A Visit to The Bruery

I first learned about The Bruery when I tasted Hottenroth Berliner Weiss last winter. Located in Placentia, California, The Bruery specializes in Belgian-style ales with experimental twists and plenty of barrel-aging.

A few weeks ago, I visited Anaheim (home of Disneyland) to attend a work conference. Upon arriving, I was thrilled to learn
Placentia was less than 8 miles from my hotel! After a quick bus ride, I was there.

The Bruery's brewery (I had to do it) and taproom is tucked away in an unassuming industrial park. When I arrived, the small taproom has bustling with activity. For $8, they offer a flight that includes 5 two-ounce pours of your choice and you get to keep the tulip glass (pictured to the right)! Here's what I tasted, in the order I sampled. The Bruery's descriptions are in italics. My comments are in bold.

  • Fruet: “This study beer marks our fourth year, and we are grateful for the outpouring of community.  Together may our supporters, our brewery and this beer grow in complexity and refinement over the years."   Selling for $30 per 750 ml bottle in the taproom, this wasn't available in the flight. So I started my session with a full 6 oz. pour. Good news: It tasted great! Lots of layersplum, caramel, toffee, bourbon. Not so good news: This is a 15.5% ABV behemoth! I only realized that after reading the label (it's quite stealthy). Since I intended to taste the flavors of the other beers, I set Fruet aside.

  • Nottenroth:  “This 2.08% ABV brew was a batch of Hottenroth that took an unexpected turn and did not sour. Fortunately the result was a delicious low-ABV wheat beer brewed with kumquats." Lactobacillus can be maddening.  You dose a beer with it and sometimes nothing happens. Other times, it finds its own way into a beer and infects it (assuming you don't intend for sour). I liked the bright citrus flavor from the kumquats, but I missed the sour twang of Hottenroth. 

  • Saison de Lente: “Our Spring Saison is light blonde in color with a fresh hoppiness and a wild and rustic Brettanomyces character. Lighter in color and alcohol than our Saison Rue, yet equally complex in its own way. Perfect for warmer weather and Spring celebrations."  Mild barnyard, grassy hops, and citrus.

  • Sour in the Rye: “This American Wild Rye Ale was brewed with a substantial portion of rye malt, and the spicy character of the grain asserts itself with clove and pepper in the aroma and flavor. Add in sour cherry notes from our special blend of micro-organisms and vanilla from the red wine barrels and you’ve got a mouthful!"  Definitely sour—not tart! The spicy rye, cherry, and oak meld together seamlessly.  My favorite of the day!

  • Smoking Wood (Bourbon Barrel Aged version):  "Brewed with beachwood and cherrywood smoked malt, and aged in rye whiskey barrels, Smoking Wood is a delicious demonstration of what wood has to offer when it comes to beer. This imperial smoked porter is brewed with a hefty amount of rye malt, contributing to a full body and light spiciness. Toasty oak, caramel and vanilla flavors balance the smokiness, contributing to an intense yet refined flavor profile."  Easily one of the most unique beers I've tasted. I'm not a huge fan of heavy smoke in beers, but the wood flavor combined with bourbon, sweet caramel, and vanilla made this one memorable. 

  • Trade Winds:  "Our Summer seasonal, Trade Winds Tripel is a Belgian-style Golden Ale with a Southeast Asian twist. Instead of using candi sugar (typical for such a beer), we use rice in the mash to lighten the body and increase the gravity, and spice with Thai Basil. The result is an aromatic, digestible and complex beer made for a lazy summer evening. 
    Definitely lighter bodied than most tripels, which was nice. But I couldn't taste the basil. In fairness, it was getting late in the session. 

    • White Oak:  "W
      hite Oak is a blended beer-- 50% wheatwine aged in Bourbon barrels (we call it "White Oak Sap"), and 50% Mischief (our Golden Strong Ale). Vivid caramel, coconut and vanilla flavors blanketed in a crisp yet robust wheat ale, White Oak is an exercise of balance.
      "  Light bourbon flavor, and surprisingly drinkable for an 11.5% ABV beer. Again, note that it's the end of my session.

    Then I finished my Fruet...

    I was totally impressed by the wide variety and quality of The Bruery's beer. It's quite a credit to them considering they're only 4 years old! Their taproom is a beer geek's dream. With so many unique and limited releases, there's always something new to taste. If I lived in the Anaheim area, I would definitely join their Reserve Society.

    I expect I'll be bringing my kids to Disneyland next summer. When I do, I'll make a return trip to The Bruery. Until then, I'll be on the lookout for their uniquely shaped labels and 750 ml bottles when I return to Portland!

    Have you tasted anything from The Bruery? What are your favorites?

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