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Brewer Q & A – Summer 2016 (Issue 25)

For beers that receive a score of "Exceptional" or above (91+), we've asked the brewer a few questions regarding that beer's origins.

 


95 Rating – Ska Brewing Co. – Decadent Imperial IPA

Responses from Ska brewer Thomas Larsen.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
The original recipe for Decadent was created for our 10th anniversary and was meant to be a robust reincarnation of Pinstripe (one of our flagships) but, at the time, there was no Imperial Red category so we geared it to an Imperial IPA instead.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
I love how the immediate burst of hop bitterness quickly transforms into candied grapefruit awesomeness.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
10th anniversary, from Deca, having ten, and decadent, reflecting a state of moral or cultural decline, or luxuriously self-indulgent. I find them both fitting!

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Um…..Decadent? That's one word; yeah, I’ll stick with that.

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
We just recently had a customer ask if we use grapefruit in the Decadent because she read some reviews and thought it might interfere with her medication. We assured her that there is no fruit of any kind in this beer and that the flavor comes only from the hops.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
Coming from the southwest, any spicy Mexican is a natural fit with Decadent, but spicy Indian curry will be just as delicious.

Photo Credit: Scott Smith


94 Rating – Belching Beaver Brewing Co. – Ol' Dirty Barrel

Responses from Belching Beaver brewmaster Troy Smith.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
I did.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
We age this beer in Ol’ Dirty Barrels, and I wanted to reference the late great ODB from Wu-Tang Clan. :)

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?”
My desert Island beer would have to be our Dammed Double IPA, because it has tons of drinkability, a higher ABV to “get the job done,” and you can’t get a DUI on a desert island...

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Whiskey, figs, raisins, wood characteristics, caramel, sweet undertones. Good Times.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
Juicy ribeye steaks or chocolaty desserts.


94 Rating – Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits – Watermelon Dorado

Responses from Ballast Point VP of Brewing & Distilling Jamie Murray.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
We like to think that ALL of our recipes are a collaborative effort. There is no one person responsible for the world-class execution of our beers.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
I love the fact that our team decided to use cucumber alongside the watermelon. It gives this beer added depth and really accentuates the aroma and flavor of watermelon and watermelon rind.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
Dorado (Spanish for golden), in this case, refers to the beautiful common dolphinfish or Mahi Mahi (Hawaiian for very strong). With unmatched variations in color, the vivid Dorado astounds San Diego anglers with its strong aerial fighting ability. Their prized fillets make for some of the finest fish tacos in the world! Two Dorado fish, painted by local artist Paul Elder, grace the label to remind you of the double punch of flavor.

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?”
This beer is a little too high-octane for a desert island. Mango Even Keel is more my style.

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Another home run by the best team in the biz.

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
We are constantly experimenting with our brands, whether it be in R&D or via our cask program. This happened to be a beer that we ran through our tasting rooms on the beer engines and was very well received. We decided to brew a small batch and “debut” it during LA Beer Week. The response was overwhelming, and we knew we had something special on our hands. That is the beauty of our program: All of the new brands play on core brands, and they all come about organically.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
There's so many options: Gazpacho, Asiago and Manchego Cheeses, Chinese Salt and Pepper Wings with Sweet and Sour Sauce, Avocado, Grapefruit and Shrimp Salad with Buttermilk Dressing, Shrimp Po' Boy, Tomato Panzanella with Shrimp and Basil, Baby Back Ribs with Kansas City BBQ Sauce, Pineapple Custard, Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with bleu cheese, Grilled Corn on the cob freshly covered with butter and salt and prosciutto-wrapped watermelon and brie.


94 Rating – Funky Buddha Brewery – Wide Awake It's Morning

Responses from Funky Buddha owner and brewer Ryan Sentz.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
I did, about 5 years ago.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
At this point where the beer is, I really enjoy the balance of all the flavors. I think when we first started brewing it, it was more maple-heavy.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
We tend to use a lot of 80s pop culture references or music references, and this one came from the name of a 2005 Bright Eyes album.

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?”
No way! I tend to think of desert island beers in two ways. One, I always picture it being really hot, so it would have to be something I would want on a hot day. Next, it would have to be something that was kind of neutral, so you didn't get too sick of any particular flavor. For me, our Floridian Hefeweizen fits the bill perfectly.

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
We've always described the smaller 6% version of this beer as "evoking a complete diner-style breakfast in a glass." So I think that same description applies here.

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
Not really a story, but I always love seeing people's reaction when first trying or smelling this beer. We get a lot of "holy shit" reactions, which always make us smile.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
I'm not great at pairing, but we've done a lot of dinners involving this beer. Typically, this goes well with dark chocolate as the bitterness of the chocolate pairs really nicely with both the coffee and maple.


94 Rating – Rogue Ales & Spirits – 8 Hop IPA

Responses from Rogue founder and brewmaster John Maier.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
After making 7 Hop, we thought, "Why stop at 7? Why not use every hop we grow in the rich Willamette Valley soil at Rogue Farms to make what we call the boss of the Hop Family?" So we did. 

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
The strong malt backbone that you can sink your teeth into and the big hop punch that follows. ​

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
The number of hop varietals in the beer. The bottle uses the hops to form the number 8 -- it also serves as a field guide-style drawing; if you were to take the bottle out to the hopyard with you in the summer, you could easily identify each hop in your beer. 

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Brash, burly, imperial, unforgettable.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
Veggie burger with Rogue blue cheese.


94 Rating – Rogue Ales & Spirits – Rogue American Amber Ale

Responses from Rogue founder and brewmaster John Maier.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
The deep, burnt caramel malt flavor. 

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
American Amber was originally known as Ashland Amber as it was created at Rogue's original brewpub in Ashland, Oregon, which was destroyed by flooding not too soon after opening. It was renamed "American" because it represents more than the town in which it was brewed (which is now Newport, Oregon); American Amber reflects Rogue's commitment to brewing complex ales of distinction and Rogue's philosophy of placing no restraints on style or amount of ingredients in its quest to revolutionize beer in America.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
Oregon crab cakes or Mo's Clam Chowder (Oregonian-style clam chowder).


94 Rating – Blackberry Farm Brewery – Summer Saison

Responses from Blackberry Farm head brewer Daniel Heisler.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
Its bright, tropical hop flavor and dry, spicy finish.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
The Australian Summer Hop and also the season we release the beer, Summer.

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?”
Summer Saison would be fantastic sipped underneath the coconut palms of Clipperton Island with some fresh, fire-grilled crabs. Let's go!

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
We were inspired by a great hop from Australia, “Australian Summer.”  We wanted a tropical and refreshing beer that was a combination of flavors from mixing the Saison and American Pale Ale styles. 

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
I think Summer is fabulous with grilled meats and BBQ as well as spicy dishes like Curries and Thai cuisine.


94 Rating – Ska Brewing Co. – True Blonde

Responses from Ska brewer Thomas Larsen.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
True Blonde was the first beer brewed by Ska and was created by Dave and Bill back when they were still young and good-looking, as well as Kyle Carstens, their brewer/consultant/longtime friend, who was running the Wynkoop Brewery at the time while helping them get started.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
I love the smooth maltiness and the way the hops give it a crisp, balanced finish.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
When Bill and Dave were writing their business plan on the back of a bar napkin, Kyle asked them for a name for their first beer, which, obviously, was a blond ale, and their response was tinged with depravity and something about the short and curlies. In that moment, True Blonde was born.

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Golden, malty goodness.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
True Blonde is excellent with salads. Just enough sweetness to cut the acidity of a vinaigrette and a sparkling personality to cleanse the palate.

Photo Credit: Scott Smith


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