Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Green Flash's Travails

I read over the weekend on my Twitter feed that Green Flash Brewing was closing its new (2016) brewing facility in Virginia Beach, effective immediately.  The news was a shock.  The West Coaster and today's San Diego Union Tribune have articles on the closure and other moves Green Flash is making to preserve its brewing business, including a new investment partner.  The Full Pint offers some good advice, which includes rethinking Alpine Beer Co., which Green Flash acquired in 2014, getting in the special release can game, and opening more satellite tasting rooms.

There is a common theme running through all three articles. Green Flash lost its knack for making good beer.  Somehow the brewers of Hop Head Red and Le Freak revamped its beer lineup and reformulated its recipes to a point where it has no signature beer and therefore no brand identity.  I noted this in January after Green Flash's first corporate shakeup.   Green Flash's loss of beer vision coincides with the 2015 departure of Chuck Silva.  Green Flash's IPAs used to have a hop aggressiveness that matched or surpassed breweries that marketed their hoppy IPAs.  Now Green Flash has something called Soul Style IPA. 

I agree with The Full Pint's suggestion to focus on Alpine's amazing line-up of IPAs, and to brew some special release canned beers. People want hazy IPAs, so make and can them.  I like the satellite tasting room idea, too, especially if it has a crowler machine and is close to my neighborhood. 

I have written more than once on this blog that if a brewery makes good beer people will want it.  It is a simple concept, but making good beer once again, more than anything else, needs to consume Green Flash at this point.  It's a brewery, its product is beer, and somehow making good beer got lost in the focus to grow.  I want Green Flash to succeed, and I'd really like a Hop Head Red.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Eppig’s Epic Pilsner

Drinking Eppig Brewing's Pilsner last weekend I had a strange thought:  Would the rise of craft beer in the 1980s and 1990s been different if macro breweries had made a pilsner as good as Eppig's Pilsner?  This, obviously, is an unanswerable question, but if there were pilsners as good as Eppig's Pilsner back in the late 1980s when I was searching for something better than Coors and Coors Light, I might have been slow to adopt hoppy IPAs. 

Eppig’s Pilsner is outstanding, and that is not a typo or hyperbole from this IPA-centered blog.  A macro brewed pilsner is thin and one-dimensional on purpose to appeal to as many people as possible;  it tastes like "beer," but that's it.  Pilsner, while the same style as many macro beers, is a far different beer.  It has heft and depth of flavors.  You can taste Pilsner's yeast, and you can taste its hops.  Pilsner starts with a comforting bready taste that segues into a mild bitter finish.  Its ABV is a manageable 5.1%.  Eppig wraps Pilsner in creamy dry smoothness that has you constantly reaching for your glass to take another sip. You are compelled to drink this beer.

Eppig's Pilsner is an exciting beer that destroys pilsner stereotypes as an anemic beer for simple minded guzzlers.  Pilsners have been ignored and ridiculed for decades by much of the craft world.  Breweries like Eppig have realized that pilsner is a style to celebrate not shun, and are taking the style back in a grand manner.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Oceanside Ale Works' Reboot

I commented on Oceanside Ale Works' bankruptcy and its reorganization plans back in January.  In my post I noted my skepticism regarding Mark Pruciel's plan to re-open a brewery.  My doubts were confirmed yesterday in this West Coaster article.  Oceanside Ale Works is re-opening, but Pruciel does not appear to have any involvement, and his future brewery plans consist of him drinking beers in breweries.  Those are my future brewery plans, too, so things could be much worse.

Beer Release Frenzy

I have avoided the frenetic, special canned beer releases. I have purchased a few Modern Times Beer and Mikkeller Brewing special can releases, but have not yet waited in line to buy beer.  That sort of changed Saturday.  I read on Facebook last week that Pizza Port Ocean Beach was releasing its Bacon & Eggs Imperial Coffee Porter in cans along with a special coffee mug full of the beer at 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning.  I wanted the camp-style mug, not the beer, because the thought of a drinking high alcohol beer, or any beer for that matter, before noon has no appeal to me.  I had been to Pizza Port the night before and was told there were only about 35 mugs, so I knew I had to arrive early to get a mug.

I timed my Saturday morning chores to put me in Ocean Beach before noon, but I arrived earlier than expected and stopped at Pizza Port around 11:30 a.m., lucky for me.  Pizza Port was packed.  Its picnic style tables were nearly full, and there were stacks of Bacon & Eggs six packs on every surface.  I saw one old dedicated drinker hunched over his mug of beer, holding it with two hands, focused only on getting that mug of precious beer to his mouth.  Galileo did not have as much concentration studying gravity.  The bearded boozer was not alone, and if you did not know better you'd think you were in a coffee house with all the people sipping dark beer from their mugs.  I snagged the next to last mug a mere thirty minutes into the beer sale.  It looked like there were still plenty of six-packs of Bacon & Eggs available, but Pizza Port had blown through its mug supply in about the time it takes to order and get a pizza.

While the lines were not out the door - at least by the time I arrived - I still I found the enthusiasm around Bacon & Eggs' release encouraging.  It is not a rare beer, at least I don't think it is, or a one-off release.  I have seen it on tap numerous times at Pizza Port.  The craft beer world continues to evolve, and special can releases are one aspect of this evolution.  Good for Pizza Port creating a buzz for an established beer's can release, especially a beer that is not some hazy IPA.