Photos by David Mulvihill
Anniversaries + Outstanding Breweries
Given the plethora of breweries that now populate Southern California, most months mark one or more anniversaries for resident craft breweries. August brought with it celebrations by three OC breweries.
On Saturday, August 11th San Clemente’s Artifex Brewing Company held its Drop the Ball Anniversary Party. Having “dropped the ball” for the past couple of years without formal celebration, this party commemorated its 2nd, 3rd and 4th years of brewing. Expanding from the confines of the tasting room, adjacent spaces allowed for attendees to spread out to the exterior grounds and beyond for two additional pouring stations, food, and live music.
Special Anniversary cans released that day included Drop the Ball, a 9% ABV NE-style double IPA double dry-hopped with Eukanot, Citra and Mosaic hops. San Clemente IPA, an unfiltered 7.5% IPA double dry-hopped with Simcoe, Mosaic and Nelson hops was also released. And, fitting for the warm summer day was “The Most Interesting Can in the World,” the team’s latest Mexican-style amber lager that was brewed in collaboration with Oceanside, California’s Horus Aged Ales.
The day’s draft selection included many of the Artifex beers we know and love, including No Name, Trigger Finger and Bye Felicia IPAs, Artifexican Mexican Lager and Unicorn Juice. Special casks and brite tank pours were also to be had.
The team at Artifex has accomplished a great deal in its first few years, including back-to-back World Beer Cup awards for HoliDAVE Imperial stout and a Great American Beer Festival medal for Artifexican. Congrats to Tom & Nick Cordato, Johnny Johur, Chris Gort and Team Artifex on 4 years and many more beers to come.
That same day, Downtown Orange was home to Chapman Crafted’s Old Town Block Party: Year Two. Added tents out front (equipped with misters) provided additional airy space for this family-friendly event. In addition to over 30 beers on tap (including special kegs and cask beers), Chapman also held an Anniversary can release. Old Towne Block Party: Year Two, a hazy double IPA with peach was released in 4-packs. The beer was also available on draft.
Soft serve beer floats were offered at the Variant Bar, where attendees could make any beer into a float by adding ice cream and house-made toppings. The Variant Bar dispensed variations of some of Chapman’s other offerings, such as Spa Day Pilsner (Pilsner with cucumber & lime), Arnold Pilsner (with lemonade and tea), PB&J Fest (Marzen with raspberry and almond) and Cocoa Circus (Brown Porter with cacao nibs).
In addition to the Anniversary double IPA, at least six distinctions of IPA included a super hopped version of the Anniversary, Fruits Like These and Hops Like These triple IPAs, Citrus Beauty, Timeless Beauty and Rock n Roll Lifestyle IPAs.
Nitro-dispensed beers included an English-style mild ale, and Slow Riser red ale with coffee.
Dark beers included a brown porter with almonds and hazelnut, dry stout and a brownie stout finished with cocoa nibs, vanilla bean, coffee
Funky and pucker-tended folk could enjoy a Berliner Weiss-style beer with raspberry and two versions of last year’s Old Towne Funk: Volume 1, the former Anniversary brett-beer aged for 1 3/4 years, and a second version wine-barrel-aged. Owners Wil Dee and Randy Nelson, along with the masterful brewing talents of Brian Thorson and team, continue to grow Chapman Crafted as a staple of the neighborhood and the destination for great beer. Some months back Chanpman welcomed Jonas Nemura as its new Director of Operations. Jonas spent over 9 years at The Bruery, having started during its earliest days. He is looking forward to this new chapter, working and growing with Chapman Crafted.
Tustin Brewing Co
That following weekend, Tustin Brewing Company celebrated its 22nd anniversary with its annual charity invitational beer fest. Raising funds for the John Wayne Cancer Institute, this intimate gathering of close friends, patrons, industry brewers and owners is always an enjoyable party. In addition to reveling in the remarkable beers available from TBC and guest brewers, it’s always a great opportunity to catch up with the brewing community. To commemorate the event, TBC award-winning (World Beer Cup and GABF) brewer Jerrod Larsen brewed TBC’s 22nd Anniversary double IPA. Even with its higher end 8.8% ABV, this balanced citrus-forward taste treat drank deceivingly light, dry and refreshing.
Note: Next month’s column will include a full recap of Southern California medal winners at the recent Great American Beer Festival, which took place in late September. Eleven breweries that received medals were in attendance and pouring at TBC’s Anniversary Party.
Gunwhale Ales was serving Bang Straw Table Beer brewed in the farmhouse ale style. Hops, hay and bread flavors combine for a light but satisfying quenching. Its Cattleboat Hazy Pale Ale provided refreshing essences of fruits and spice at an approachable 5.4%. Gunwhale’s GABF bronze came for Hayshaker Classic Saison.
Green Cheek came with fun cheeky names, like West Coast IPA is Dead! and Bier, a German-style Helles lager. The IPA scored bronze at September’s GABF, as did Fools & Babies, an English-style dark mild.
Beachwood Brewery and its Blendery were represented at TBC with Citraholic IPA and Frambiek, a Belgian-style sour with Raspberries & Cherries (a collaboration with Pomona’s Homage Brewing). Beachwood’s Udder Love received silver while The Blendery’s Funk Yeah was awarded gold in the Belgian-style lambic category.
Barley Forge was serving Taco Hop Cream Ale dry-hopped with Mosaic & Huell Melon hops and pulled thru a Randall loaded with Mosaic. Travis Bickel sour ale with blood orange was also served. Barley Forge Grandpa Tractor bested the Dortmunder/Oktoberfest category at GABF.
Torrance’s Smog City Brewing was dispensing its South Bay Lager along with Infinite Wishes bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout released once a year. Smog City’s Kumquat Saison was awarded bronze in the Belgian-style fruit beer category.
The team at TAPS Fish House and Brewery brought two pilsners: Das Booze, a 5.5% ABV German Pilsner and West Coast Pils. TAPS received GABF silver for its TAPS Irish Red.
Stereo Brewing tapped what soon would earn GABF Silver. Robot Imperial Red was served along with Kraftwerk Kolsch. Stereo’s second medal, bronze, was for Wall of Sound oatmeal stout, which was awarded gold at last year’s GABF awards.
Riip Beer Co and its newest head brewer Ian McCall (veteran Beachwood Brewery brewer) were awarded GABF silver for Black the Ripper, a black IPA.
Parts Unknown Sweet Stout with Pandan Coconut and Vanilla was flowing along with Super Cali IPA during the TBC fest.
Noble Ale Works was also onsite. Nobility double IPA, which earned World Beer Cup gold last May, also scored gold at the GABF. Noble was pouring its Window Crisis 2018 IPA and Gosebusters (Gose with Magnolia Oolong tea).
Unsung Brewing Co dispensed Lumino Mexican Lager along with Horsehead Double IPA. Lumino was awarded a bronze medal at September’s GABF awards.