to use old, cheesy, skanky hops, rather than the real aromatic ones. You don’t want that to shine through in the beer. We aged it away, we use a special flora. We have an onsite laboratory here that we can do micro – we built our own culture, that we inoculate all the barrels with, as well as the wort.

And the sour program at CVB is taking off. Anderson even hinted they might be expanding their sour program – outside of their current space – in the near future.

Their new Profligate Society will feature upcoming sours, Cabernet barrel aged Epineux Poire prickly pear wild ale, Cabernet barrel aged Cassis Noir black currant sour ale and Cabernet barrel aged Flame Rouges wild ale. Less than 500 bottles of each beer will be released to Profligate members.

CA: We have the Flame Rouges, brewed with red vine raisons and red flame grape juice. That’s fermenting in the barrel now. We’ll be releasing it late this year, probably Fall…we’ve got a guava one fermenting, too.

EP: What do you love about sours?

CA: I don’t know, it’s kind of mysterious ya’ know? A little unorthodox. It’s the opposite of everything you’re told as a brewer, even the way the mash is done. The long aging, you still may not get really high quality results…and it’s all about blending too.

And Anderson has blending experience, having won homebrew medals for his sours, before becoming a commercial brewer. He would sweep these categories in competitions.

Hangar 24 – New Sours are Landing

Hangar’s new sours First Crush and Sanguinello are launching this Saturday.

"First Crush" is a Sour Red Ale aged in red wine barrels with Syrah grape juice, there will be 2,300 bottles. The addition of Syrah grape juice after primary fermentation adds vinous, tannic notes of red wine, ripe fruit and leather.
“Sanguinello” is a sour blonde aged in white wine barrels with blood orange juice. They squeezed the juice of blood oranges into Sauvignon Blanc barrels, which held nine and eighteen month old sour blonde ale. There will be only 1,200 bottles.

When venturing into your sour quest, don’t miss out on the much-revered Cantillon Brewery, Drie Fonteinen, Allagash Brewing, Side Project, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, Cascade Brewing, Almanac Beer Co., The Rare Barrel or Mikkeller.

Sours are brewers way of coloring outside the lines. Get funky and join the wild, wild yeast of the beer world.

Published in The Beer Goddess Blog

As part of 21st Amendment’s launch events in Southern California (June 17th – June 20th ) and the run-up to LA Beer Week, brewmaster Shaun O’Sullivan has teamed up with his good friend Alexandra Nowell, the head brewer at Three Weavers Brewing Company in Inglewood, CA to produce a crisp and delicious watermelon Saison called “We Saw Them Coming.” The beer has the refreshing quality of a Belgian-style Saison and the unique and summery quality of real watermelon, and weighs in at 6.3% ABV.3weavers

Published in Beer News
Friday, 22 May 2015 16:04

VIVA “LA PICCOLA”

Collaborative Cross-Continental Dark Saison to Debut at Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest

Paso Robles, CA: Multiple versions of the same collaborative dark saison wild ale—called La Piccola—will be unveiled at the 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest on May 30, capping off a year of cross-continental brewing hijinks between brewmasters Agostino Arioli of Birrificio Italiano and Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker Brewing Company.

Published in Beer News
Friday, 22 May 2015 15:33

La Quinta Brewing Ramping Up in 2015

La Quinta Brewery has been busy brewing for Coachella Valley locals and visitors since late 2013. Last year, the brewery delivered 1,000 barrels from their Wildcat Drive location. This year, they are on par to brew 2,000 barrels and owner Scott Stokes shared they might be expanding with one or two more fermenters, in the near future.

Published in The Beer Goddess Blog