Sunday, January 9, 2011

448. Bruery Humulus Session

Sometimes, dreams do come true. But any dream that you want to come true—that you really really really want to bring to fruition—is gonna also require some hard work. Like this one. So let me set the scene...I’m in Los Angeles, doing that academic literature thing I do to finance my more fruitful and enjoyable hi-jinx, like, well, beer. Looming close by, close enough to taunt me (and taunt me it did), is the Bruery. For many, a potentially interesting place to visit, but nothing worth getting worked up over. Not for this guy, however. I like me some funky esoteric beers. Add a solid dose of Belgian influence, and you had me at hello. And that hello came from the Bruery. My problem: I’m in L.A., and they are in Placentia, which wouldn’t mean much to me either, unless you’re like me and had already researched and discovered the dearth of effective and useful public transportation between the the two locales. Yes, that was me with the cyber-stalking and the trying to find the secret path to enlightenment that won’t cost me that $100+ cab ride I so know I’ll be taking if I can’t discover any other viable options. After all, 30 miles is 30 miles. Unless it is in L.A., when it becomes like 287. Plus traffic. Today, Sunday, is my best option, as the train making up the bulk of the trip doesn’t normally return from the Fullerton stop back to L.A. much past the opening hours of the tasting room on Friday and Saturday. And if I’m going, I’m going. Being that it is my last day in L.A., I’ve also checked out and have my luggage with me. Classy, I know, but you’ll forgive me: I travel light. So I take a subway to the train station for a 3o minute ride south and west (at least I think) on the Orange line to Fullerton, where I catch a cab the last five or six miles. Sure, I could have finished off the trip by bus and kept it real, but another transfer and an additional hour and a half sounds like a sucker’s bet. I like epic adventures and all, but I don’t need to overdo it. And sure, the train is pretty much a one-way trip, but since I am flying out tonight, I scheduled my Shuttle Express pickup at the Bruery instead of the hotel. That last part was sheer genius. Go on, admit it. I’m guessing you’re wishing you’d thought of that one, hmmm? But I digress...

My plan worked flawlessly. I hit the Bruery at a little after 1 pm. Closing time is 6 pm. Let the festivities begin. Ordering a sampler gets you 2 oz. tastes, plus an awesome Bruery snifter glass. They were pouring nine beers, so I got down to work: in order, I tried 7 Grain Saison, Humulus Session, Saison de Lente (last year’s, and out of the bottle), Loakal Red, Saison Rue, Mischief, Rugbrød, and 3 French Hens. After the sampling, I opted for the Humulus Session to start out the next round of full beer drinking. Let’s just say that this is a beer I could easily drink all night: it was super fresh and hoppy with a light dry malt body. The touch of sweetness in the front gave way to solid hop flavor in the middle and finish, while the lighter body was an excellent vehicle for the Simcoe and Centennial hop flavors—they worked hand in hand to create a delicious drinking experience. This type of beer—the low alcohol complex session beer—is something that the American craft beer scene needs a whole crapload more of, and Humulus Session is by far the best example I’ve come across yet. Next up was the Loakal Red, which, as I texted to a couple of people in my giddy beer-geek euphoria, “is a mother-fuckin’ oak bomb. Dag.” The hops, malt, and oak create a complex marriage of sweetness (malt) and dryness (hops and oak) that taunts your palate. Dag is right.

Can you say new anniversary beer?

In my excitement to tell my tale, I’ve left out two important points to my story thus far: first, the Bruery provides food for their tasting room by inviting a rotating number of food trucks to park out back. Today’s food option was the Bacon Mania truck, and since I knew I’d be getting into my cups, right about the time I ordered the Humulus Session, I also ordered some lamb, beef, and bacon sliders from the server who was gracious enough the walk around and take orders inside. Second, the Bruery’s Reserve Society Membership Initiation was last night, which means that last night was the the night of super-fancy beer. And, luckily for me, that today is the day of leftover fancy beer. At this point, I also start talking to the couple seated next to me. It turns out that he works in one of the food trucks in the rotation outside. And likes the sours. Ah, a man after my own heart. He asks me if I’ve tried the Bert Zuurman. I give him a quizzical look, and he points to the small chalk sign that, in my initial school-girl giddiness, I had missed. Bert Zuurman, is described as a Rugbrod soured with lingonberries. Damn. Can you guess what my third beer was? Ah, the sour murky goodness.

Since the couple I was talking to knew the bartenders, they got the scoop on other fancy beers lurking around—they got a sample of Old Richland, which, via their generous benevolence, means I got to sample it as well. The sweetest words I have ever heard in English passed from this man’s lips as I poured some of his sample into my glass: “No, no. Pour yourself some more. I don’t need all of that.” Seriously? I’m not certain, but I think you can get sainted for that type of behavior. And if you can’t, I’m going to go on record and say that that is truly a crime of biblical proportions. I also heard about the Cigar City/Bruery Collaboration (which at that point, neither I, nor anyone I knew, had even heard of—trust me, I asked) that is now known as Marrón Acidifié (as posted on the Bruery blog on January 12). Not that I am connected enough to score a bottle, but I do like being among the first to know. After all, it happens so rarely to me...

Sadly, my new friends had to take off, although since it was approaching 5:30, it also meant I had to at least pretend to motivate for my upcoming trip to the airport. After I purchased a couple of t-shirts, just when I thought it couldn’t get ANY better, the Bert Zuurman keg cashed, and a keg of Oude Tart went up. So that’s how I closed out my evening at the Bruery Tasting Room. Stupendous.

When the Shuttle Express pulled up, they poured my into my seat, and I contemplated the back of my eyelids all the way to the airport. Once on the plane, I was asleep before we were airborne. Let’s just say that was the most painless red-eye flight I ever experienced. And for the record, I chose the Humulus Session as the beer of the day over all the other potential choices because it represents American craft brewing at its best: it is both accessible and complex at the same time. If craft beer is going to transform the way Americans drink, if people are really looking for the type of beer that will convert macro drinkers while respecting the traditions of craft brewing, they need look no further. I’ve already found myself pining for this beer, mostly because there is nothing really like it out there. So thanks to the Bruery for doing what it is you do, and making me feel like a rock star, even if only for a few hours.

From the day’s beer list and information sheet: Humulus Session: “A delicious session ale brewed and dry-hopped with Simcoe & Centennial hops, this light & refreshing beer is perfect for those late Santa Ana winds.”
ABV: 4.5%
IBU: 35

I love it when a plan comes together...Oh yeah, and previous beers from the Bruery include 3 French Hens, Saison de Lente, Rugbrød, Hottenroth, Orchard White and Saison Rue.



  1. I know you drank that Marron Acidifie and I'm tellin! Stay positive and drink better. Hiccup!

  2. I got my first electronic cigarette kit from VaporFi, and I love it very much.