Though I try to avoid it, I sometimes take broad sweeping glances of my world, rather than maintain a keen attention and awareness. But it’s these small details, the subtleties, the diversity and constant change that will invite an intense feeling of being alive. Even if all you are doing in drinking beer.
I recently assigned to write an article on our local breweries, so I had to do my research! I was really intrigued with The Bruery because half of their beer production is devoted to making sour beers. Sour beer originated in 1836 at Rodenbach Brewery of Roeselare in Belgium and can be a volatile process that only the brave at heart with willingness for chaos can handle.
It’s not just bedlam that attracted me; there also is an immense amount of creativity involved. The beer ferments for a year (sometimes longer) in oak barrels that once contained wine, bourbon, whiskey or even scotch. Then fruits, herbs, vegetables another other goodies (like chocolate or coconut) are added. The result produces multi-layered several flavors.
In fact, beer tasting is similar to wine tasting, (without the lifted pinky), in that you begin with subtle flavors first then onto more multi-faceted. If you begin with a beer with many flavors then drink something lighter, the chances are you won’t detect the intricacies and the second beer would taste flat and boring.
Their tasting room in Placentia, located in an industrial complex, is entered through a warehouse like door. A chalk board tells you the current list of rotating beers available. Stacked oak barrels and ponykegs line one side of the walls, reminding you the beer is fresh.
Aaron Horwitz, the tasting room manager, took us behind the scene to see a randall, a modified filtration system, that is hooked to a hose running from the keg and another hose running to the tap. This randall is filled with sour cherries allowing the beer to pick up the tart flavor of cherries just before it splashes into your glass.
“Excuse me for partying,” says Brian, the bartender, with a laugh as he squeezes passed Aaron to get to the ten or so beers they have bottled in the refrigerator. The line is out the door even though they only opened half hour ago. Aaron excuses himself to help out.
Aaron returns with samples of Lambic, Simcoe, Columbus hops. I love touching, smelling and looking at this small flower as the essential building block. I love that it comes back to nature and something once alive feeds our diverse creativity, and tastes so damn good!