summer 2013 | sOuTHerN CALIFOrNIA Beer NeWs | VOL.1 NO. 1
w/ The Bruery’s
Cambria Griffith Page 8
West Coaster, THE PUBLICATION
Founders ryan lamb mike shess Publisher mike shess firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Editor ryan lamb email@example.com Art Director brittany everett firstname.lastname@example.org Media Consultant tom shess email@example.com Contributors AMY T. GRANITE BERNIE WIRE CAMBRIA GRIFFITH ERIKA BOLDEN GREG NAGEL NICKIE PEÑA RANDY CLEMENS RYAN RESCHAN SAM TIERNEY TOMM CARROLL TYLER GRAHAM
West Coaster, THE website Web Manager mike shess Web Editor ryan lamb
Sam Tierney is a graduate of the Siebel Institute and Doemens World Beer Academy brewing technology diploma program. He currently works as a brewer at Firestone Walker Brewing Company and has most recently passed the Certified Cicerone® exam. He geeks out on all things related to brewing, beer styles, and beer history.
Greg Nagel grew up in the Inland Empire and has been living in Orange County for almost 25 years. He’s the founder of OCBeerBlog.com, a gonzo-journalistic view of craft beer in the greater Los Angeles area. Known to brew his legal homebrew limit every year, he is guided by his only fear: boredom. He is a Sierra Nevada BeerCamp alum and a Cicerone Certified Beer Server. When not imbibing, brewing or writing, he can usually be found swinging his daughter at the park, traveling or learning guitar.
Tomm Carroll is the Los Angeles correspondent, penning the “To Live and Drink in L.A.” column, for the Celebrator Beer News, which, at 25 years old, is the oldest beeriodical in the country. He is a longtime beer writer, having contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Ale Street News, Entertainment Today and Food GPS.com. An experienced beer judge in homebrew and commercial competitions, Tomm is a member of Pacific Gravity, the award-winning Culver City-based homebrew club. He has taught several classes on beer styles and beer appreciation for Learn About Wine at various locations in Los Angeles. In addition, he is one of the organizers of L.A. Beer Week, the fifth installment of which will be held Fall 2013. He serves as a beer consultant for The Overland craft beer bar in West L.A. and the Four Points at Sheraton LAX’s T.H. Brewster’s beer bar. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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“No beer was wasted in the making of this publication.”
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Nickie Peña is a native Escondidian and SDSU alum. Her love for the craft beer industry was sparked at the age of 19, when she took a tour of the brewery in her hometown. Nickie now works at Stone Brewing Co. as an Indoctrination Specialist, where she gives brewery tours, discusses the brewing process and educates people about the craft beer community. She is an active member of the Pink Boots Society and a Cicerone Certified Beer Server. Her favorite task is helping a non-beer drinker find a craft beer they really enjoy.
Erika Bolden is a Santa Barbara native who splits her time between Los Angeles County and the Central Coast. She came into craft beer in Chicago where she spent the oughts earning a B.A. in philosophy and cutting her teeth on Bell’s, Three Floyd’s and Founders. These days she is most at home amongst the wares of Monkish, Telegraph and Firestone Walker. A frequent contributor to the LA Weekly, she hopes to bring much deserved attention to breweries between the Bay Area and San Diego. When not draining the kegs of California she’s in the High Sierras paring down pack weight and detoxing from technology. Find and follow her writing on beer and backcountry at erikabolden.com.
LETTEr frOM THE EDITOr Dear Reader, Welcome to the inaugural issue of West Coaster Southern California, a new quarterly magazine covering beer culture from the border to Paso Robles. We’d first like to thank our advertisers; without you, we wouldn’t be able to do this. Next, kudos to all the contributors who are helping us reach this vast territory. If you’re a beer writer and want to get involved, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our next issue will be out just in time for Los Angeles Beer Week, which begins September 19. In the meantime, please visit our website – westcoastersocal. com – as well as our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for breaking news and further commentary.
TABLE Of CONTENTs 4 6-7
Figueroa Mountain Growing company opens brewpub in Santa Barbara
Cambria Griffith Interview LABW’s Director of Marketing has lots in the works
Torrents of Torrance Beer Smog City and Dudes’ Brewing join the ranks
Condensed History of IPA Firestone Walker’s Sam Tierney breaks it down
12-13 Ryan Lamb Executive Editor West Coaster P.S. Like San Diego beer? We’ve been publishing a monthly magazine covering just that for nearly three years. Visit us at westcoastersd.com to read more.
Help A Beertender Out Tips for bringing in a clean growler
Beer and Loathing in Paso Robles Despite high temps, festival goes off without a hitch ON THe COVer: Cambria Griffith with The Bruery’s Black Tuesday. Photo by Mike Shess
Help a Beertender Out Clean your growlers properly by Nickie Peña
Don’t let this happen to you!
rowlers are reusable containers that allow beer drinkers to repeatedly bring home fresh beer from a brewery’s tasting room. But sometimes, the not-so-unthinkable happens, and someone forgets an important part of taking home the best beer possible: cleaning the glassware after use. It’s easy to classify bringing in a dusty growler as a rookie mistake, but presenting a beertender with a container that is foul-smelling, moldy or with miscellaneous objects inside fits into a more shameful category. Dave Dixon, Tap House manager at Mother Earth in Vista, remembers the nastiest growler ever brought in for its awful, vinegar-like aroma. The customer was very polite, he says, and admitted to leaving it in his car for a long time since its last fill-up. He also hadn’t rinsed any remnants of the Kismet IPA the growler once held. When Dixon looked inside, he noticed the bottom had accumulated a mysterious black gunk. He explained that he would not be able to fill the growler, since any beer that went inside this container would immediately develop off-flavors. The beer drinker ended up purchasing a new growler, and Dixon attempted to restore the original one to its former cleanliness. Yet, despite chipping away at the black bottom with a knife and soaking it in sanitizer for three days, the potent vinegar smell still existed, and the container was tossed. As much as beertenders would like to think that funky mold and odor might be the worst they’ll have to experience, there are rare occasions when containers are returned holding objects unrelated to beer. Steven Lesinski from Societe Brewing Company recalls a moment while working at a previous tasting room where someone brought in a growler that was used as an ashtray. The beer drinker had asked if the growler could get a rinse before being filled, and Lesinski was happy to do so, while explaining proper cleaning techniques for next time. But as the glass was getting a quick spray, Lesinski noticed some stuff falling into the bar’s water tray — the butts of marijuana cigarettes — so, for obvious reasons, the customer was asked to take his growler home and clean it himself.
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Don’t bring in a funky growler for a fill. Follow these tips to ensure you’re bringing home the freshest beer possible: • As soon as your growler is empty, rinse a few times with warm or hot water until you stop seeing bubbles come out. Make sure it doesn’t smell like the last beer it was holding. • Cleaning agents (i.e. dish soap, sanitizer) aren’t necessary for a growler cleaning. Even a small amount is tough to thoroughly rinse out; any traces will impact the beer’s flavor and aroma. • If you’ve got some build-up, Lesinki advises using some salt during the warm-water rinse. The natural abrasive action will work against whatever is developing, and it won’t affect flavor from future fills. • Once you’re confident it’s clean, keep the cap off and let the container air dry. By capping it, there is a good chance the growler will develop a mildew smell. Worried about stuff falling inside? Leave the screw-top or swing-top cap on loosely. If you have the space, set the growler upside-down on a rack while it dries. If you don’t have a rack, the trick of a few beer drinkers is to balance their growlers upside-down in empty, clean shaker pint glasses against walls on the kitchen counter. • Finally, if you go awhile in between growler fills, remember to give it a quick rinse before taking it in, as some dust may have accumulated.
FIGUEROA MOUNTAIN OPENS IN THE FUNK ZONE By Erika Bolden
igueroa Mountain Brewing Co. opened their second location, a brewpub, in Santa Barbara in early June. Located in the artistic and hip Funk Zone, the new spot is poised to succeed at attracting a crowd. Sandal-hoofed beachgoers and college students will love the chill atmosphere that outdoor drinking and unpretentious pints provide. Those on the urban wine trail will appreciate a break and exchange their pinots and sauv blancs for pales and stouts amidst charming rustic decor. But best of all, beer drinkers will have a new opportunity to sit down, saddle up, and drink in the most extensive list of experimental beers in the county; with 30 taps devoted to the brewery’s own beers, there’s plenty of room for small-batch creations alongside the award-winning core selections.
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The brewery itself is a favorite of Santa Barbara natives, but the production facility and tasting room in Buellton is a considerable drive for anyone looking for a pint out. Wanting to directly serve local consumers as well as operate a pilot system, father and son team James and Jaime Dietenhofer settled on Santa Barbara’s industrial-turnedartsy Funk Zone, sandwiched between lower-State Street and Stearns Wharf. The area, which was formerly zoned for marineindustrial, is now home to a number of wine tasting rooms, eclectic retailers and art galleries, but until now there were few opportunities for beer drinking. The historic ranch aesthetic that characterizes the Buellton brewery continues inside the Anacapa Street facility, with wagon wheels, cattle horns, and a rooster strut-
ting atop the bar. Corrugated metal roofing creates a porch facade and covers the bar, while industrial elements like exposedfilament bulbs and raw wood tables appeal to drinkers accustomed to high-end design. Yet the collective feel of the new brewpub is casual, with a shipping dock door that opens to a big beer garden fit for imbibing al fresco and hosting local live music. Back inside, think of the seven-barrel brewhouse, four 15-barrel fermentors and two 15-barrel brite tanks as a creative playground for Head Brewer A.J. Stoll. Serious beer drinkers can look forward to flights of Stoll’s best, but don’t expect to see any of these unique conceptions bottled in the immediate future. Instead, Figueroa Mountain will supply local accounts with kegs of their best experiments.
A barrel-aging program is also underway, further raising their craft credentials, and if it continues to produce beer like the Second Anniversary — a Belgian strong ale aged six months in French Oak Grenache barrels and blended with 5% Grenache grapes from Buellton neighbor Margerum Wine Company — keep your expectations high. In addition to their current innovations, loyalists are rewarded with established GABF award winners Stagecoach Stout and Wrangler Wheat, while craft neophytes recognize the ubiquitous and unintimidating flagship beers Hoppy Poppy and Danish Red. A slurry of hoppy beers are available for the bitter-hearted like Hurricane Deck Double IPA and Figueroa Mountain Pale Ale, but it’s the brews we don’t know that we most anticipate. To pair, expect a beer-infused menu to pop up around the end of July, supplied by neighboring restaurant, The Lark. Until then, and even after that menu becomes available, Figueroa Mountain will invite food trucks and offer a gourmet hot dog cart in their outdoor beer garden. The Buellton location will likewise be extending their menu to incorporate food, slated for mid-to-late summer.
Above: The beer garden provides plenty of room for drinking outdoors Below: Ladies enjoy Grand Opening sampler flights. Photos courtesy of Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.
WestCoasterSoCal.com | 7
Cambria Griffith (left) with The Bruery’s Director of Retail Operations Matt Olesh and Beachwood BBQ’s Catelyn Willig. Photo by Mike Shess
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Cambria Griffith is the Director of Marketing for Los Angeles Beer Week as well as the Social Media and Marketing Manager for The Bruery in Orange County. WC: What’s your role with Los Angeles Beer Week (LABW)? Griffith: The title that makes sense to me would be “Idea Machine / Taker Carer of Ways to Make LABW Even More Awesome and Known About”. At this point, if I had to cram what I do into a “real” title that makes sense, I guess it would be Director of Marketing. I got involved in LABW three years ago originally just to cover what was happening on my blog (which is sadly now defunct, thanks to a bummer of a story). They didn’t have social media established, so I got that going and offered help wherever I could. The committee was so grateful, they welcomed me back the following year. I was more than happy to join them, and I’ve stayed involved through all the madness and super late nights, because L.A. beer and the people involved in it are hugely important to me. We’re at an amazing bridge right now where beer drinkers are coming to us to get involved, instead of us hunting down help and explaining to everyone what this craft beer stuff is all about. Last year I helped develop a lot of small promotions to get people hyped about attending more events during the 14 days of fabulousness. This year my focus is revamping the website. It’s already changed up with a splash page while web designers Binary M and I bust out the new one, which is super simple and clean, with a calendar that hopefully makes a lot more sense for everyone. It will be a huge relief to see some of the major changes we’ve all wanted finally happen. What can we expect from LABW this year? This is the year when LABW grows up. The masses tend to forget that LABW is a week of events, and not just one beer festival of bros at Union Station. This year we are seriously scaling back the size of that festival and upping the educational enrichment factor.
My ultimate beer wet dream is to see LABW go white-tablecloth and kick off with a high-end fest similar to food and wine events, or San Diego Beer Week’s awesome closing gala. This is something I was emphatic about last year, and the tribal council is ready for this vision to come to fruition. It takes time to get these changes going though, especially since we are all volunteers putting this together. Not only that, we all work full-time jobs in the industry, and many of us are in drastically different, much more demanding positions than three years ago. Overall, we’re refining LABW, while keeping the edge that it’s always had with educational events brought to you by our beer godfathers. And while we want to keep things classy and help everyone learn as much as possible, we still count on this all being way too much fun. There will be a lot of Angelenos calling in “sick” to work between September 19 and September 29. What are your favorite L.A. breweries? This is an impossible question. Eagle Rock Brewery will always be a place I can call home, especially if I keep breakdancing in their parking lot. Smog City, El Segundo, Monkish, Kinetic, Craftsman, Strand, Beachwood, Ladyface, Hangar 24 all have beers I dig and people I love. Southern California breweries? This is even more impossible than the above. I guess I should be glad you’re not asking about all of California! I can’t pick a favorite child but The Bruery really is one of my all-time favorites, as is The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing, all the Pizza Port brewpubs, Ballast Point, Societe... I know I’m forgetting some and I will be so ashamed! How about breweries from anywhere that are up-and-coming? Rhinegeist. Bryant Goulding, who I first met at a Dionicess dinner with Dogfish Head, up and left to open his own place in the historic Over the Rhine district in Cincinnati, Ohio. We’ve kept in touch, and just yesterday on one of our phone calls where we scream and laugh, he told me they’re having their big opening June 29! I wish I could be more like him in many ways, because he is a remarkable example of following your heart, no matter what it takes. The work he’s put into this dream blows my mind — everything from their location to branding to the beer itself is top notch. I can’t wait to get out to his place to drink his IPA in their ridiculously beautiful building while we laugh about life in bow ties. Maui Brewing Co. is another one of my longtime favorite breweries for lots of reasons, including their environmentallyfriendly practices. I finally had the chance to visit in December, and Garrett Marrero showed us around and shared with us what’s coming up for them in terms of expansion. I’ll definitely be going back next year.
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Closer to home, I couldn’t be more excited for Grantland coming up in Vista. I love the heck out of Grant Tondro, and thanks to my BFF Randy Clemens who made me eat until I hated myself at Urge a couple years ago, I was lucky enough to meet Grant, who was literally squatting at our table. Urge is a magical place, while their sister spot Brothers Provisions makes me angry since it’s so far away! Grant is building beer culture the right way, and I look forward to his bowling alley/beer “fantastyland,” especially with people like Mike Rodriguez and Jeff Bagby guiding his team. Though it’s not up-and-coming by any means, I also have to say that I am delighted to see Mark Jilg of Craftsman embracing this beer wave as of late. I had the pleasure of having a conversation with him during a 2011 LABW meeting about his concerns with the industry, and it’s great to see the man talk more openly now, since he’d previously more or less held his silence and kept his brewing the priority over PR and image. What is your role at The Bruery? According to my fancy new business card I’m the Social Media and Marketing Manager. That means I keep up on every single thing happening in our brewery, whether it’s the brewing schedule, distribution, beer releases for our societies, weird barrels
showing up, what Patrick’s thinking about, events, pilot batches, tasting room casks, new merchandise, what color shorts Ben is wearing... you name it. The Bruery has so much cool stuff going on and it’s my job to stay on top of it daily and tell those stories online. I dream up and post all our social media updates and blog posts, plus take the fancy photos and come up with occasional graphics. I also work on marketing efforts offline, like event planning, coming up with promotional ideas and marketing materials, and keeping in touch with bloggers and press whenever possible. I’m definitely still getting up to speed, since we have tons of moving parts and I started mid-April. Luckily, Patrick’s built a very talented team that’s super smart, organized, and receptive to my needs. But above all that we are also very good-looking. Where else have you worked? I worked with the owners of Golden Road Brewing, Mohawk Bend and Tony’s Darts Away to create and run a social media plan, and I also helped with their seasonal projects like ColLAboration and Vegan Beer Fest. I did a lot beyond social media and blogging, like putting together the B3 Fundraiser bike ride and coming up with events like the homebrew competition and blogger nights. Watching Golden Road in the formative stages was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m honored to have met and worked with some of the best and brightest in the industry. I loved getting to know everybody and I made some of my best friends in the process. It was tougher than I thought it would be to leave that part of L.A., but I’m counting on making more good stuff happen moving forward. What was your take on the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest? I have been to plenty of beer events, and this is one of the best out there. I’ve worked the fest both years, and I can say they take really good care of breweries. Jamie and his team do an unreal job getting that whole thing together. It’s a treat to see breweries that almost never come to California all in one place, pouring their most coveted brews with some of their most “famous” staff on hand. This was my first event as a representative of The Bruery, and since we make all kinds of unusual beers – like our Vitis series that incorporates wine ingredients – Tyler stopped at several vineyards on the way in and out of Paso for touring and tasting. We got to do some fun stuff, like ride ATVs with dogs and drink white wine from a concrete tank. It was good to see that we have friends in places outside of beer, so we can keep pushing the brewing boundaries and call on them for support or collaboration. All in all, the best part of a fest like this one is seeing old pals and making news ones. Clay from Sun King handed me some of their new beers just before I saw one of my most favorite musicians, The White Buffalo, alongside buds from Pizza Port, Port and The Lost Abbey. I’m fairly certain there’s not another industry out there that could recreate this kind of camaraderie and fun on such a regular basis. I’m pretty lucky, but I know I’ve earned it. Read more questions and answers with Cambria at westcoastersocal.com
Jonathan Porter (with scissors) and wife Laurie, with Torrance officials and city workers. Photo by Bernie Wire, friendsoflocalbeer.com
Torrents of Beer Now Flowing from Torrance Smog City and Dudesâ€™ Join the Fray by Tomm Carroll 12 | Summer 2013
apidly gaining renown as the most small breweryfriendly city in Los Angeles County, Torrance recently welcomed two new craft production breweries to the fold: Dudes’ Brewing, which debuted in March, and Smog City Brewing, which just opened its doors in May. They join the year-old Monkish Brewing and the nearly four-year-old Strand Brewing, the pioneer of South Bay breweries in the current craft beer revolution in the L.A. area. Each of them is located in one of the city’s many industrial parks. Smog City, of course, has existed as a brand for a few years now, as co-owner and brewer Jonathan Porter produced the beers at Tustin Brewing in Orange County, where he served as brewmaster until late last year, and marketed and distributed them himself with his wife and co-owner Laurie. For the last six months or so, the Porters have been working feverishly to get the brick-andmortar Smog City up and running. “We got a proper 15 barrel brewhouse; we bought it and the hot liquor tank from Marble Brewing in Albuquerque in November 2011,” Porter said one afternoon in early May during a break in brewing at the 5,500-square-foot facility. “We’ve done a lot of modifications and Frankenstein’d it.” The brewery also has five fermentors — a 15-barrel, a 60-barrel and three 30-barrels — as well as a pair of 30-barrel horizontal lagering tanks. “I got those lagering tanks from BJ’s,” Porter continued, adding that he will be lagering his Little Bo Pils in one and using the other as a conditioning tank for his L.A. Saison. “You can dry-hop in those too, like they do at Orval in Belgium.” The plan for Smog City is to have at least four beers available to the retailers yearround: L.A. Saison, XPA, the 2012 GABF gold medal-winning Groundworks Coffee Porter, and a rotating IPA, the first of which is Amarilla Gorilla, to be followed by Hoptonic. Since the Smog City brand pre-dates the new facility, people already know its stable of beers, so the brewery has a built-in clientele of accounts — and fans. That pre-existing awareness also resulted in Smog City being picked up by the dis-
tribution arm of Stone Brewing Company, so the Porters will now be free of that task. Stone delivered the first batch of new Smog City beers (all but the saison, which wasn’t ready yet) to area accounts June 5. “Beer goes first to our existing accounts in LA and the OC,” Porter said. “There were 67 accounts and a waiting list of 110 when we stopped self-distributing.” Porter will also now have the time — and capacity — to brew more styles of beers. “I never really had the room to do specialty or seasonal beers, or experimental stuff at Tustin,” he explained. “We’d do five or ten gallons of things on the side that we only
The plan for Smog City is to have at least four beers available to the retailers year-round: L.A. Saison, XPA, the 2012 GABF gold medal-winning Groundworks Coffee Porter, and a rotating IPA, the first of which is Amarilla Gorilla, to be followed by Hoptonic. ever poured at the brewpub — like Circus Quercus [an American Wild Ale] that we did bring to the L.A. Beer Week festival a couple years ago because it was so awesome. I want to make that beer again, dryhop it with Citra, and get it out there. I’m hoping that here we can spread our wings a little bit, creatively. I have an arsenal of styles that I made that I want to revisit, that I think I can make better.” Among the upcoming beers will be the return of the popular Third Nipple Tripel and a Belgian-style Blonde. “The intention with the Belgian Blonde is to infuse it with various fruits,” added Laurie. “Our goal is to say, ‘This is our Belgian Blonde, this is it
on apricot, this is it on raspberry,’ etc. And let people literally taste them side-by-side.” The coffee porter will be treated similarly. The base beer for it is a robust porter called Blimp Hangar that Porter brewed at Tustin and which won GABF bronze in 2010. “That beer changed,” he said. “It’s a little more full-bodied now and has a little more crystal malt to balance out the coffee character. We want to have it on tap — this is what the beer tastes like without the coffee. It’s amazing how much coffee character there is in a beer like that before you even add it.” “What we want to do in our taproom is to give people the opportunity to taste beers next to each other like that, as well as to try our pilot and experimental beers,” explained Laurie. “The point is to keep a connection to our fans, to keep people coming back because of those special beers. Announcements will go out on Facebook and Twitter saying, ‘Hey, we got this crazy new beer on that’s only being poured in our taproom!’ We want people coming back to drink the beers that we are playing with.” Currently, the nascent Smog City taproom has only eight taps, but 12 more will be added soon. “We’re trying to create an ambience with the taproom, a sense of place separate from the brewery, so it doesn’t look like it’s just in a big warehouse,” Laurie added. The brewery’s grand opening was held May 18, although there were soft openings the first weekends of the month. Officials and workers from the City of Torrance officiated at a ribboncutting ceremony on June 7, welcoming Smog City to the business community. Half-gallon, screw-top logo growlers were ready for the grand opening, and Porter reports that 55 growlers were sold the first day. “One of the very first guys to buy a growler was back later the same day for our first re-fill,” he revealed. The Porters have chosen to take a “wait-and-see” stance on filling generic and other brewery’s growlers, preferring to observe how fellow local brewers handle the situation before making a decision. Smog City’s taproom hours are currently Thursday and Friday 4-9 p.m. and Saturday 4-8 p.m., with plans to expand to Sunday hours soon.
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The Dudes’ Abide After years of anticipation by Southern California craft beer fans, The Dudes’ Brewing Company finally announced itself in mid-March with a series of launch parties at various South Bay beer bars, including Select Beer Store, Hot’s Kitchen and Naja’s Place. It was there that the brewery unveiled its first four releases on draught: the flagship Grandma’s Pecan (an English-style brown ale infused with toasted Georgia pecans), Blood Orange (an amber ale made with the namesake fruit and vanilla beans, part of a seasonal “Juicebox Series”), Grinning Face Porter (a toasted coconut porter) and Double Trunk (an imperial IPA). The Dudes are three partners: “head brew dude” Jeff Parker (the original brewmaster for Strand Brewing), majority owner Toby Humes and investor Mike Holwick. Parker hand-designed the brewery system, which is automated and computer-controlled, and he and Humes spent the last couple years developing plans for the brewery, including traveling to China to look at and buy the brewing equipment; Humes and Holwick’s construction company performed most of the work. Entering their 7,200-square-foot facility in late April, one was faced with five 60-barrel fermentors, each emblazoned with a letter: D U D E S’. They have 11 more fermentors of equal size, with another 14 on the way, explained Parker, adding that four of them would be used as brite tanks. The 30-barrel brewhouse consists of four vessels: mash tun, lauter tun, brew kettle and whirlpool. Two additional tanks will be added and used as jacketed wort receivers, according to Parker. “We brewed a ton of beer — 420 barrels in the first month — and then hit the brakes,” said Parker, who does the brewing himself, with an assistant brewer and a production assistant. “We took a step back, looked at the whole process, and thought, okay, we got beer, which we released. Then we reworked a lot of stuff. We’re going to be tweaking the recipes. It was kinda like a soft opening. And we are still in the process of retrofitting.” Brewing is scheduled to resume in midJune, Monday through Thursday, “with the occasional Saturday, when we’ll brew the Double Trunk,” the brewer reported, adding that, because of the high gravity, they double-batch for a fermentor. “We can fill two fermentors a day, so we can brew four beers a day — a long day,”
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Parker continued. “When the wort receivers come in, we’ll be able to do six batches a day, and actually have most of the brewhouse cleaned when the last of the boiling is done. So we’ll be able to fill 180 barrels a day, plus be able to filter, carbonate and package.” “We should be able to produce about 12,000 barrels of beer the first year,” added Humes, who said he wanted to start big instead of later having to expand to meet demand, a common problem with brewery start-ups. If that comes to pass, Dudes’ will eclipse the current local record-holder, Golden Road Brewing of North Atwater Village, which produced 8,000 barrels in its initial year.
Dudes’ is installing a 30-foot-long canning line in July, and hopes to have its 16 oz. cans available to the public before the end of summer. Expansion plans include moving into the Orange County, San Diego and San Francisco markets. “When our full cellarage is in place, and we’re running at full capacity, we should be able to produce 50-60,000 barrels a year,” predicted Parker, which would make Dudes’ the South Bay’s first large production brewery since Angel City Brewing departed Torrance several years back. After a couple months of self-distributing, with “Sales Dude” Jay Outsen, former bar manager at Naja’s, heading the effort to get the kegs out there, the brewery has contracted with two area distributors — Beauchamps and Harbor — to handle the task. In addition, Dudes’ is installing a 30-foot-long canning line in July, and hopes to have its 16 oz. cans available to the public before the end of summer. Expansion plans include moving into the Orange County, San
Diego and San Francisco markets. As for future beers, Dudes’ will brewing its next Juicebox release, Raspberry Wheat, as well as a yet-to-be-named hefeweizen and “a local nod to our wonderful ‘June Gloom’ weather, a Kölsch-style called Kölschtal Eddy,” Parker said, adding, “And our one-year anniversary beer will be an imperial version of Grandma’s, called Great Grandma’s. It will have some graham cracker-type ingredients, brown sugar, molasses and praline pecans. We’ll be releasing some praline pecan-conditioned cask versions too.” In addition, a pale ale and an IPA are scheduled for 2014. At present, Dudes’ is on the city calendar for a conditional use hearing to operate a tasting room at the brewery. “Fingers crossed, we will get approval in about twoto-three months,” Parker posited in early June. But the pie-in-the-sky is an off-site beach-adjacent taproom with a pilot system and barrel program. “The idea is to do a barrel room, dead center, all glass window walls, and build a bar around it; that would be the center focal point,” he continued. “And that’s where we would have our pilot system, where we can do all our barrel-aged and sour beers, as well as a craft soda bar for the kids.” In the shorter term, the brewery will be making growlers available for sales and fills, ideally by the time the on-site tasting room opens, but Parker said it is still undecided whether Dudes’ will go with a brewery logo or a generic container. “We’re considering doing the stainless-steel growlers, like Mammoth Brewing does, with the neoprene jackets,” he said. With the close proximity of Dudes’ and especially Smog City to fellow brewery Monkish, the Western and Del Amo Avenues area of Torrance has been rightfully dubbed “The Beermuda Triangle.” Come by for a visit and see how easy it is to get lost in great, local craft beer. Smog City Brewing 1901 Del Amo Ave., Ste. B Torrance, CA 90501 310-320-7664 smogcitybrewing.com The Dudes’ Brewing 1840 W. 208th St. Torrance, CA 90501 310-408-5754 thedudesbrew.com
(L-r): Dudes’ Brewing’s Jeff Parker, Toby Humes and Mike Holwick. Photo by Tomm Carroll
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A Centennial hop cone at Stone Brewing Co. Photo by Tyler Graham
I of ipa a condensed
history By Sam Tierney
16 | Summer 2013
t can be hard to tell from looking at the tap list of your local beer bar these days, but there was a time when India Pale Ale (IPA) was not the most prominent style in American brewing. Even in the nearly three years since West Coaster originally launched in San Diego, IPA has gone from contender to undisputed champion in the beer world based on volume produced. Tonyâ€™s Darts Away, one of L.A. Countyâ€™s top beer bars, has even gone so far as to reserve the whole first page of its two-page beer menu exclusively for IPA. It was inevitable that an idea as unique and alluring as the original West Coast IPA, with its unabashed showcase of New World hops, would also spin-off into several new substyles like Double IPA, Black IPA, White IPA, Belgian IPA, Session IPA, and even India Pale Lager. More and more, there is always something new to say about this dynamic and constantly-evolving beer category.
The beer that would become IPA got its start at the Bow Brewery on the river Thames in 18th century London, though it wouldn’t actually be called IPA until several decades later. The Bow Brewery’s owner, George Hodgson, gained control of the British trade of beer to India through fortuitous location and a generous line of credit with the East India Company, which had a monopoly on trade to the colonies at that time. Hodgson sent several beers to India, including the dominant English beer style of the day: porter. But in a stroke of serendipity, his pale ale called “October Beer” became a hit after it was discovered that it aged perfectly in the cask during the lengthy sea voyage, arriving with a delicious balance of flavor and refreshing, sparkling carbonation. As was the common practice for export beers at that time, October Beer was hopped at a much higher rate than beers meant for immediate domestic consumption, in order to prevent spoilage. The British expats in India loved it and Hodgson made a fortune. After some less-than-upstanding business practices by Hodgson’s successors in the early 1820s, however, the East India Company approached Samuel Allsopp of Burton Upon Trent to produce a suitable replacement for Hodgson’s product. Until that time, the brewers in Burton had been known for their Burton ales, which were strong, dark, and sweet. They supplied a thriving export market in the Baltic region until the Russians imposed a high tariff that effectively shut them out. The Indian market seemed like a good way to regain those lost sales, and Allsopp got to work on producing a highly hopped pale ale to send to India. When Allsopp created his new beer for the Indian market, something unexpected happened: the water in Burton, which is very hard due to high levels of calcium sulphate, otherwise known as gypsum, allowed him to brew a more pale, clear beer with an even better hop flavor than what Hodgson had been brewing in London. Burton IPA, soon also brewed by other local brewers like Bass, became preferred by drinkers in India. It took several decades for brewers in other cities to realize that it was the higher gypsum content of the Burton water that allowed for such pale, deliciously hoppy beers. They then started “Burtonizing” their brewing water by adding gypsum, so that they could attempt to replicate these popular beers. By this time, IPA was being brewed all over Britain, even up in Edinburgh. Many of these new beers were meant for local consumption, and in some cases they were just a renamed pale ale, meant to cash in on the popularity of the Burton IPA. And while it’s often repeated that IPA was brewed stronger to survive the voyage to India, this actually wasn’t the case. In a brewer’s range of beers in the 1800s, IPA was likely one of the weaker-to-medium strength styles. 6-6.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) was common, but 18th century British beers were often considerably stronger than this, in contrast to the typical British beers of today. In reality, IPA kept well for two reasons: it had a ton of hops in it, which have anti-microbial properties, and it was fermented to a
When Allsopp created his new beer for the Indian market, something unexpected happened: the water in Burton, which is very hard due to high levels of calcium sulphate, otherwise known as gypsum, allowed him to brew a more pale, clear beer with an even better hop flavor than what Hodgson had been brewing in London. Burton IPA, soon also brewed by other local brewers like Bass, became preferred by drinkers in India. higher degree of attenuation than most other beers, leaving a dry finished product with few residual sugars for spoilage organisms to consume. Interestingly, these export versions, as with most English stock ales of the time, would likely have had a noticeable Brettanomyces character from extensive aging in oak barrels, making for a beer that would likely be unrecognizable as an IPA to anyone these days. The first World War and the subsequent shortage of raw ingredients took its toll on the strength of British beers. Beers taxed for the domestic market got weaker, and IPA was no exception. While in the late 1800s you might have seen an original gravity of 1.055-60 and an ABV of about 6.5%, things quickly bottomed out, with beers like Greene King IPA reaching a meager 1.036 original gravity and 3.5% ABV. While beers like this may have remained hoppier than your standard pale ale, they were often only distinguishable in name. Over the 20th century, IPA in England averaged about 1.040 original gravity and the low-4% range for ABV. Today, many beers marked as British IPA are simply bitters with a fancy name, though newer, American-influenced ales are hitting the market at higher strengths and hop levels. IPA wasn’t as influential in historical American brewing, but it did exist. Perhaps the most prominent historical American IPA was Ballantine IPA, brewed by the Ballantine Brewery of Newark, New Jersey. This beer was considerably hoppy and even aged for a year in oak tanks before bottling. Sadly, its quality started to decline after Ballantine was sold in the early 70s, and was eventually discontinued in the 90s by owners Pabst. Starting in the mid-70s, beers like Anchor Liberty Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale got American beer drinkers turned on to the fruity, piney, and floral flavors of American hop varieties, Cascade namely, which was first sold commercially to brewers in 1972. Americanized versions of English pale ales started
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to thrive, and from there it’s been a steady progression toward beers packed with more and more hops. Modern American IPA has been more or less modeled on the strength and hopping levels of the 19th century English IPA, though some beers, like Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (first brewed in 1981) and Lagunitas IPA (first brewed in 1995), are darker, sweeter and maltier than the old English versions, which were typically brewed with 100% extra-pale malt. American IPA today tends to be goldto-amber in color, with a medium-to-high hop bitterness and high-to-overwhelming hop aroma. Malt flavors vary, but are usually used as a sparse, yet firm base for the hop character. Toasted bread, light caramel, and biscuit are typical of IPA malt flavor, and these beers usually finish about 6-7.5% ABV. Double and Imperial takes on the IPA start at the top of the normal strength and hop range, and can jump to more than 10% ABV and contain what can be simply be
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called “criminal” amounts of hops. The West Coast in particular is known for beers that pack more hops and alcohol than other regions, though this more extreme take on the style is increasingly found elsewhere. All types of IPA are typically consumed as fresh as possible in order to preserve the fragile, volatile hop oils that create the wonderful flavors and aromas that are associated with New World hop varieties. Newer varieties such as Citra, Amarillo, Simcoe, Mosaic, New Zealand-grown Nelson Sauvin, and Australian Galaxy have grown very popular with brewers, along with the classic American “C hops”: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, and Columbus/CTZ. Brewers today generally brew IPA by starting with a simple malt recipe that is mostly pale malt with a small amount of specialty malts such as pale caramel, carapils, wheat, rye, honey, and Munich malts. Double and Imperial IPA versions will often have a small addition of simple sugar such as dextrose, which is highly fermentable and allows the beer to finish drier and
leaner, accentuating hop character in these beers which could otherwise be too heavy and sweet. Modern hopping techniques favor adding most of the hops near or at the end of the boil, which adds more hop aroma, as opposed to simply bitterness that comes from earlier additions to the wort boil. Brewers then add more hops to the beer post-fermentation, which is called dry hopping, often in multiple additions. This process allows the beer to acquire even more hop aroma over several days. If IPA is served from a cask, the cask will often be packed with even more dry hops, which remain in the beer until consumption, adding another layer of aroma. All of these possibilities for hop additions, as well as for blending different varieties, makes IPA a lot of fun for brewers to make.
Boxes of hops wait patiently at Modern Times Beer in San Diego. Photo by Ryan Lamb
BEER AND LOATHING
in Paso Robles By Greg Nagel
e were somewhere around the edge of wine country in Paso Robles when the craft beer began to take hold (1). Baked and dripping with sweat, I dump the remnants of my tasting plate on the ground and use it as a makeshift fan. The air is thick, hot and pointless, laying on us like a nightmare in a sleeping bag. Black bugs have somehow managed to attach themselves to odd parts of my body and pinch every so often. “Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn bugs?” (2). One clings to my armpit
as I smack it and smack it again, making it bite harder. “Hey! Ouch!” I yelp as spectators laugh wildly. I duck in the bathroom and dunk my head under the sink, then sling on my hat to grab a beer, the only cold thing in this arid place called Paso Robles. Flash back a few hours as this Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival starts and I’m like a kid on Halloween. Media check-in and pre-fest starts early and I’m not taking any chances. It’s peaceful. Nearby cows moo. Time to drink. Standing near Russian River’s booth I hear brewer and owner Vinnie Cilurzo say the words “five-day old Pliny” and “two-year old Temptation.” These words fish-hook the absolute cream of beer-media (3).
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We walk like we’re in a Broadway musical, jazz hands fluttering to get a pour. A pretentious voice behind me mutters, “I’ve had two-day old Pliny once,” while clearing his throat nervously. The five-day old version must taste like piss to this guy. I toss it back, note the fresh Simcoe, Amarillo, Centennial and CTZ hops, and move on quickly for a glass rinse and something dark before it gets too hot. The forecast for today is nailed at 104 degrees. At this festival, beers like Pliny the Elder are ‘just beers’. Not to discount the highly decorated Double IPA from Santa Rosa, but there’s some serious rarities to be consumed today. Brandy Barrel Aged Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout from Cigar City, which ended up winning the People’s Choice award, and Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord from the psychedelic Three Floyds Brewing are among the barrel-aged treats that generally elude us on the West Coast. Mikkeller, The Lost Abbey and Firestone Walker are unleashing lambics, framboise and collaborations. Orange County’s sole representative, The Bruery, is leaking several wonders on the crowd each hour. As much as the public loves this festival, brewers also gush at the prospect of getting an invite. Tyler King, The Bruery’s senior director of brewing operations, puts it well. “It’s an honor [to be here] no matter where you’re from. We love so many of these breweries and to pour beer next to them is pretty amazing.” Tony Yanow of Golden Road/Tony’s Darts Away/Mohawk Bend is equally excited. “We are a very young brewery and to present
our beer alongside our heroes is an honor,” he says. Adding to the event’s allure, there’s international beer, too. Fascinated with the thought of sampling overseas freshies, my associate Daniel Fernandez and I make a trip to the fest’s ‘Little Germany.’ “I had no idea Germans were so tall,” Daniel says with his subsombrero sized hat. The guys at Mahr’s Brau Bamburg put David Hasselhoff to shame, and the girl at BraufactuM is at least three inches taller than me in flats. We then visit Yo-Ho Brewing, who also brought their beers from Japan to last year’s inaugural invitational. Close by, Italy’s Birrificio Italiano pours Tipo Pils, a beer that inspired Firestone Walker’s brewmaster Matt Brynildson to brew Pivo Pils. Of the many, many beers sampled, three stand out to me: 1. Mikkeller’s Spotancherry Lambic gives me repeatable goosebumps. Juicy tart cherries burst in my mouth with the tiniest sip. Tastes like fresh cherry pie. 2. Lagunitas just can’t believe my love for Sonoma County Sour Stout. “It’s pretty shocking considering we aimed to break every rule when making it...a stout on a hot day that goes down easy? Shocking!” says the biker-looking guy who poured it. Layered flavors and aromas strike hard, then hit in waves with each sip. Roastiness, oak, tart fruit, some pleasant funk. The sign aims to debunk its tastiness and only makes me want it more. 3. The Lost Abbey’s Framboise de Amorosa is very bright, with a clean raspberry tartness but no metallic notes. It finishes dry with tons of flavor. Shocker, I know. Funky/sour/Belgian style beers are perfect for hot weather, I’ve learned. Food at the festival is dotted potluck-style amongst breweries. 25 local restaurants are serving small-plate tasters throughout the day. I enjoy the Bloody Mary Granita from Luna Red and Ancho Duck & Cheese Quesadilla from McPhee’s Grill. Near the end, most food is gone. The music from Hot Buttered Rum fits the mood of the festival; hyperactive, progressive bluegrass is something I could very well be a fan of without knowing it. The White Buffalo take the stage later in the day but I’m blissfully altered by craft beer at that point in time (see top paragraph). Gripes: Zero! If you go to one festival a year in California, this is it. It’s like a GABF greatest hits mixtape in a small venue with really good food and music. This is the gold standard of beer festivals. Despite the hot temps, there was no problem finding shade, misters, water or an NFL sideline cooler. Title,(1),(2),(3) - quotes inspired by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas copyright 1971 by Hunter S. Thompson
Yo-Ho Brewing flew all the way from Japan for the fest
20 | Summer 2013
Hot Buttered Rumâ€™s progressive bluegrass was a hit. Photos by Greg Nagel
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