Tustin Brewing Company

In mid-January, shortly after December’s Barrel Aged Month, Tustin Brewing Company released Shot in the Dark, an Imperial Porter that head brewer Jerrod Larsen aged for 14 months in Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrels. Clocking in just south of 9% alcohol by volume ABV, this hefty brew brings forth essences of vanilla and chocolate, with a hint of coconut. Drop by for a warming snifter or two. Team Larsen and Quinonez also recently introduced a new IPA. Tustin Lemmy Have It IPA, with a bit less alcohol than the popular TBC Old Town IPA, presents lighter in color and dryer in profile, with all of the satisfying citrus one desires. Lemmy is a reformulation of Tustin’s 19th Anniversary IPA, named in honor of Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead.

The aforementioned Barrel Aged Month kicked off with beers from Avery Brewing in Colorado and a small pairing menu presented by beer chef Andrea Machuca Culinary Underground. The entrée was Jidori chicken prepared with Uncle Jacobs Stout soy-ginger glaze, Thai chile drizzle, sesame seeds couscous and micro cilantro. Larsen’s recommended pairing for the dish was Ellie’s Brown. The Drunk Uncle Jason’s Bread Pudding, rich and decadent, was prepared with Rumpkin Avery’s high volume pumpkin ale soaked raisins, cherry & cranberry compote Christmas Cheer — vanilla whipped cream and BBA Stout reduction. Larsen recommended a pairing with the 16.9% ABV Uncle Jacob’s Imperial Stout, while resident Cicerone Charlie Perez suggested Samael’s Ale, an English barleywine style brew that is a hefty 16.9% ABV. The stout provided some contrasting roast to the flavors while the brown sugar notes of the barleywine combined with the sweetness of the dessert, bringing it over the top. This reporter found that Rufus Corvus, an American wild ale aged in wine barrels, provided a palate cleansing contrast which highlighted the berry and raisins.

Changes have been afoot at TBC, continuing into 2016, its 20th year in business. Chef Machuca has been assisting TBC’s Ivan Perez with expanding and developing the menu. Watch for new items in what will likely be a gradual progression. And late last year, GM Matt Luckey, who has been a TBC fixture almost as long as it has been open, exited to manage nearby Black Marlin Restaurant with promises to improve its beer list. The talented Carri Klabo has assumed duties as the new General Manager, with management, staff, and customers welcoming her with open arms.

Stone

Stone Brewing Company has published its calendar of events for 2016. On Sunday, February 7, Calm Before the Storm returns to Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Escondido. Billed as having an El Nino-sized twist this year the event will blend a six-course feast and rare beer festival. 15 three-ounce tastings of very rare Stone beers will be provided alongside six menu pairings created by Executive Chef Tausha Lopez. “Dr.” Bill Sysak, Stone’s Craft Beer Ambassador and Certified Cicerone, selected 25 vintage Stone beers from which to choose. This event will encompass the entire restaurant and gardens. Tickets may still be available online if you are reading this early enough.

If you miss the above event, Oakquinox returns to the same location for its seventh year on Sunday, March 20. “Dr.” Bill has lined up about 100 barrel-aged and wood-infused beers. Tickets are $49 and will available online at Stonebrewing.com.

Refer to Stone’s website for a complete listing of all of its 2016 happenings that will include its 20th Anniversary celebration.

Also of note is the fact that Stone Brewing Company released its first Berlin-brewed beers in early December at 40 events across Europe. In doing so, Stone became the first American craft brewer to independently build, own and operate a brewery in Europe. Its 10-hectoliter pilot system is now operating. Located in a historic circa 1901 gasworks facility in Berlin, Germany, the new 100-hectoliter brewhouse is expected to fire up this spring. With renovations underway, the new restaurant and gardens should follow shortly thereafter.

Coronado

Coronado Brewing Company has added a new beer to its core year-round line up. Stingray IPA was launched nationwide on January 15 with Stingray IPA Day. This Imperial IPA blends Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe and Southern Cross hops, resulting in aromas and tastes of citrus, tropical and stone fruits. At 7.9% ABV, it drinks easy with flavors that resonate well after finish.

Coronado also released its new coffee stout in early January. As the first Crown Series offering of 2016, Imperial Blue Bridge Coffee Stout is a new winter seasonal brewed with Guatemalan coffee. The roastiness of this 8% ABV Imperial coffee stout is softened by sweet chocolate notes that meld. Coffee for the beer was sourced from San Diego’s Café Moto.