Time to crack open the impressively packaged Imperial Double Mash Stout from MacLeod Ales…
This is a gentle giant of a beer. Pours dark brown in color with just a few, fast dissipating bubbles on top. I get cherry, chocolate and a slight nutty taste at first. This is a smooth beer. The ABV is not showing. As it warms, I get Dutch chocolate pudding with a bit of coffee bean bitterness.
Readers of the blog know that I am an appreciator of fine label design and that I am wary when a brewery creates a a new brand.
Those two worlds collide with this very strange hazy IPA label from Van Nuys Beer Co. (a MacLeod Ales younger sibling).
The shopping cart plus the fog are creepy and then the yellow dots add a layer of modern art meets Brouwerij West to leave an overall eye catching label. I half expect a grocery bag to be pushed by the wind into the frame and then gust away.
You may remember Maximilliano, the restaurant that was an interesting an unofficial Craftsman Brewing outlet. That concept closed but the next tenant will keep the restaurant with a side of beer theme.
MacLeod Ales will be taking over the space and hope to open this time next year. Their pizza business next door to their Van Nuys brewery was a great success and now they will try to replicate it.
I noticed the logo below in my Instagram feed…
The acronym is for Van Nuys Beer Co. I sleuthed a few more clicks on the internet and noticed a familiar address on Calvert Street. As other breweries have done, MacLeod Ales has a second imprint. Where they can play in a different beer style sandbox. Where they will not incur the wrath of the “beer police”.
If you wanted to sample the French hop Barbe Rouge, well you can see how it hazes with the pirate themed Son of Barbarossa from MacLeod Ales. Not the most English of their offerings but think of it as hopping the channel for a visit.
Here is my quick take on this duo…
MacLeod – ‘tis a British take on IPA for sure. There is some fruit, pineapple, but it is a search to find it anywhere than in the aroma. I get mostly malt and an earthy, wet bitterness that lingers at a medium small level throughout.
Cellador – this has a great aroma. All Brett with fruit notes lingering on the outside. This is a super dry beer. Shock to the palate dry. The pineapple comes through in a dried flavor. This is one to drink little sips of to savor.
Since beer shopping is a different experience these days, the monthly column has to change with the times and today the BUY list is a pair of beers starting with the same base.
Here is the info from Cellador…”If you didn’t know, we brew all our wort at MacLeod in Van Nuys; so in a certain sense every beer we make is a collaboration with them. For this we thought it would be fun to do a twist on something that neither of us are particularly known for. I worked with the brewers David and Stephen to create a standard west coast IPA recipe which we took and fermented in oak barrels with our house mixed cultures (as is our wort). It aged in oak for seven months, then we dry hopped it with Lemon Drop and El Dorado, and bottle conditioned it with local orange flower blossom honey. As our version was getting close to ready, MacLeod brewed the same recipe but did a standard clean version, which will be released in cans and crowlers Monday April 13th. We really hope that you’ll get both versions to try side by side and experience the ways in which using mixed-cultures can drastically change a beer.”
Before the whole pandemic took over, one of my to-do list items was to have a MacLeod ale and a pizza from their adjoining restaurant. And since the takeout only option has been on the books, I have seen that they seem to be at pizza making capacity many nights. Whether the food delivery people are gouging them is a different story. Now we have a new option…
…hopefully, the beer loving world has learned some cooking techniques in these last two weeks.
Now you can have some Italian pizza with your English-styled beers from MacLeod Ales. I am liking that breweries are expanding into food. It is the next step in the L.A. craft beer evolution.