Signal Hill now has a local brewery to call its own as Ten Mile Brewing opened late last month on Willow Street just across from the city cemetery, which is perfect for the coming Halloween holiday.
Ten Mile is a father-son operation. Dan and Jesse Sundstrom began home-brewing out of their garage in Southern California nine years ago before making the leap to the professional ranks. The brewery is named for a tributary creek of Hume Lake.
The Sundstroms constructed everything in the taproom by hand and the resulting space is open and airy with a couch nook, bar seating, and plenty of space to enjoy the beers on the menu which, on the whole, are at a strong starting point for a new brewery.
I sampled five of their six beers on a recent visit and came away impressed by two styles that are rarely seen in this beer day and age. Discovery Well is an amber ale that is smooth with a touch of caramel. Hidden Hollow is a Kentucky Common (a slight variant from Steam Beer) that is brewed with historically accurate ingredients and starts out tasting a bit too light, but as it warms the flavors grow on you.The Segway to Munich Helles is the best named of the bunch and is crisp and clean. Oddly enough, those three beers were my favorites over traditional crowd pleasers like pale ale and IPA.
There is no need to be scared of this new brewery though the tale of the mausoleum that went missing from the cemetery might send a shiver down your spine.
For the BEER OF THE WEEK, put the Pixies, “Where is My Mind” onto your playlist and pop open the latest IPA from Ninkasi Brewing, First Rule. This Eugene, Oregon, brewery has been putting out some excellent lighter beers – especially their Helles – but that doesn’t mean they have forgotten the hoppy side. First Rule has a touch of minty aroma and a lime/citrus flavor paired with medium hop bite. You can talk to your friends about this beer.
This week’s HOMEWORK is to watch (or re-watch) the scathingly funny Last Week Tonight. John Oliver did a piece about corporate consolidation that touched on the growing consolidation of companies from airlines to beer. Of particular interest is Oliver calling out Goose Island Brewery, which SABInBev desperately wants to keep on the down low. Breweries like Ten Mile and Ninkasi are the small business backbone that we should be rewarding.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.