Hank is just a solid name. For a person, a dog or a beer. And de Garde Brewing from Tillamook, Oregon has a dessert-ish beer ready with a SoCal connection.
“During his visit for our last anniversary, we took the opportunity to taste through some barrels and compose a special blend with our good friend Henry from Monkish Brewing Co. .
It’s a thoughtful and gorgeous combination of both three and five year aged barrels of our spontaneous beer, all built around the cornerstone of a stunning Moscatel dessert wine barrel. There’s mature funk, yet it still carries a remarkable vibrancy. A lot going on here, and a lot to savor.”
I have to admit that Monkish Brewing has not been on my radar for quite some time. Not due to quality or anything, they just blew up and getting in was simply harder to either avoid a can drop or big tap room crowds.
But the Anaheim location has been on my radar, and I finally checked out M2 recently and here is what I found….
The old Anaheim Brewing space seems way more garden like. Trees and shade on a hot day worked wonders. It is blocked off a bit but not so much that it is darkened. Way less space inside. Gotta say, better than the cramped Torrance brewery. Even though the seating is not what one would call comfortable.
If soft hops is your jam and you want to hit two breweries, Monkish and Unsung Brewing nearby would be a great 1-2 punch.
Monkish Brewing Co. – Torrance, California
“This summer, the popular four-year-old brewery ditched its distributor and moved to primarily brewery-only releases. To offset the risk, co-owner Henry Nguyen started brewing what he initially swore he wouldn’t: IPAs. Those have crept up in RateBeer scores alongside upper-90s-rated Monkish saisons Haiku de Saison and Rara Avis. “We didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing,” Nguyen says. “But we’d been thinking: ‘What would a Monkish IPA look like?’” The answer: cloudy, creamy, low in bitterness. “When we first made these, brewers here were telling me to my face these beers were ugly and not really IPAs,” he says. “Now after a few releases, they’ve seen the lines [of customers], and they’re asking me which yeasts we’re using.”
Phantom Carriage Brewery & Blendery – Carson, California
“Phantom Carriage’s taproom is worth a visit, even if just to experience the decor: Based just outside of LA in Carson, California, the brewery has a horror-show vibe (“Spooky but not kitschy,” says brewery co-founder Martin Svab) with scythes and other rusty farm implements stabbed into the walls; candles glowing inside fake human and animal skulls; and the “Phantom Theater,” playing a rotating lineup of scary movies. “I’ve always been into these old scary movies that unfortunately, this day and age, are being forgotten,” Svab says. “They’re just so beautiful. So the entire brewery’s just an homage to the old horror cinema.” That goes right down to its name: “The Phantom Carriage” was a Swedish film produced in 1921, notable for its early use of special effects and for certain scenes so iconic that Stanley Kubrick remade them in his own horror film, “The Shining.” (The famous axe-through-the-door scene? “The Phantom Carriage” did it first.) Come for the fear, stay for the beer: Inside the dark confines of the brewery’s taproom, nearly 400 oak barrels are filled with the creations of head blender Simon Ford, who was well-known in the LA homebrew scene for his downright fantastic sour beers long before joining the Phantom Carriage team. His skills are just as potent in the big leagues: Muis, a Belgian blonde ale melding honeydew melon, guava, spearmint and onion skin aromas with musty lemon and white pepper flavors, is one of the better 100% Brettanomyces fermented beers we’ve ever tasted, and beers like the Simcoe-hopped Annalee grisette and Broadacres Berliner weisse exhibit complex, slightly wild flavors that, like the environs in which they’re served, are scary-good.”
What happens when a Portland native works the beer industry in SoCal and then moves back to Portland?
Well, in the case of Robby Roda, who spent time at both Monkish Brewing and Beachwood BBQ and Brewing, you open up a distribution company in Portland to bring select beers from L.A. to the NW.
And to make the L.A. connection tighter, name it after the El Segundo Brewing special Day One IPA releases. Day One Distribution has scheduled to get El Segundo Brewing onto Portland taps already with Monkish Brewing, Smog City Brewing and Phantom Carriage planned to roll out too.
Day One will begin weighted to California but will add other breweries in a slow and small fashion. In a move that seems counterintuitive to traditional distribution the amount of beer will be kept purposefully small and will make the effort to sell out within thirty days of delivery.
That is a market that could work if kept small and tightly controlled. Might even be a template for what future distribution can be.
You can read more about the new distributor at The New School. I hope to hear how our beers are received up north.
Getting back to the peach theme in the featured reviews, we head to a semi-cellared (five to six months) bottle of Mind of a Peach the collaboration/celebration beer for Beer Belly that was brewed by Monkish Brewing. This is my third time trying this beer, will it be the charm?
Pours a hazy yellow/orange color. The aroma is acidic which forewarns you to the taste to come.
The promised peach is sort of there but could be really amped up in my opinion. Tart first bite which drys out a bit and leaves a sour patch candy taste in the mouth.
The beer remains a bit one note to me. It could do with maybe some spice or rye or just kick the peaches into overdrive or add in some other stonefruit.
Monkish Brewing is selling hoppy cans by the bushel load and on the 14th you can compare them to New York beer darlings, Other Half and see who has this hazy IPA thing done the coldest. Then compare those to the Shrago Beachwood IPA’s that are straight up West Coast.