I asked seven L.A. craft brewers, “What beer from another brewery do you most wish you had brewed, and why?” No surprise, their responses seemed to come from a place of admiration, rather than envy, since that exemplifies the local craft beer community.
The answer to your question is: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, because who wouldn’t want to start a revolution?!
Beer and brewing is very personal thing for me. Originality matters and I try my best to do my own thing whenever possible. Craft beer is full of copycat products and I find this fascination with other company’s successes anything but good personal expression. That being said I always find the beers from Brian Hunt at Moonlight to be personal, original and full of things to think about.
Orval. Because any time of day, any day of the year, no matter what I’m doing, I always enjoy drinking it. It’s such a simple beer, yet it can be incredibly complex. The way it changes over time tells a story, and it always invokes good conversation.
Stone Go To IPA. They absolutely nailed the “session IPA” – a style that I am generally not a huge fan of. Lots of breweries have made a session IPAs, but in my opinion this is the one that really holds up. Huge aroma with enough of a backbone to not come across as weak or watery – very impressive for a beer that is only 4.5%. I don’t see anyone coming even close to this beer in this style and I wish it was coming out of El Segundo.
Pre-InBev Pierre Celis Hoegaarden. My earliest recollections of Hoegaarden, long before Interbrew merged with Ambev, is of soft, malty, aromatic, floral ecstasy. Pierre Celis held his famous witbier recipe quite secret, never fully divulging all of his secrets, and while his recipe was brewed in many locations; Hoegaarden, Celis Brewery in Austin, and Michigan Brewing Company. I can still recollect my original early ’90s flavor memories of that beer, and while I don’t wish that I was the person to resurrect a “dead” style of beer, I do wish that I could replicate what Pierre Celis was able to make in the golden days of Hoegaarden.
I guess off hand I would say [Prairie Artisan Ales] Prairie Bomb. It’s awesome. Imperial stout with coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla bean, and chilies. Yum. Their Pirate Bomb is amazing too, that same thing aged in rum barrels. I’m doing a version of it, but it would have been great to be one of the firsts!
I wish I had brewed Mark Jilg’s Triple White Sage. I recall drinking this beer before opening Monkish and enjoying, but there was that moment, shortly after opening Monkish, that I remember thinking that this is a beer that fits the Monkish program — it’s a digestive Belgian tripel (we only brew Belgianized beers), it’s spiced (we often spice our beers), it has the word “Sage” (which resonates with Monkish vocabulary), and it’s a yum-bomb (which makes me smile). I guess I’ll just settle and name our next dog, Triple White Sage.