Jen Chase, Patrick Rue and Lee Chase
This past Saturday, Blind Lady Ale House hosted Patrick Rue, CEO and Founder of The Bruery for a guided tasting of six of The Bruery’s beers. Blind Lady Ale House often offers brewery specific or style specific flights (they had a flight of Allagash Brewing Co. beers not too long ago) but this is the first time I know of them offering a guided tasting with someone from the brewery.
The flight of beers was available on it’s own for $20, but for only $5 more we got to sit in and listen to Rue talk about the history of The Bruery and how the beers came about. The six beers were: Hothenroth Berliner Weiss, Oude Tart Flanders Red, Tradewinds Tripel, Humulus Lager, Mischief Belgian Strong Pale Ale, and Coton Blended Anniversary Ale.
The only one of these beers I had ever had before was Tradewinds Tripel, I enjoyed it and the few other beers from The Bruery I had previously so I was pretty excited for this flight, and to hear what Rue had to say. Below are some notes I took on each beer, either my own tasting notes or something that Rue or someone else mentioned:
- Hothenroth Berliner Weiss, an authentic example of the Berliner Weiss style this beer was tart but flavorful for only being 3.1% ABV. Made using lactobacillus and a hint of brettanomyces many people add raspberry or woodruff syrup to cut down on the tartness. Jen Chase, co-owner of Blind Lady, mentioned that they had tried to make a raspberry syrup out of fresh raspberries, but it just didn’t turn out. Their solution was to add a bit of St. Louis Framboise instead. I ended up back at Blind Lady later that night with some friends and we tried this and I have to say it was really good. Hothenroth on it’s own was good enough, but the added sweetness was nice too.
- Oude Tart Flanders Red, I’m not a very experienced sour drinker, I’ve had a few, but not many, but I have to say this was one of the best and most complex sours I’ve ever had. It smelled like cherries with a hint of alcohol and tasted tart with oak flavors. The tasting sheet provided mentioned hints of leather, which doesn’t sound appetizing but there was a slight hint of leather, which tasted great and didn’t detract from the beer at all. This beer is usually only available at the brewery so it was a special treat to drink on draft in San Diego.
- Tradewinds Tripel, the only beer in the flight I had tasted before. Previously I had it in the bottle and thought it was good, but it was far better on draft. A tripel made with Thai basil, the basil aroma and taste were more up front in this draft version compared to the bottle.
- Humulus Lager, it was news to me that The Bruery promised to never make an IPA, but I think Humulus Lager would satisfy most hop heads. An extermely hoppy lager (with over 3lbs. of hops per barrel), they use rice to lighten the body to make it more like a traditional American lager.
- Mischief Belgian Strong Pale Ale, Rue said this beer has become their best seller. It’s Duvel inspired with American hops, the balance between the malts and the Belgian yeast and the hops is perfect. It has a floral, yeast flavor up front with a kick of hops afterwards. It’s only 35 IBU but it seemed hoppier to me.
- Coton Blended Anniversary Ale, Coton is The Bruery’s second anniversary ale and probably their most talked about beer recently. A 14.5% ABV Old Ale, the same recipe is used for the anniversary ale each year, and each year some is held back to be aged in barrels. The fresh anniversary ale is then blended with each of the previous years. Rue said that by their 10th anniversary they’re hoping to that each release will be 100% barrel aged. Coton is strong but drinkable. Carbonation was low, but not too low (but this could have been because it was the last beer tasted so it had been sitting out for a while). It was sweet and slightly syrupy, with a good bourbon flavor and aroma.
Coton, Mischief, Humulus Lager, Tradewinds, Oude Tart, Hothenroth
The extra five dollars over the standard flight price was well worth it to hear Patrick Rue talk about each beer. The event sold out (I believe Blind Lady sold 20 or 25 tickets) and I noticed some people drinking flights alone afterwards so it seems demand is high. Thankfully Blind Lady said this was the first or many flight tastings with brewers, although the next one hasn’t been scheduled yet. As soon as they schedule another we’ll be sure to add it to our calendar, so be sure to check out our list of events.