The Bruery Provisions, the newly opened Old Towne Orange outlet of the nationally recognized Bruery is class all the way. Starting with the “entrée” on the doors, to the coffee, tea and chocolate you can buy, to their small inventory of wine and their massive selection of beer.
If you walked in without knowing that it was The Bruery you would think you were in a high-end food store. It has a very Williams-Sonoma look to it. The setting (in full Halloween regalia, when I visited) is soothing and calm. Until you get to the beer aisle and the drooling begins.
I picked up the Odonata saison from Sacramento, which I have not seen in Los Angeles. I grabbed a Rogue John-John of Hazelnut beer aged in rum barrels. Then I went to the big stuff (including the beer of the week). The Bruery was not content with their own offerings and added two Provision beers! Gunga Galunga. A dark ale with lime that was absolutely tremendous. I did not think that the citrus could stand up to the dark but it did. It has a bit of a caramel aroma to go with the black color but then the flavors are much more spry and lively. The other Provision beer, Premiere, is still sitting in my ‘fridge. A strong ale aged in bourbon barrels will be brought out when the weather turns cold and I need to warm up.
Oddly enough, I was enticed to Provisions more for their flights of beer, which you can check on their Facebook page. On my visit, they were serving two Bruery flights, an IPA flight and the two that I sampled with fellow beer geek, Richard.
First was the OC Flight. The Orange County-born beers consisted of Tustin’s Oktoberfest, Tap’s Cali Gold XPA, Shark Bite Red from Port Brewing, Cismontane’s Black Dawn Coffee stout and Bootlegger’s Black Phoenix. The winner of the flight was Cismontane. The coffee was strong and flavorful and the beer was smooth and delicious. The Tustin offering tasted of pretzel. I am still deciding whether I liked it or not.
The second flight was under the theme of Fruit & Spice and it was an excellent mix of beers. Starting with a tripel from La Rulles, then moving on to Stone’s 10/10/10, then Punkin from Dogfish Head, followed by Deschutes Jubel before finishing with Monstre Rouge (Beer of the Week from last week’s post). The 2010 Jubel was hands down the best of a really strong bunch, minus the Stone beer, which still strikes my palate the wrong way.
This is the second weekend in a row that I have been highly impressed by a beer store. And I didn’t even sample the cheese or charcuterie that was available. So a second visit is already in the works.
Your homework for the week is to check out the website of the 1st Annual Beer Bloggers Conference. This weekend I will be in Boulder, Colorado, with a bunch of my fellow beer enthusiasts, talking about craft beer and the role of the beer blogger. And on Friday night at 10:30 you can follow part of the action live on BeerTap TV even without being there thanks to the magic of the interwebs.
The Beer of the Week is a holiday seasonal that has arrived too early like Christmas decorations in chain stores or Egg Nog in grocery stores. It is The Bruery’s third holiday ale, Three French Hens. I have yet to crack open my bottle. I would like to have a roaring fire and some snow on the ground first. I’m also still deciding if I need more bottles for my cellar. But I would suggest starting with one to save for a great holiday tasting in a few years when we get to the lords that leap.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.