Photos by Dave Mulvihill - (l-r): Danny Quinones (Smog City), Billy Robbins (Barley Forge) Daniel Drennon (Beer Paper), Jerrod Larsen (TBC) and Jonathan Porter (Smog City) at TBC 23. 

TBC Anniversary 23

Tustin Brewing Company celebrated its 23rd anniversary with its annual party/brewery invitational fest. Two past TBC brewers came together with current TBC head brewer Jerrod Larsen to brew this year’s Anniversary IPA: Smog City’s own Jonathan Porter and Matt Johnson of Boochcraft. IPAs were also flowing from at least 14 of the guest breweries taps. 

West Coast IPA: Defender of the Hops (Beachwood); Charisma Cheek (Bottle Logic); No Comply (El Segundo); Union Jack (Firestone Walker); Member (Green Cheek); and Tongue in Cheek (Noble Ale Works).

American IPA: Gimme (Docent); White Dog (El Segundo); and Dankster Squad (Riip Beer Co), a beautifully balanced IPA that was one of the overall favorites of the day.

Hazy/juicy/unfiltered IPA: Robo Dinosaur (Asylum); Emotional Support Beard (Barley Forge); Far Out Fog (Bootlegger’s); Rocket Surgeons (Bottle Logic); Mind Haze (Firestone Walker); and Tayhard (Gamecraft).

Double IPA: Domino Double (Ten Mile); and Fear Movie Lions (Stone).

Additional beers included Imperial and barrel-aged stouts and porters from Bottle Logic, Bootlegger’s, Smog City and Pizza Port San Clemente; and sours from The Good Beer Co, Beachwood and Hoparazzi.

German beers, lagers and Czech lagers included Krystal Weizen and Dunkel from TAPS, Helles (Green Cheek and Smog City), Czech lager (Ten Mile), AFK German Pils (Gamecraft) and Jalapeno Kolsch (Stereo).

Gunwhale Orange

Costa Mesa’s Gunwhale Ales has recently expanded its operations, having opened a second location in Orange, complete with a four-vessel brewhouse, large tasting room with 24 taps and a welcoming olive tree-shaded patio/beer garden.

Gunwhale founders Justin Miller, JT Wallace and Bobby Fitzgerald are excited with finally having opened the expanded location that will soon be firing up its newly acquired brewhouse, a high efficiency four-vessel system with a cool high pressure mash filtering system.

Fitzgerald’s artwork is prominent in the space. The plat map and rolling hills landscape that runs along the wall and the colorful cacti that frame the taps set a stage that is further detailed by some of Wallace’s handiwork that adorns the bar. Added furnishings give one a historic, comfortable and welcoming feel.

And, of course, the stars of the show are the creative well-finished beers by Head Brewer Kevin Hammons. Kevin is eagerly awaiting the day he will be firing up the brewhouse to begin brewing in his hometown, under Gunwhale’s own roof. Space constraints at Gunwhale’s Costa Mesa location prohibited housing a brewhouse there, making it necessary to brew offsite until now.

Look for a continued mix of Kevin’s world-class Belgian-inspired farmhouse ales (Saisons, Grisettes, Table Beer, etc.) we love, as well as IPAs, stouts and other American classics he brews so well.   

A peek at the list just before press time revealed that Hayshaker Saison (awarded 2018 Great American Beer Festival bronze medal) was on draft, as well as Bang Straw Table Beer, Majordomo Citrus Farmhouse Ale, Wolfbait Dark Farmhouse, Bait Ball IPA, Shellmaker Oyster Stout, CA Scenario W. Coast IPA and Apres Sea Hazy IPA. 

Gunwhale Ales, 1501 W Orangewood Ave, Orange.

Jon Siemens and Trevor Walls on the brewdeck at Brewery X. 

Brewery X Opens

A few years in the making, Anaheim’s Brewery X is now open. In early September, this reporter had the opportunity to visit the brewery and spend some time with Director of Brewing Operations Trevor Walls, talking, tasting and touring the recently opened facility. 

Brewery X brewers include the aforementioned Walls, Head Technical Brewer Steven Hicks (formerly of Karl Strauss) and Head Production Brewer Jon Siemens, who brewed for many years at Left Coast Brewing in San Clemente, prior to more recent stints at Noble Ale Works, Anaheim and Monkish in Torrance. Siebel- and Doemens-trained Walls’ brewing ascent includes The Bruery, Pizza Port and Riip Beer Co. He and his well-seasoned crew bring much to the table with their combined brewing expertise and are excited to be finally initiating the birth of the first phase of Brewery X.

The day before the brewery’s grand opening, taps already sported 14 beers and three hard fruited seltzers, with at least one additional brew to be tapped for the weekend festivities.

On the lighter-side, just in time for Oktoberfest season, were Stein Me Up!, a Munich-style helles, and Festbier Ja!, a German-style festival lager. Also on draft: Mexican-style lager, dry-hopped kolsch, dry-hopped Belgian-style blonde and Project Blue, described as a backyard BBQ, beach beer. Dark & Malty brews included a pub-style porter and red/amber ale. Hoppy beers included Mosaic pale, three West Coast IPAs and a double IPA.

Tasters of the kolsch, helles, Mosaic pale and Slap and Tickle West Coast IPA confirmed well crafted, finished and refined beers. To add some lift in profile and character in formulating his kolsch, Trevor bent traditional style guidelines. He utilized California ale yeast in the fermentation and dry-hopped with Laurel, an American hop that possesses subtle Noble hop characteristics. The Munich helles followed a more-traditional design path, as did the beautiful pilsner still finishing in the brite tank. An out-of-tank taste of a German IPA made with pilsner malt and all German hops (Huell Melon, Mandarina Bavaria and Hallertau Blanc), generated palate excitement for forthcoming beers.

The 15-barrel 4-vessel brewhouse system and growing stainless tank farm that includes 15 and 30 barrel lagering tanks were impressive. Part of the massive warehouse space has been proposed to house a future restaurant.  

The tasting room possesses a state-of-the-art, yet historic, tap dispensing system, and specific glassware for each beer style. Aside from a few nitro-taps, virtually all of the taproom’s 40 taps are installed with traditional Czech side-pull faucets. These pouring taps, initially designed for dispensing Pilsner Urquell, are becoming increasingly more popular for dispensing most beer styles because of the inherent control provided in assuring a perfect pint. These taps were handcrafted in the Czech Republic by craftsmen located right next door to Pilsner Urquell. Pilsner Urquell has a compelling 1 minute video that illustrates the pour:

Brewery X, 3191 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim.