Friday, April 12, 2013

Societe Brewing And The Disappearing Growler

I have noted before, either here on the blog or on Twitter, that I bought one of Societe Brewing's growlers earlier in the year.  I've filled it several times, but have yet to write a review on what was inside the growler.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe part of the reason is because Societe's beers are only available on draft, and I didn't want to come off like a beer douche raving about beers not widely available, as if I had some kind of "in" or advantage over the rest of beer drinkers.  But while this was an issue a year ago when Societe opened, today its beers, while still draft-only, are widely distributed throughout San Diego County.

As I understand it, Societe started with a narrow, but incredible mandate, it planned to brew IPAs and Belgian beers.   The Belgians were to include a wide variety of styles, including barrel aged beers and sours (which should be available starting in early 2014, I believe).   You can see the stacked barrels in a special room at the brewery.  The times I have been to Societe three or four Belgians have been available.  Societe has expanded past IPAs and has crafted a couple of stouts.  Yes, Societe is the brewery a beer geek (me!) would envision, after a few strong pints, if asked to create the perfect brewery.  It's a crazy, beer nerd's dream come true. 

My problem with Societe is that my growler fills seem to just disappear.  I get them home, pour a glass with dinner and than a glass or two after dinner, and the next thing I know the growler is empty, without the tell-tale signs that should accompany knocking off the better part of a growler.  At first I thought Societe's fancy steel growler was smaller than other growlers, but no, it's a standard half-gallon.  I typically stretch a growler three or four nights, but a Societe growler is one night, then a short, disappointing second - disappointing because the growler's empty.

Last weekend I filled up a growler of The Apprentice IPA, one of Societe's three regular IPAs, and was intent on determining why it emptied so fast.  And once again more than half was gone in the first night.  I finally realized that the beer goes fast because it's just too damn good.  This leads to a top-off problem, because every time I walk past the growler sitting on the counter, I stop to top off my glass.  I never pour a full glass to begin with, so keeping my glass a third to half full over the course of an evening results in accelerated growler shrink.

The Apprentice is an earthy, perfectly balanced IPA.  There is a good dose of citrus juiciness, too, that highlights the beer's freshness.   The Apprentice is not a full-bodied, chewy IPA, even though it's 7.5% abv.  It's lighter character seems to enhance the beer's flavors.   The Apprentice is so smooth and mellow, you just want to keep drinking it to enjoy its sublime flavor.  It doesn't induce hop fatigue, a normal byproduct of IPAs.   Drinking The Apprentice and The Pupil, Societe's Nelson and Citra hopped IPA - and oh yeah, it's as awesome as you think - put me in a happy place. (I have yet to sample The Dandy, Societe's third regular IPA, and have read that it's Societe's best IPA, but I have also read the same about The Apprentice and The Pupil.)

I think I've solved the problem of my disappearing growler, I need to buy a keg.

(The two pictures in this post are of The Pupil and are from earlier in the year.)

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