Stepping back into the brewhouse today, years after my departure from Southern California and the business, is a bit disorienting. Where once there was a company of five or six individuals that occupied a single unit in the park is now a business that has absorbed nearly the entire complex (twelve units) and employs over sixty dedicated beer-lovers. In addition, there’s a satellite office in Anaheim, a few miles down the road, and a barrel house that is home to some three thousand used and new oak barrels in which hundreds of batches of beer comfortably rest; some for a few months and others for years or even decades.
(The Bruery brewed and barreled an Old Ale to commemorate the birth of Patrick and Rachel’s daughter four years ago, with the intention of tapping it on her 21st birthday. Talk about the coolest kid on the block.)
If my statistics from Untappd are to be believed, I tasted no less than 606 unique beers in 2014. This annihilates my number from last year, which was a paltry 207 unique brews. I began using Untappd midway through 2014 because it was utilitarian and allows me to catalogue my alcoholic explorations with a greater degree of detail and efficiency. I also joined Beer Advocate and began to do some trading and also some tourism, visiting breweries in New York City, Tampa, and Orange County. Midway through the year I began a biweekly beer night with a number of friends in San Diego. Now it has essentially has become a glorious bottle share that happens twice a month. On the horizon? Hopefully hosting a beer podcast. I just need to buckle down and DO IT.
Since listing them all here would be a fool’s errand, resulting in a very long post, I will simply break down some of my favorite brews from the most popular categories I imbibed.
India Pale Ales (IPAs) – tasted 76 unique
Russian River Blind Pig
Noble Ale Works Waimea Showers
Kern River Just Outstanding
Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin
Societe The Pupil
Alpine Bine & Vine 3rd Anniversary
Acoustic Ales Back N The GSSR
Rip Current Lupulin Lust
Bells Two Hearted
Culture Mosaic IPA
Modern Times Aurora
Cigar City Experimental Hop #291
Modern Times Phalanx
Cigar City Jai Alai
Fat Heads Head Hunter
Mother Earth Sinister Prime Minister
Cismontane Coulter IPA
Imperial India Pale Ales (IIPAs, DIPAs, TIPAs) – tasted 71 unique
Belching Beaver Poundtown
Brick Wall Brewing Pliny the Tagger (PtE recipe home-brew)
So, what do you think I should set as a goal for 2015? Is it cool to have a goal of tasting a butt-load of beers? Should I stick to hunting down everything on the Top 250 from Beer Advocate? Yes to all? OK. See what’s on deck in my beer cellar.