Archive for the tag “The Bruery”

2013 Black Tuesday – The Bruery

black-tuesday-beer

18.9% ABV
Purchased through The Bruery online shop and poured into mini tasting glasses.

This already legendary bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout from Orange County-based The Bruery pours a midnight black with a vaporous, light brown head.  It smacks you with hard alcohol aromas upon the first crack of the bottle, but chocolate, coffee and wet wood notes emerge when you dial in further.  An eye popper upon first swallow, with the flavors working on two different levels – throat-clearing booziness on one end of the palette, spectacularly strong and nuanced chocolate and coffee on the other.  Black Tuesday is a masterful slow-sipper, and not as grossly sweet as some of The Bruery’s other big-ass brews.  The beer works wonders if you take your time with it, growing a little more peppery on the aftertaste, and with vanilla bean and wood growing stronger the longer it warms.

   4.5 Toasts

BlackTuesday

   4.5 Toasts

 

Top 10 Beers of 2014

Top10-2014

Another year in the books, and plenty more beer in our bellies.  We have had another wonderful year of beer adventures, starting in January with The Art of Beer event at McClellan, and continuing with San Francisco and Sacramento Beer Weeks, our trip to Portland, the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp, and our many daytrips and weekend voyages to San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Mill Valley, Albany, Walnut Creek, Chico, Rocklin, Folsom, Davis, and various other points across Northern California.

More great beer is being brewed, poured, and sold in our neck of the woods than ever before, so we have had the opportunity to try a lot of amazing brews in 2014.  The following is a list of the ten best beers that we tried for the first time in 2014, with an addendum list of 10 more sublime first-timers.  To be fair, we have omitted some “world famous” heavy hitters, such as Marshall Zukov’s Imperial Stout from Cigar City, Hill Farmstead’s Arthur, Cherry Adam From the Wood by Hair of the Dog, and Dogfish Head’s 18% ABV Worldwide Stout.  We also excluded any excellent beers that only one of us tried (e.g., Triple Voodoo King Leopold w/ coffee, and Drake’s Jolly Rodger 2014), since we are trying to build a His & Hers consensus list.

Finally, in order to spread the love around a little, we elected to only allow one beer per brewery.  That posed an immense problem with San Francisco-based Cellarmaker Brewing, since they have quickly become our favorite NorCal brewery, and we have collectively sampled and loved over two dozen of their beers this year (only the coconut-heavy ABV monster Blammo! was divisive – She adored it, He found it sickly-sweet).  If we are being 100% honest, we would have no issue filling this top 10 + 10 with 20 off-the-charts brilliant Cellarmaker beers.  We could have gone with the smoked coffee porter Imperial Coffee and Cigarettes, the chewy oatmeal stout Walker, SoMa Ranger, the tart saison Beertender’s Breakfast, and then fill most of the rest of the list with their amazing hop experiments, such as Mo’ Nelson, No Nelson Left Behind, Highway to the Danker Zone, Dank Williams, Tiny Dankster, Spear or Culture, and Christopher Riwakan.  Therefore, we have decided to name Cellarmaker our MVP Brewery of the Year – just go to Cellarmaker, find a seat, sample every beer on tap, and enjoy your new life.

MVP Brewery of the Year

With Cellarmaker excluded from “competition,” here were the best beers that we both tried for the first time this year (in alphabetical order, w/ brewer in parentheses): 

The Ten Best

  1. Arctic Soiree (Grassroots Brewing)
  2. Black Belle Imperial Stout (Blackstone Brewing Company)
  3. The Conversion (Logsdon Farmhouse Ales)
  4. Egregious (The Rare Barrel)
  5. El Guapo (Flat Tail Brewing)
  6. Narwhal Bourbon Barrel-Aged (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.)
  7. Pater (Cascade Brewingalthough at least a half dozen more of the beers we tried at their PDX brewery could have made this list)
  8. Pinchy Jeek (Anderson Valley Brewing Company)
  9. Syndicate #2 (Speakeasy Ales & Lagers)
  10. Valley of the Hearts Delight (Almanac Beer Company)

Ten More Sublime First-Timers

  1. Agave Maria (The Lost Abbey)
  2. Agrestic (Firestone Walker Brewing Company)
  3. Christmas Bomb (Prairie Artisan Ales)
  4. Extremely Angry Beast (Clown Shoes Beer)
  5. Four Play (Upright Brewing Company)
  6. Lucybelle (Sante Adairius Rustic Ales)
  7. Matt’s Burning Rosids (Stone Brewing Company)
  8. Rue d’Floyd (The Bruery with 3 Floyds Brewing Co.)
  9. Saison (Woodfour Brewing Company)
  10. Trader Session IPA (Uinta Brewing Co.)

Sour in the Rye with Kumquats – The Bruery

bruery-sourrye-kumquats-bttl7.6% ABV
Purchased through The Bruery Provisions (25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into wine glasses.

This variation on Sour in the Rye was aged in oak barrels with kumquats, and it pours a muddy, peachy copper with a vaporous white head.  The somewhat perplexing aroma contains sour candy, a little vinegar, puckering citrus fruits, and oaky wine tannins.  Sour in the Rye with Kumquats has a surprisingly refreshing sourness given all of the elements in play, with the intense kumquat juiciness asserting itself on the second wave of flavor.  Oranges, lemon peels, and papayas are all present on the tongue in addition to the kumquats, and while the rye never emerges as an independent flavor, it does seem to have imbued the citrus flavors with an extra intensity.

toasts-4   4 Toasts

SourRye-Kumquats

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Bois – The Bruery

boisSoCal Beercation Edition

15% ABV
Purchased at The Bruery Tasting Room ($7/4 oz. pour) and served in mini-snifters.

This barrel-aged offering from The Bruery pours a muddy brown with a tight eggshell white head, and a surprisingly subtle nose of alcohol, vanilla, and touches of brown sugar and coconut.  It offers an eye-opening taste of hard alcohol on first swallow, but without the residual throat burn, instead fading into flavors of pineapple, brown sugar, and vanilla beans.  The alcohol burn eventually comes in on the finish, but there are also some bread, spice, and molasses notes in the picture to capture your attention.  Bois is not a beer for timid palettes, and it’s almost too intense to be fully appreciated at present (a couple years of aging should take some of the edge off), with the alcohol beginning to overwhelm the subtler flavors after the first few sips.  That said, if you’re looking for a big beer, they don’t get much bigger or more flavor-packed than this one, with everything from nuts to tree sap to unsweetened maple syrup making an appearance on the tongue.

toasts-4   4 Toasts

bois

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Top 10 Beers of 2012

2012We sampled a lot of amazing beers in 2012, and thanks in large part to this blog, we have met a lot of wonderful new people.  When compiling this list of our top beers of 2012, we eschewed any pretense of objective analysis, and simply chose our most mutually memorable first-time beer experiences.  Cheers to another year of great beer!

OUR TOP 10 BEERS OF 2012:

Adam/Fred (Hair of the Dog Brewing Company – 12 oz. bottles, purchased at The Bruery Provisions, Orange)

Black Butte XXIV (Deschutes Brewery – 22 oz. bottle, purchased at Taylor’s Market)

Boda Savaje (Peruvian wedding beer home brewed by Marie – draft, sampled at Scott and Becky’s wedding)

Dos Cone Es – aged on oak chips (Cismontane Brewing Company – draft, purchased at Beer Revolution, Oakland)

Enjoy By 09.21.12 IPA (Stone Brewing Company – 22 oz. bottle, purchased at Stone Brewery, Escondido)

Every Man’s DIPA (Societe Brewing Company – draft, purchased at Blind Lady Ale House, San Diego)

Jack N Jolly (Drake’s Brewing– draft, purchased at The Page, San Francisco)

Old Stock Ale (2009) Cellar Reserve (North Coast Brewing – 16.9 oz. bottle, purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe)

Smoking Wood – Bourbon Barrel-Aged (The Bruery – purchased at The Bruery Tasting Room, Placentia)

Sweet and Sour (HaandBryggeriet – 16.9 oz. bottle, purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe)

IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN… 

Pliny the Younger (Russian River Brewing Company)

Trappist Westvleteren 12

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Anniversary Barley Wine (Uinta Brewing)

Black Hole (Mikkeller)

Elliot Brew (De Struise Brouwers/Mikkeller collaboration)

FiringsQuad (Alpine Beer Company)

Imperial Smoked Porter (Sierra Nevada Brewing Company)

Jewbelation 15 (He’Brew Beer)

Madrugada Obscura (Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales)

3 Days (Hitachino Nest Beer)

URKontinent (Dogfish Head)

Waldo’s 420 Ale (Lagunitas Brewing Company)

Rugbrød – The Bruery

8% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe and poured into tulip glasses.

A “Julebryg-style Dark Rye Ale” from The Bruery, Rugbrod pours a pumpernickel-brown with a vaporous, sand-colored head.  The savory and intriguing nose contains sharp rye and bread-like malts, while peppery rye also plays off of bread notes on the tongue.  Rugbrod offers much of the same flavor and texture as dark rye bread, while remaining a rich and drinkable cold-weather brew.  Even more complex flavors – molasses, nuts, and subtle spice-rack herbs among them – begin to come through as the pour warms.  This year’s vintage has more palette-splitting rye and less molasses than previous versions, but a year or two of cellaring should tame the beer.

    4 Toasts

   3.5 Toasts

Chocosaurus Rye – The Bruery/Bootlegger’s Brewery Collaboration

7% ABV
Purchased at The Bruery Provisions Store in Orange, CA ($10/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses
.

This “black rye lager” marks a collaboration between Placentia-based The Bruery and Fullterton’s Bootlegger’s Brewery, and it pours a squid ink black with a rapidly evaporating sandlewood-colored head. The enticing nose contains coffee grounds, vanilla beans, hard alcohol, and some rum cake, and the first swallow follows suit with plenty of alcohol-soaked chocolate and vanilla-flavored coffee. Significant chocolate syrup notes are present on the tongue, but the mouthfeel of Chocosaurus Rye is light and crisp, and it’s actually complemented well by the sharp rye finish. Ultimately, this brew is a curious experiment in tastes and textures – offering rich, syrupy flavors offset by lager lightness and the cleansing presence of rye on the retreat – but it’s not a brew that I would ever particularly crave

    3 Toasts

   4 Toasts

Top Beers of the Beer-Cation – SoCal Taster

Our number one goal on our SoCal “beer-cation” was to sample new beers, and we especially wanted to find beers from breweries that we have never tried before.  In our five days in San Diego and the LA area, we managed to check 10 new breweries off our beer list:

Alpine Beer Company

Anaheim Brewing

Avery Brewing Company

Coronado Brewing Company

Founders Brewing Co.

Hess Brewing

Manzanita Brewing

Mission Brewery

Societe Brewing Company

Strand Brewing

In the whirl of brewery tours, bar hops, and taster samples, it was easy for some new brews to get lost in the mix, but there were some definite standouts.  These are my 5 personal favorite new beers that I sampled on the SoCal trip:

1) The Bruery – Smoking Wood Bourbon Barrel-Aged (@ The Bruery Tasting Room, Placentia)

2) Stone Enjoy By 09/21/12 IPA (@Stone World Bistro and Gardens, Escondido)

3) Alpine FiringsQuad (@Blind Lady Ale House, San Diego)

4) Societe Every Man’s DIPA (@Blind Lady Ale House, San Diego)

5) Port Ocean Beach Bacon and Eggs (@ Pizza Port – Ocean Beach)

* * * * *

Here were 5 more especially good beers that we sampled along the way, in no particular order:

Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale (@Toronado, San Diego)

Ballast Point Three Sheets – Rum Barrel-Aged (@Ballast Point/Home Brew Mart, San Diego)

AleSmith Speedway Stout brewed w/ Arabian Mocha Java (@ Alesmith Tasting Room, San Diego)

Left Coast/Pizza Port/Cismontaine Band Wagen Berliner Weisse (@ The Regal Beagle, San Diego)

The Lost Abbey Saison Blanc (@ The Lost Abbey Tasting Room, San Marcos)

 

Smoking Wood (Bourbon Barrel-Aged) – The Bruery – SoCal Taster

13% ABV
Purchased at The Bruery Tasting Room ($7/6 oz. serving) and poured into tulip glasses.

This bourbon barrel-aged version of The Bruery’s Imperial Smoked Porter pours an incomprehensible black with a quickly settling, brown sugar-colored head.  With its intoxicating nose of bourbon and slab bacon,  Smoking Wood is quite possibly the best-smelling brew I have ever sniffed.  It packs a walloping first swallow of whiskey, barrel wood, and delectable smoked and dried meats, up to and including prosciutto, salami, and pepperoni.  Smoking Wood is rich and velvety but also immensely well-structured, a beer that seems almost specifically tailored to my “ultimate beer” mantra of “full flavors in perfect balance”.  The jerky-like taste is given amazing body and complexity by the barrel-aging process – it’s zesty, rich, challenging, and inviting all at once.  I will dream about this beer for a long time.

    5 Toasts


   5 Toasts

A SoCal Taster

During the last week of August, His & Hers Beer Notes took a long-desired trip through the thriving San Diego beer scene, with brief stopovers in Escondido (Stone), San Marcos (The Lost Abbey), and Anaheim (The Bruery).

In San Diego, we hit many of the city’s notable brewery tasting rooms (including Ballast Point, Alesmith, and Green Flash) and bars (we made it to Small Bar, Toronado, and Blind Lady Ale House) during our three-day stay. Our goal was to try as many new and interesting brews as we could while leaving time for sober sightseeing in the sunlight hours, and San Diego did not disappoint on either count.

On the ride from San Diego to the LA area, we stopped at the immense and impressive Stone World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido, as well as The Lost Abbey’s much more scaled-down business park tasting room a few miles up the road.

Anaheim led us to the thriving upstart Anaheim Brewery, and our first-ever trip to His and Hers’ Holy Grail of Tasting Rooms, The Bruery’s recently renovated space in Placentia.  We also made a return browse through the eminently tasteful bottle selection at The Bruery Provisions Store in Orange, scoring a few unseen-in-Sacramento treasures for the cellar.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be reliving our Southern California beer-cation with sketches and reviews of some of the new beers we sampled, also spotlighting some of our favorite new discoveries along the way. 

Cheers!

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 499 other followers