Thursday, October 25, 2018

Serious Question

I went to Modern Times' Lomaland Fermentorium last night to try its fresh hop hazy Arcosanti IPA.  It was a more than a solid IPA, and it had a soothing, late bitterness not found in most hazy IPAs.  The fresh hops added a fruit juice flavor boost and the ripe fragrance was excellent.  My question is not about beer, but Modern Times' crowler policy.  I counted twenty-nine beers on tap at Modern Times last night, but only three were available for crowler fills.  Why does Modern Times offer crowlers at all? 

I guess Modern Times does not want to fill crowlers of beer it sells in cans or bottles, although I did not compare the cans and bottles for sale to the tap list.  I half see this policy, but I don't agree with it.  If someone wants a crowler rather than a four-pack, sell the crowler.  I am more sympathetic to the idea that Modern Times wants to keep its limited release beers and collaboration beers for in house customers.  But still, speculation aside, having only three of twenty-nine beers eligible for crowler fills is lame.  It is time for Modern Times to can its crowler machine.

Monday, October 22, 2018

How Did I Miss This Brewery?

The West Coaster ran an article on October 17, 2017, profiling Oceanside brewery Horus Aged Ales, a brewery I had not heard of before reading the article.  Horus is headed by Kyle Harrop, and he is the only employee at this brewery, and this superman does this while holding down a full-time job outside the brewing industry.  Harrop is a nomad brewer, renting time on other breweries' systems, then taking the beer back to an Oceanside industrial park where the beer is conditioned and aged in barrels before bottling.  I copied the passage below from the West Coaster article, and it describes Harrop's process for one of his beers and gives you an idea of the intensity and dedication it must take to run a brewery solo:

Goshawk’s Grasp
“I set out to do something innovative each and every time I make a beer, and that does not usually come cheap. I just don’t really sacrifice ingredients because of the cost. Some people appreciate that, others might be resistant to it.” Harrop has become known for using rare, exotic, and costly ingredients and barrels. With Goshawk’s Grasp, he used the most expensive Geisha coffee in the world. “After reading several threads and forums online about how that coffee does not belong in any beer because of how delicate and floral it is, I took that as a challenge.”

He (Harrop) added thousands of dollars’ worth of hazelnuts and boiled off more than half the original wort in the kettle. In the end, he had to charge a price that is comparable to a bottle of barrel-aged beer in order to not lose money. Goshawk’s Grasp went on sale in April and crashed the Brown Paper Tickets website due to the extraordinarily high volume of traffic.
You should read this article, and I have to figure out how to try some Horus ales.

Another quote in the article jumped out at me, this one from Winslow Sawyer of Pure Project: "Regarding his (Harrop's) Stygian beers, I would describe them as exemplary specimens of the pastry stout style.”  In an article about a San Diego brewery I have never heard of I read a passage about "exemplary specimens" of a "style" I did not even know existed.  Are pastry stouts a style?  I do not even know what a pastry stout is, but I am guessing it is not a brewery and doughnut shop collaboration.  Jeez, I need to get out more often. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Wet Season

It's the wet season, the shortest season of the year.  By wet, I mean wet hop.   This season lasts, in earnest, from about mid-September to the end of October.  Pumpkin beers are fine, although they are now rare, marzens are OK, and I like Festbiers, but to me the champion beer style of fall is wet hop IPA.  Two Saturdays ago Pizza Port released a canned wet hop IPA collaboration with Burgeon Beer Company, Nug-O-War.  The clear Pizza Port version of the Citra-hopped Nub-O-War is amazing.  It's is loaded with fresh hop taste and aroma, and it has a finish that lasts at least thirty minutes and cries at you for another taste of beer.  This beer is also on tap at Pizza Port Ocean Beach.  (Apparently, the Burgeon version is a hazy IPA, but I have not seen or tried it.)

Pizza Port Ocean Beach used to call its wet hop IPA Get Wet, but a year or two ago renamed it to Wet Lamborghini.  This magnificent fresh hop IPA is now on tap in Ocean Beach. To me, both names are kind of lame, but whether you call it Get Wet or Wet Lamborghini the beer is delicious, and it annually restores my faith in Mosaic hops.  I never know how long fresh hop IPAs will stay on tap, so visit Pizza Port often until Wet Lamborghini and other wet hop beers run out.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Magnolia Brewing Article

Here is an article that ran last month in the San Francisco Chronicle about the turnaround of Magnolia Brewing.  Magnolia filed for bankruptcy in 2015 and was sold to New Belgium Brewing in 2017.  Former Elysian Brewing founder Dick Cantwell is also a partner in the new Magnolia, but Magnolia founder David McLean is no longer involved with the brewery. Magnolia dates from the mid-1990s and I consider it a craft beer pioneer.  Its seven-barrel brewing system is in the basement below the Haight-Ashbury pub.

The article is primarily about Magnolia's revitalization and second location in the Dogpatch area.  The article provides a good summary of what is happening at Magnolia as a company and how it is revamping its beer line up and brewing process, which includes a 30-barrel system at the Dogpatch facility.  I have enjoyed several meals at Magnolia Pub in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, which is why I have an interest in what Magnolia is doing.  I am glad Magnolia was able to survive and am looking forward to going back to the Haight-Ashbury location and also visiting the Dogpatch location (the picture near the bottom of the article that shows a number of 20 oz pints on Dogpatch's beer list is incentive enough).