Monday is here, and it’s time to start another week. Pick of the Weekend is our weekly post where we recap our favorite brews of the weekend past.
Labor Day weekend is Summer’s last fling, and while we are sad to say goodbye to the long days and warm evenings sipping on our favorite Summer brews we are about ready for some Oktoberfest beers, some pumpkin ales, and (even more) potent double IPAs! We celebrated the Holiday weekend with a trip past the Orange Curtain to visit one of the premiere OC breweries.
Orange County’s The Bruery is known for their creative and innovative brews, their ambitious barrel-aging program, and their “Reserve Society” pay-to-play club and the exclusive beers they brew just for members throughout the year. We finally had the chance to visit their new taproom for a more in-depth tasting and even discovered a few new favorites!
Far from a Bruery fanboy, I’ve always found their beer to be very hit-or-miss, and it is their beers that hew closer to traditional styles that I’ve tended to like more. This pattern (mostly) held true for during our tasting, and our favorites were the Hottenroth Berliner Weisse and the Sans Pagaie kriek.
Berliner Weisse, a traditional German sour wheat beer, has been growing in popularity with craft beer drinkers recently, and the light and tart beer is refreshing and perfect for summertime. The Bruery’s Hottenroth is a straight-forward example of the style that adds some brettanomyces (a wild yeast) for an added depth and complexity. One of the best Berliner Weisses that we’ve sampled, the Hottenroth hits a great balance between a bracing tartness and a flavorful wheat character. If you’ve never tried a Berliner Weisse before, this would be a great place to start.
Speaking of tart, our flat-out favorite of the tasting was The Bruery’s take on a traditional Belgian kriek or sour cherry-flavored lambic. Sans Pagaie uses a golden ale as the base beer that is aged and soured in oak barrels with sour cherries, and the results are intense. The beer is a murky pink with a subtle funky aroma and the flavor is extremely tart with a huge hit of cherry flavor and a deep complexity that includes vanilla, coconut, and almond. I finally began to understand the fervor that fans of The Bruery hold for their favorite beers after trying the Sans Pagaie, and I regret not buying more than a single bottle while at the brewery.
One more beer that demands a mention is something that I’ll probably never have the chance to try again: Stone Brewing’s 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. Poured at the Lucky Devils event in Hollywood on Saturday, the well-aged stout was lusciously thick and rich, and intensely chocolatey with hints of licorice and coffee. If you happen to have a bottle of the 12th Anniversary beer still hiding in your closet or cellar I’d say it’s time to open it up and enjoy it!
How was your holiday weekend? Did you try anything spectacular? Let’s hear about it!