One of the surprises of last month’s downtown L.A. Craft Beer Crawl was Craft Brewing Company from way out in Lake Elsinore.
Four friends in the Temecula Valley Home Brew Club – Kirk Medeiros, Kevin Carroll, Bob Thompson and Tim Reagan – joined forces to create a new (well, one-and-a-half year old brewery) with a name that you would have thought taken by another brewery by this point. They mostly distribute in San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties but are looking towards L.A. too with their line-up that includes Friar Bob’s Raspberry Wheat, Devils Double (a Belgian dubbel), Raven Stout and Warlock IPA among others. I sampled their Sir Walter’s Scottish Ale aged in wine barrels and found it to be surprisingly good. As did many who attended the crawl and came back to applaud their brewing efforts.
Craft started out with their respective home brewing equipment which lasted for three months before graduating up to a bigger system and then growing up to their current 25 hectoliter system they have been using since March of last year. Lately they have a Belgian tripel aging but they really believe in not only balanced beer but beers that stand out from one another. Which you can sample for yourselves at their tasting room.
What was great to hear from Medeiros, when we spoke in late August, was that they (like many others) have received so much help and guidance from breweries already in operation and that they now pass on all the knowledge they gained in transitioning from homebrewing to the big leagues. It warms the heart and fills the pint glass when that “pay it forward” mentality continues.
And Craft Brewing Co. is not the only one brewing up a storm in Temecula. There are 7 in the area. Wien, Black Market, Brew-ligion, Iron Fire, Refuge and Aftershock complete the group.
Your Beer of the Week is from one of those “other” Temecula breweries, Black Market Brewing Co.. The name is Contraband and it is a “California Common” style of beer. More malt forward and perfect for both summer and fall especially in California. It is called Common because the name “Steam” has been trademarked by Anchor in San Francisco. But this is a great and historical California gold rush beer that you have seen on the L.A. Beer Blast in previous weeks and is a summer seasonal from Black Market.
Holy crap! It is exactly ONE week until L.A. Beer Week! We all need to batten down the hatches and get ready. Have you bought your tickets for the finale at Union Station? Do you know which events you HAVE to attend? Well check the official website and get ready. And keep in mind that Carmageddon – The Sequel happens the last weekend of L.A. Beer Week. Make sure that you use public transport to head downtown. You will save yourself from a major headache that weekend and the next morning.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.