Pugachev goes Royale


Hangar 24 Craft Brewery and their brand new branding are back for round 2 of their Barrel-Aged Beer Festival this December 7th, from 11am-4pm at their Redlands based Brewery.

This is your chance to sample many, many beers from the Hangar’s extensive barrel-aging program including the infamous Pugachev’s Cobra. To sweeten the pot, a brand new entry in the Barrel Roll series will be introduced: the very limited Pugachev Royale.

This was a fun event last year.  It is a long drive (unless you live out in the IE) but a good sized but not huge crowd was spread through the getting bigger brewery complex. And even though some of the rarer beers went quickly there was no wont of good beer choices.


Review – Hangar 24 Helles Lager

Today’s review is of a beer that I have had a few times before from the rapidly expanding brewery from Redlands, Hangar 24. Now they are known in the beer geek circles for their Barrel Roll series and their flagship Orange Wheat, but for daily drinking (a table beer as it were) there is no match for their Helles lager. And it is now in cans and due for a re-review.
It pours a light straw color. The aroma isn’t pungent or grab you at all but then you take a sip and it is a solid mix of carbonation, silky smoothness with a touch of sweetness. It isn’t dry but it doesn’t have the cloying Sugar Pop sweetness that you get from the B-M-C industrial water lagers. It is filling and tasty and right for the Helles style.
Now is this beer gonna blow you away? Does it have a big hop presence? Or a big ABV to it? Nope. But if you review it for what it is, then you will see what a good job Hangar does with it. The same could be said of their Alt-Bier as well. A style forgotten by the current craft beer culture but is solid nonetheless. I highly recommend having a case of this around. It is perfect to wean people off mass produced beer but still tasty enough for the discerning craft drinker.

Ritual Brewing

Took a little time to find this new-ish Redlands brewery, but once the small sign saying “beer here” was spotted, I was sure that I had found Ritual Brewing for the first time.

I am accustomed to breweries wedged into industrial parks. Comes with the territory. But you walk into Ritual and feel dwarfed by the cavernous space. There is a tiny bar area and a few barrels upended to stand around but it mostly feels like an echo chamber. Not particularly a bad thing but it is a little off putting.

I got a sample tray of four beers that looked good despite the plastic cups and set forth to try a range of styles.

The wit looked good but boy did it taste of salt. A taste that I unsuccesfully attempted to rid my palate of. So, I set aside that offering and moved onto Hellion. Which was OK but was not super. Third in line was Extra Red. I had sampled it at Union Station as part of LA Beer Week and was impressed but this batch fell short of that one. I was left wondering where the water came from and what they did to it. The first three beers struggled to get the flavor through this salt water barricade. The stout at the end was the best of the day but not drive worthy like the samples at nearby Hangar 24.

I left most of the beer. That should tell you something.

Xmas 2012 – Hangar 24 / Warmer

Our final holiday entrant comes from Hangar 24. It is part of the Local Fields series and goes by the name of Warmer. Which L.A. certainly is.

“Warmer, is strong, rich ale that combines holiday flavors including cinnamon, maple syrup, caramel malts and fresh spruce from the San Bernardino Mountains. The combination is a nice compliment to the cool season. Warmer’s ABV is 7.8 percent.

The Local Fields Series was launched in early 2012 and is comprised of six beers, all brewed once per year with a different local ingredient. Other ingredients in Hangar 24’s Local Fields beers include red wine grapes, dates, blood oranges, apricots and pumpkins all of which were grown close to the brewery in Redlands, CA.”

“Hang”in around the Barrel

I wish Redlands was a little closer to Glendale. But then again, it is probably why their special events are so much fun and with little to no lines even during a great barrel aged beer event at Hangar 24.

They are known for their excellent Orange Wheat (now in cans, along with their Helles) but beer geeks know them for their “Barrel Roll Series” of beers. It started with Immelman’s five years ago and this year they released Chandelle. And then re-released Pugachev’s Cobra from year three.

I was finally able to catch up on Immelman (in two versions) as well as Roll # 2, Humpty Bump. And even though I missed the apricot accented Chandelle, there was plenty to choose from, especially if you like rye whiskey barrels.

Immelman (the bourbon version) was my co-favorite of the day in a tie with a rye whiskey barrel version of their 4th Anniversary Dopplesticke.

The staff was friendly and helpful. As mentioned, lines were practically non-existent from the time I arrived two hours in until I left two hours later. Some of the bottled offerings were running dry but you could spend your six drink tickets on multiple versions of Pugachev’s or sit at one station and have an enjoyable time and get your $25 worth. The pours were very generous considering the weight of some of the beers and you could gaze upon their new canning line and huge tanks in the newest part of the facility.

So keep your eye’s peeled for their next event. You will not regret it.

Ritual Brewing

Redlands is getting a new brewery, Ritual Brewing

Now the trip east becomes even more worth it now that there will be two stops in town.

Plus, thanks to a bright-eyed FoodGPS reader, there is another brewery fermenting in Riverside by the name of Thompson Brewing.

the latest Barrel Roll

Looks like Hangar 24 is ramping up the Barrel Roll series again. I missed the first two of the series but starting with # 3 Pugachev’s Cobra was not a bad way to go but I am glad that they are heading into sour territory with Chandelle. It is a good change of pace from the barleywine, Hammerhead and it uses the apricots that they are famous for with their wonderful Polycot beer.

Pitting for Polycot

On Tuesday morning, I ventured an hour and a half (no traffic, thank goodness) to Redlands and Hangar 24 Brewery to help in the creation of….

“Polycot is a wheat beer brewed with hundreds of pounds of organic apricots grown in Southern California’s High Desert. We brew this beer during the very small window of time when the apricots are at their peak of freshness, usually early July. The pureed apricots add a wonderful fruit flavor to the beer and combine with the wheat for a refreshing tart finish. This beer goes down smooth, but at over 1.5 times the alcohol of the Orange Wheat, it will sneak up on you.”

I pitted for three hours in between chatting fellow volunteers and drinking Polycot 2011 and the Hangar 24 DIPA.

The Hangar crew would bring out a pallet of apricots (1 pallet = 1 batch) and the volunteers would grab a box take the sticker off the apricots, remove the pit and toss the fruit into a collection bucket.

There were a lot of apricots but the buckets of fruit filled up pretty fast.

And despite apricot stained fingers, it was a fun way to be a small part of the brewing process and I will be able to proudly hold a glass of 2012 Polycot and say that I helped to make it happen.