Last Saturday, brewmaster Bob Kunz, Ross Stephenson, Michael Blackman and Dustin Lancaster debuted with a very eclectic beer list that included a house beer, a Belgian single, IPAs, sours and coffee beers which is quite an ambitious slate of styles for a small brewery tucked behind the bar area of The Hermosillo.
That variety of styles is matched by a variety of added ingredients as well. You will find sage and grapefruit paired together. Coffee and lavender. And even the famed smoke flavored tea, Lapsang Souchong. Kunz has even found a cherry called Hollyleaf that he uses in a sour beer that is redolent of cherry pie.
Of the 12 beers that I sampled pours of last Saturday, my favorites were the aforementioned Arroyo Sour, which was tart but filled with cherry notes and a nice end note of wheat. My second favorite was Vacation, a Belgian single, a style not normally seen here in Los Angeles. It had a lovely note of grapefruit pith to it. My #1 was the Wake-Up. What they are calling a coffee session beer. It was like having an iced coffee. The beans from local roaster Trystero Coffee really took center stage. It was light and crisp and worked on all levels from aroma to aftertaste.
For a brewery coming out of the gate, this was a tremendous start. Not only the variety, but the consistency. There wasn’t a bad beer in the bunch. Just some that my palate liked more than others. And I can bet your palate will find plenty of favorites too.
Your Beer of the Week is a Gose from Anderson Valley Brewing. It’s in a can, and it has a really odd name that I don’t know if I want to know the reasoning behind. Kimmie, the Yink and the Holy Gose. Gose being a German style known for having salt added.
If you want to find a craft beer whale, the best way is to take off from work and fly around the U.S. (then the world) tracking down the gems. Or you could take up bottle trading. To get started, check out the relatively new Bottle Trade website. They walk you through the process and educate on all things trading. Maybe one day, Highland Park will can a Gose you can trade.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.