Monday, October 31, 2011

Societe Brewing Co.

I added a link to Societe Brewing Co.'s website.  Societe is a start-up San Diego brewer that is building its brewery in the Kearny Mesa section of San Diego (i.e it's near O'Brien's Pub).  Here is the first post from Societe's blog:
Societe Brewing Company was founded in 2011 by Travis Smith, formerly of Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa, CA) and The Bruery (Placentia,CA), and Doug Constantiner formerly of The Bruery. Societe Brewing Company is a production brewery with a tasting room, slated to open Spring 2012.
The two founders / brewers have impressive resumes, and are the reason why I am following Societe's progress.  It's interesting that The Bruery, which itself is still a young brewery, is already seeing its talent venture out.  You can follow Societe on its blog or on Twitter.  In a Twitter post late last week Societe stated that brewing sour beers is going to be a main focus.   I am all for more sour beers.  Below is Societe's new logo:

I am looking forward to springtime.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Obscura Obsucra

Before I start this post, here is an interview with Telegraph's Brian Thompson on the Beer Samizadt blog.  Since I read this post I've had made it a point to try Obscura Petit (which I had seen on tap at Pizza Port Ocean Beach) and Obscura Arborea (which I had purchased a few months ago).  Petit is a tart, sour beer that weighed in around 4.5% abv.  What a delicious beer.  It's a sour without sweetness. A subtle bitterness appears in the finish and complements the sour.  Petit is my favorite type of sour, moderate alcohol, lively, funky sourness, and limited sweetness.

Obscura Arborea is a different animal from Petit.  Arborea is a 9% Oude Bruin, or Flanders Brown Ale.  It is malty and aged in oak, and I picked up the oak, especially at the front of each taste.  The sour flavors were behind the malt and oak.  Like Petit, Arborea is not sweet, and I found it a dry beer.  Without reading the label, you'd never know this beer was 9% abv.  The beer was thinner than I would have expected, and it's sourness was muted.  I think this beer would have benefited from a bit more sweetness, which, I know, is strange for me to state after just writing how I prefer sours that aren't sweet, but this would have given it a richer profile. 

I've never been bitten by the barrel aged bug, and Arborea is oaky from its time spent in barrels.  Its oak overshadowed the yeast and related sourness.  I liked this beer and would buy it again, I think I was just expecting more from it.  I've had several Oude Bruins, but am no expert.  I need to find a style benchmark so I can properly gauge sour beers.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Manzanita Brewing - Here's to Good Beer Karma

Here is another better late than never post.  Last summer, I went to a private party at Manzanita Brewing for a friend's birthday.  The people at Manzanita were as nice as could be.  The beer flowed and the waitresses made sure that anyone who wanted a beer always had a beer.    After the party I was told that Manzanita had not charged for the space, relying on beer sales, and the waitresses worked only for tips.  What a great way for Manzanita to build goodwill.

I haven't had too many Manzanita beers.  Its IPA is drinkable, but it won't get confused with any of the better IPAs around San Diego.  Its 9% brown ale was sweet, malty and approachable.  I recently had a bottle of its Lazy Saison.  This was a decent beer, not a great saison, but one I'd gladly drink again.  Its double IPA is is supposed to be very good.   Manzanita is doing something right.  I am seeing its bottles at more stores and its expanding to a new location in the near future.  With the goodwill it's building at its tasting room, Manzanita's growth is not a surprise.  Its attitude made me a fan.

Update and Fresh Hop Fall Beers

This month has gotten away from me.  I feel guilty writing about beer when work keeps piling up, but I hope to get back to regular posts in the next week or so.  It's been so long since my last post that the Drunken Polack retired, then unretired from beer blogging.  I didn't even get a chance to drink and review my Drunken Polack tribute beer, a beer I still have from my one beer trade with Dave several years ago, New Holland's Dragon's Milk.  It's chilled now, so I will drink it soon.

Earlier this month I had Pizza Port Ocean Beach's Get Wet fresh hop IPA.  It was outstanding, but I'm not sure if it's still available.   I can't think of a more citrus flavored IPA.  I know it sounds cliche to state that you can taste the hops, but it's kinda true.  The hops impart a noticeable bitter, danky juiciness to Get Wet that is all citrus.  It seemed fresher, and had dramatically more flavor, than Port's bottled fresh hop beer, High Tide, which was bottled in September.  

Fresh hop beers are my new "fall" beer.  It's unfortunate that most fresh hop beers are only available for a few weeks out of the year.  I'm not a fan of traditional fall beers, as most Oktoberfest beers are too malty (and thin) for my taste, and pumpkin beers are, well... pumpkin beers.   A little pumpkin beer goes a long way, and I'm good for about one every few years (and the Stone-Elysian-The Bruery collaboration pumpkin beer is in the fridge).  If you can find a place selling fresh hop beers on tap, I'd recommend enjoying a pint or two.

Monday, October 3, 2011

GABF San Diego Medal Data Mining

The San Diego Beer Blog has a good rundown of all the local beers and breweries that won awards at this year's Great American Beer Festival.  It's good to see Pizza Port Ocean Beach win Small Brewpub of the year.  It's near my house and is as close to my "local" as a place can be considering I usually just buy growlers and pizza to go.  Congratulations.

What struck me about the San Diego award winning beers was the lack of IPAs.  IPAs are San Diego's signature beer, but only one, Alesmith's IPA, received a medal.  Instead of IPAs and similar light colored beers, San Diego brewers were raking in medals with dark beers, with sixteen of the twenty awards going to brown ales, stouts, porters and Belgian Strong Ales.  I counted five brown ales on the medal list.  Brown ales?  Who drinks brown ales?  Who brews brown ales?  (Just kidding, Alesmith makes the quietly delicious Nautical Nut Brown Ale.)  Joking aside, I found the medal list interesting, and it gives me some new beers to find and get me out of my IPA comfort zone.