Thursday, June 27, 2013

Anticipating Modern Times

I have been looking forward to the opening of Modern Times Beer brewery since I learned it was not far from my home.  Modern Times owner, Jacob McKean, is excellent at promotion and publicity, which is critical for a new brewery, or any business.  Modern Times has already had two plugs in BeerAdvocate magazine (that I've read), and this before Modern Times has even released its first beer.  Skill at public relations is one thing, but a quality beer is another. 

Modern Times' first four beers reach the public this week, and I'll admit, McKean's marketing has worked on me and I am more than curious to try Modern Times' beers.  The beers are in a few select locations, including Fathom Bistro, a craft beer bar/eatery located in an old bait shop on a small fishing pier that juts into San Diego Bay.  I have been wanting an excuse to visit Fathom, and Modern Times' release gives me an opportunity to stop by one of the most unique places to drink a beer in San Diego.

I am approaching Modern Times with an open mind.  Brandon Hernandez, the usually positive San Diego beer journalist, has been cautious with Modern Times, at least that is how I've read his posts on the new brewery.  The passage below is from Hernandez's latest column:
So, last week, I visited McKean and company and got the scoop on all things fermented from this new biz, which will begin funneling its beers to the local market this week. The plan is for Modern Times to produce four year-round beers while leaving room in their brewing schedule for rotating specialty selections. Those brews will be mostly hybridized styles as the foursome is choosing not to let traditional style guidelines rule their recipe-building. Blazing World is a key example. Though McKean calls it an amber IPA, there is no such official style. Modern Times will also produce a wheat beer that drinks like an extra pale ale or IPA called Fortunate Islands, an IPA diversified with the addition of Brettanomyces, and a saison made using 95% Dupont yeast augmented by 5% Westmalle yeast in order to help the beer more efficiently and expeditiously finish out its fermentation.
In addition, Modern Times has a coffee stout, brewed with beans Modern Times roasts itself.  Modern Times' website states that the brewery has four year-round beers, but Hernandez's article lists five available beers:  three IPAs - Amber, Wheat and one with Brettanomyces yeast - a saison and the coffee stout.   The Belgian IPA is not part of the regular line-up.

Modern Times' decision to "not let traditional style guidelines rule their recipe-building" is why I am willing to give it some initial leeway when tasting its beers.  Style stretching doesn't bother me, as long as its not trying to mask flaws, because a good beer is a good beer whatever its style.  It's time to find out whether Modern Times' beers are as good as their packaging.

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