Summer might be the time for pilsners and lagers to shine but there are still a lot of IPAs out there with almost all the hops you can imagine.
Smog City Squall Line IPA – 6.4% – “the next beer in our Smog Days IPA Series. This is one bright & crushable West Coast IPA, coming in at 6.4% and featuring Azacca, Veteran’s Blend, & Simcoe hops. It’s got wonderful flavors of mango, pineapple, & stone fruit.
Fremont / Bale Breaker Cultivision Cold IPA – 7.5% – “we used Yakima Chief Hop’s 301 Mosaic Fresh Cryo Hops. Just because it’s not fresh hop season, doesn’t mean we can’t bring you a fresh hop beer. By using fresh hops it really accentuates the pine, grassy and fresh floral aromas.”
Societe Brewing Glorious Odds Hazy IPA – 7.5% – “a playful hazy with a boat load of stone fruit notes. Adorn your senses with aromas of peach, tropical fruits and lemon followed with some orange & sweet aromatics. Crafted with Idaho 7, El Dorado, Mosaic, and Azzaca hops, this spunky brew is mildly bitter with a heavy haze.”
Or should I say Stone and Societe.
I am kind of surprised that the old school and new school San Diego breweries hadn’t collaborated before. But since they are, I am glad they are going the West Coast IPA route.
I have really been digging the new labels from Societe Brewing. Not only for that Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer like design but also for the genteel names being used as well, Agreeable Folk was one and now Good of the Public, heck even the color scheme is soothing to the eyes. But why I wanted to bring this beer to your attention is that it has the Strata hop in the mix. One of my current faves.
It is hard to single out one brewery in San Diego but whenever my next trip takes me south from L.A., Societe Brewing will be at the top of the list to visit. One reason could be to try their take on “Feral” ales and to check out some of the newer beers that they have produced like….
The Fiddler San Diego-style IPA – “Playing off lyrics from Alabama’s “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas”, brewmaster Travis Smith says, “If you’re gonna brew in San Diego, you gotta have an IPA!” Societe is highly regarded for its lengthy lineage of IPAs, and its latest harnesses the attributes of a trio of hops—Simcoe, Eureka and Idaho 7—to bring something newBeer Styles and unique to its Out West family of hop-driven beers. Those hops were selected through Societe’s single-hop IPA program.”
The Statesman Pale Ale – “Crafted to bring forth a distinctly West Coast hop profile balanced by substantial yet subtle malt character, this beer is a modern interpretation of an American pale ale and Societe’s first foray into this venerable beer style.”
The Bachelor with Cashmere hops Single-Hop IPA – “The latest in Societe’s rotating line of IPAs exploring the world’s hop varietals, this beer exclusively utilizes Cashmere hops, a recently developed, en vogue cross between the Cascade and Northern Brewer cultivars.”
The Damsel Belgian-style Table Beer – “This New World take on the lowest-alcohol variety of monastic, European “abbey ales” is crafted to be highly drinkable and light in body, but big on floral and spice character imparted by our house Belgian yeast strain.”
The Thief Feral Beer with Locally Grown Grenache Blanc – “Grenache Blanc grapes harvested from North San Diego County’s Vesper Vineyards lend a brilliant vinous essence to this effervescent, layered and award-winning specialty ale, which is available in bottles for the first time.”
The first four on the list are draft only while The Thief is also on-sale in corked, caged, 500-millileter bottles (available only at the brewery).
The Brewer’s Association and their associated Craft Beer.com website came to Abbot Kinney Boulevard last Tuesday, and they brought a bevy of brewers with them from all across the country.
Why? Because they want to show that beer should be on the dining table and cooked with at home and at restaurants. Like the Tasting Kitchen in Venice which served up a five course meal that would change even the most light American lager buyers heart. And certainly filled my stomach and changed my way of thinking of pairing beer with food.
The evening started with a hybrid hefe-wit canned by Karbach Brewing in Texas. Weisse Versa took aspects from both styles and created a nice summery beer that was a great way to ease into the evening that was curated by Julia Herz from the Brewer’s Association, Chef Adam Dulye from Monk’s Kettle in San Francisco who is also the culinary consultant for the association and Chef Casey from Tasting Kitchen.
Then the first surprise was unveiled when the first course was accompanied by not one but two beers. Usually it is one beer that is chosen to either “juxtapose” against the dish or “delve” into the flavors with a similar set in the beer. The plan this night was to have each different beer have a hook into a different ingredient or part of the course.
The “a-ha!” example of this was the brown butter ravioli. The Abita Amber from New Orleans tied itself to the caramelization in the pasta and added a level of malty sweetness while the Crystal Bitter from No-Li Brewhouse in Spokane, Washington attached itself to the garlic blossoms in the dish.
It also succeeded to a slightly lesser degree with the Speck and Melon with La Blonde from Ladyface and Colorado Kolsch from Steamworks. And with the Bistecca Fiorentina paired with olive oil and two radically different IPA’s. The Pupil from San Diego’s Societe and a Rye IPA from Harpoon in New England.
This method really showcases the variety of beer more than any expert can do in a book or that I can reiterate over and over in multiple blog posts.. The shortcoming to it is that you get full a lot quicker. Plus it also increases the complexity of choosing the beer for the chef and beer staff. It’s hard enough with so many options available now to pick one that us opinionated beer geeks can agree on.
Food and craft beer was the focus of the evening but the side dish (as it were) was both talking to the brewers and the reps who were there and eavesdropping on them as they struck up conversations with compatriots they had and had not met before. Each brewery was allotted time to talk about the beer that was being presented and about the brewery itself. Though the space upstairs was loud, the opportunity to meet the head brewer at Bridgeport or talk to Mark from Great Lakes about the scene in Cleveland is priceless. And it was great to have Cyrena from Ladyface in the house representing the Los Angeles scene.
I have been reading a history of wine and it is only within the last couple hundred of years that wine became the beverage of choice at restaurants and beer was pushed to ale houses and taverns. And as with much of history it was more by chance and timing and economics than it was due to which would improve a meal.
It seems like every week a brewery is either opening in Portland or San Diego. Well, here is another one to watch for in the coming months; Societe Brewing.
Check out this piece by the esteemed Jay Brooks about this
new entrant into the SD beer community.
Then join their Facebook page to track the developments.