NorCal Beer Geeks IPA, a beautiful 6.5% ABV beer from Faction Brewing, would be cause for celebration at many L.A. bars. At Sweeney’s Ale House, the brand new Encino gastropub from Ryan Sweeney, Brandon Bradford and Alen Avaizian, who are also responsible for places like The Surly Goat and The Woodman, it was just one of 28 handles on opening night. Sweeney is known to roam California’s highways, gathering kegs along the way like a hoppy Pied Piper. A recent stop led to Faction’s huge space in a former Alameda Naval Air Station hangar. That’s where renegade brewer Rodger Davis and partner Claudia Pamparana set up shop in 2014. As their website states, “Faction is a brewery that does things just a little differently.” If you’ve ever met Davis, that would be clear, but make no mistake, he’s a bonafide brewer, previously with Bay Area heavyweights Triple Rock and Drake’s.
Davis dry-hops his NorCal Beer Geeks IPA with Citra, Simcoe and Experimental 05256 hops. The experiment paid off with an amber hued IPA with great aromatics and a slight tilt toward the fruitier side of the spectrum, as opposed to a potable pine cone. Hopefully Faction continues to gain momentum (and distribution), so Sweeney and other craft beer apostles don’t necessarily have to drive a van 800 miles to deliver another region’s drinkable message.