Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The Bruery Provisions
If you're not familiar with The Bruery by now, you should be. They make some of the best and most interesting beers in all of California and are never afraid to try some really different recipes. Most of the beers made by The Bruery are traditional Belgian-style beers with a twist, such as their Trade Winds Triple- A traditional Belgian-style Tripel that uses rice and Thai basil. I've been wanting to make a trip up to The Bruery for a while now and I finally got to go with some friends this past weekend.
The tasting room for The Bruery is unique in that it isn't actually located at the brewery itself, but at a building that The Bruery uses as its bottleshop- The Bruery Provisions. Along with bottles from The Bruery, Provisions has an extensive collection of hard to find beers from other breweries on sale. Lineups of beers from The Bruery and from other breweries around the world are offered at reasonable prices (most lineups of five beers go for around $5) and go great with the meat and cheese plates that are also offered. I went with The Bruery Special Flight of beers along with the Picante Meat Plate (best choice ever). Here are the beers I got to try.
714 is a Belgian Pale Ale that is draft only. It poured a pale golden color with a thin head and notes of Belgian yeast, bready malts, a slight bit of earth and some leather.
Taste-wise, this one was a bit dull with the majority of the flavor consisting of some faint earthy hops and a bit of lemon zest. It wasn't a terrible beer, but it was probably my least favorite of the day.
Final Grade: B-
Without a doubt, this was the best name of the day. In case you're not familiar, "B.M.C." refers to the beer behemoths of Budweiser, Miller and Coors. Craft breweries and craft beer lovers hate these companies and often lump them together as "BMC."
The beer itself is an intensely hopped pilsner that poured a pale gold color with a 1/2 finger cream colored head. For me, the smell was a bit off what a pilsner typically smells like. I picked up corn tortilla, lemon, lime, malt, guava and a slight soapy smell.
While the taste was infinitely better than anything made by "BMC," it failed to impress me. There was a heavy grain flavor alongside some earthy hops, white pepper and a dash of funk. I probably wouldn't go out of my way to look for this one.
Final Grade: B
Saison Rue is part of the yearly lineup that The Bruery bottles and distributes pretty widely. I had never tried it, so I decided to give it a shot. The color was a dark gold and the beer smelled of rye, some faint earth, caramel and a touch of oak.
I've had some great saisons before and, unfortunately, this can't touch any of them. I didn't get much from the flavor to let me know I was drinking a saison or any type of farmhouse ale. Instead, I got a lot of grain, a slight bit of funk, belgian yeast, earthy hops and some rye. I definitely prefer their Saison de Lente over this one.
Final Grade: B
Of all the beers on tap at Provisions, I was probably the most excited to try this one. Autumn Maple is The Bruery's take on the traditional pumpkin beers that lots of breweries put out in the fall. The Bruery decided to go a slightly different direction and use a crapload of yams, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses and Belgian yeast. How could this not be good?
Autumn Maple poured a glowing amber color with a thin soapy head. I got smells of candied yams, pumpkin pie, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peel. The yams weren't as intense as I was hoping for, but this beer definitely smelled like fall.
The taste starts with some notes of brown sugar and sweet potato followed by some freshly baked cinnamon bread. A slight hint of hops and Belgian yeast finished the taste off. I wanted the smell and the flavor to be a little more intense, but this was definitely one of the better beers we sampled.
Final Grade: B+
"Run B.M.C." is a tough name to top, but Snicklefritz has to come close. According to urbandictionary.com, "snicklefritz" can either refer to a low-potency strain of pot or a word that the Pennsylvania Dutch use to describe a kid who talks too much. I'm not sure The Bruery was going for either of those, but doesn't "snicklefritz" seem like the perfect replacement for a swear word? For example: "Dude, I just got back from vacation and my cat took a snicklefritz in my shower while I was gone!" Anyway, on to the beer itself.
Snicklefritz is categorized as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale and pours a deep golden color with a thin tan head. The smell is sweet and heavy and reminded me of Werthers Original butterscotch candies. The butterscotch smell was really intense, but there were also some faint notes of Belgian yeast and wet hay.
The taste was a little more diverse than I was expecting after smelling this one. I got notes of caramel malt, muted peppery hops, lots of butterscotch, freshly baked bread and a hint of oak on the finish. As intense as the butterscotch flavor was, it kind of worked for this beer.
Final Grade: B+
I went to The Bruery hoping to try their 3rd anniversary beer, Cuir. When we got there, they told us that they had tapped out of Cuir, but had replaced it with a new raspberry sour beer- BeRazzled. At first I was a little disappointed, but then I tried the beer.
BeRazzled pours a beautiful light ruby color with a thin pink head. The smell instantly took me back to my experience with Cantillon's Rosé de Gambrinus. Huge, perfume-like aromas of raspberries and cranberries wafted out of the glass. It didn't have that awesome funk that Rosé de Gambrinus has, but this was still incredible.
The taste didn't disappoint at all with huge flavors of fresh raspberries, cranberries and red currants with a slight kiss of brett. The light mouthfeel and prickly carbonation worked perfectly with the flavors. This was a beer that I could drink all day. I seriously hope they have plans to make more of this. Behind Rosé de Gambrinus, the was the best raspberry beer I've ever had.
Final Grade: A
Overall, it was a successful trip up to The Bruery and I really hope to make it up there again in the near future. It's located very close to Angel Stadium, so if you have plans to go watch the Angels try to chase down a playoff spot, I highly recommend heading to The Bruery Provisions first.
Top 100 Beers Tasted: 32