There must be something in the water in Torrance because it is Ground Zero for Southland breweries. Strand Brewing and Monkish are firmly entrenched and Smog City is finalizing their facility for a May 18 grand opening, and March saw the introduction of Dudes’ Brewing to the world.
I caught up with the barnstormin’ Dudes’ crew at 38 Degrees in Alhambra and got to sample five of their offerings as well as talk a bit with Jay, Brendan and Gilbert from the brewery. But first, my take on the beers that I tasted for the first time.
My favorite of the group was Grandma’s Pecan Brown. It was nicely balanced and had a certain pie-esque aroma to it. The pecans were there in the aroma and on the tastebuds and an extra dose of sweetness added to the mix rather than detracting from it. Their Day 1 pale ale was a brewing day fluke. Due to an unfamiliarity with the new automated brewing equipment, the brewing personnel had to think outside the box and what started as one recipe ended up as a hoppy pale. And it worked. It had a nice hop bite and effervescence that I found refreshing.
Keep in mind that these are first batches as I discuss the next couple of beers which to my taste missed the mark. The Juicebox series starts with a blood orange beer. Future installments will include raspberry and pomegranate. Unfortunately, the vanilla added to the Blood Orange beer created a strong cream soda flavor that effectively hid the citrus. The opposite problem befell the Grinning Face Porter which had a plethora of coconut aroma, a bevy of coconut flavor and an aftertaste filled with coconut. The porter half of that equation was MIA. The last beer was the Double Trunk DIPA. It had the base and ABV level for the style but I felt the hop level was lacking, though others who drank it really enjoyed it.
Much like driving a new car, brewing on a new system with new recipes takes some time before you can take off on the highway. I spoke with some of the Dudes’ and they are passionate about creating a great brewery and have the equipment and canning line to back them up. These are not just some Dudes brewing, they are part of a vanguard of beer coming from Torrance and I predict that they will be making their brewing equipment fly like a time travelin’ DeLorean before we know it.
Your Beer of the Week is not from Torrance but from Atwater Village, (See next paragraph for more on this neighborhood) Golden Road/Tony’s Darts Away – Darts Away Imperial IPA was brewed especially for the 3rd anniversary of Tony’s Darts Away and was released at Midnight last Friday. This collaborative effort between the folks behind the bar at Tony’s and the brewers at Golden Road is true to the Imperial name but with bright zesty orange notes in the aroma and in the flavor. It would be an excellent flight with Point the Way IPA and Wolf Among Weeds.
Your Homework is to check out the website for the Atwater Village Beer, Wine & Food festival to be held on Sunday, April 28, 2013. This will be the first event of its kind to be held in Atwater Village. Twelves breweries will be pouring including locals like Eagle Rock and Golden Road as well as Firestone Walker, Lagunitas and Deschutes. It will give you a chance to scope out the local beer spots like Link ‘n Hops and 55 Degree Wines on Glendale Boulevard.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.