Monday, April 30, 2012

Rayon Vert - Better With Brett

On the Food Network, chef Emeril used to throw pork fat into many of his dishes to enhance their flavor.  If I were a brewer, I'd use the yeast strain Brettanomyces to "kick up" my beers, like the TV chef used pork fat.  BAM!  Brett adds unique flavors and complexity to any beer, while not sacrificing drinkability.

Green Flash, in its new year-round Belgian pale ale, Rayon Vert, uses a generous dose of Brett that makes it stand apart from other pale ales.  This highly carbonated beer is not just a pale ale, but a suped-up Belgian pale ale.   The Brett yeast gives Rayon Vert a grown-up, complex taste.  It's sour because of the Brett yeast, and this tartness jumps at your taste buds immediately.  The Brett also makes Rayon Vert a dry beer.  It finishes with a nice hop bitterness, which works well with the Brett yeast. 

I liked this beer for its unique taste.  Rayon Vert may not be for everyone, because it's so tart and yeast-forward.  Pale ales can be boring, safe beers - not too hoppy, not too malty - a beer designed to appeal many casual beer drinkers.  Rayon Vert is anything but boring, and is another, aggressive Green Flash beer. 

I feel foolish that I didn't make the connection sooner that Rayon Vert is French for "Green Flash."  Duh.  It's the obvious things in life that sometimes seem to allude me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Want A Rathskeller

The Voice of San Diego ran a cool, two-part series last week on the tasting room and murals at the long-gone Aztec Brewing Co. brewery, which was located in what's now the Barrio Logan section of San Diego.  Here are the links to Part I and Part II.  The focus of the articles is the murals that were in the brewery's brick tasting room, known as a rathskeller, which is basically a basement tavern.  The vintage pictures of the rathskeller are classic, especially this one with the company softball team, dressed in suits, standing at the bar.

I wonder whether Aztec's beers were any good.  Even drinking a crappy beer would have been fun in a place like Aztec's rathskeller.

Friday, April 13, 2012

New Green Flash Beers

Here is an article on a new Green Flash collaboration beer, Linchpin White IPA, brewed with Founder's Brewing Company.  This beer comes on the heels of another Green Flash collaboration beer, a black saison, crafted with Belgium's St. Feuillien.  Last weekend I tried Green Flash's new, wide release Belgian pale ale, Rayon Vert.  It's another compelling full-flavored beer from Green Flash, and I will discuss it properly soon.  I am looking forward to trying the two, limited release collaborations, and have high expectations for them, as Green Flash has been making outstanding beers.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Amazing Beer

I had an amazing beer last weekend.  It was The Bruery's Humulus Lager, and I had it on draft at The Ritual Tavern in San Diego's North Park neighborhood.  It was served in a small goblet and I shared it with the Beer Rovette after dinner.  I am not going to blaspheme this beer by trying to describe its many flavors.  There was a solid dose of hop bitterness, but beyond the hops, the flavors were unique, and after a few sips I quit trying to decipher its flavor profile and just enjoyed the beer.  Humulus Lager's flavors worked together on grand scale, balance par excellence.   I don't know its abv, but it's probably high due to the small glass size, but it sure wasn't noticeable, which ties in to the beer's near perfect construction.  It's become a rare occurrence when I get gobsmacked by a beer, but Humulus Lager was brilliance in a glass.  If you see it, order it and let its flavors astound you.

(The Ritual labeled the beer Humulus Imperial Lager, but the links above are for Humulus Lager.  I'm not sure if it's the same beer or not.)

Update:  There is only one beer.  It is Humulus Lager and it's an imperial pale lager, IPL.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lemons to Lemonade

The apparent clusterf*&k that was the brewery side of the La Jolla Brew House will pay dividends to San Diego beer drinkers soon in the form of two new breweries, Societe Brewing Co. and Benchmark Brewing Company.  Travis Smith, formerly of Russian River Brewing and The Bruery, had a short stint at La Jolla Brewhouse, and when he left in early 2011 he was replaced by Alesmith's Matt Akin.  Matt only managed to last at La Jolla Brewhouse several months.

After leaving La Jolla Brewhouse, Travis teamed up with another The Burery alum, Doug Constantiner to start Societe Brewing, which is scheduled to open its Kearny Mesa brewery in May 2012.  Its address is 8262 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., and here is a picture, from the article linked here, of Societe's huge tasting room.

I learned about Matt Akin this week in this profile.  After leaving La Jolla Brewhouse, Matt, along with his dad, started Benchmark Brewing.  From the profile, Benchmark will feature "huge-flavored session beers. We will have a few styles that are not currently made by too many local breweries. But this is San Diego, so we will make a few big beers, but they will be special releases. Some special brewing techniques and barrel aging will be highlighted through those special releases as well. We will also differ from most local brewers in our packaging. We will be using 16-ounce cans."

Wow!  Tall Boys.  That's a flashback.  I have fond memories of downing a couple of macro Tall Boys en route to Padres' games back in the late '80s with my friends.  It was a two Tall Boy trip from where we lived near SDSU to the stadium gate, where any unfinished beer was pounded or tossed.  We'd park east of the Stadium and walk in to avoid having to pay for parking, and then sit in the bleachers.  We were never big hecklers, but Kevin McReynolds  - when he was a Met not a Padre - caught our ire because he seemed lazy in the outfield, and we harassed Lenny Dykstra because he took his hat off after nearly every pitch to straighten his hair.  Sorry for the baseball diversion, but it's almost Opening Day. 

I didn't read in the profile when Benchmark plans to open.  It will be located in Mission Valley, east of Qualcomm Stadium and Interstate 15, in an area that doesn't sound like it's too far from San Diego Brewing Company, and a short distance, or a one Tall Boy walk, from where I parked for Padre games. 

It's unfortunate La Jolla Brewhouse didn't work out for Travis or Matt, but the San Diego brewing scene will be better for it based on what their new breweries are planning to create.