Mini Brewery Tour Saturday: Hess and Alesmith

9 Aug

Aaaaand it’s Monday again. What better way to shoo away a case of the Mondays than to reminisce about the fun beery activities I participated in this weekend?

 On Saturday my friend Bekah and I attended the grand opening celebration of Hess Brewing Co. The festivities started at 12:30, so when we rolled up at 12:32 I was a little surprised to see the line to get beer extending all the way into the parking lot. Apparently other people had the same “get there early” idea that we did. We parked it at the end of the line, checked out the menu board, and got the tasting flight when we got to the bar. For ten bucks I got the glass and six tastes. Not shabby. They’ve got an interesting mix of styles that they brew there. We started with their Kolsch:

 It’s called Claritas(5.8%ABV 23.3 IBUs), and is “right in the center of the Kolsch-Konvention standards. Pours a light straw color, light, refreshing, crisp,” according to their taster list. This one was not my favorite. It just didn’t have that bright, refreshing taste that I was expecting from it.

After we downed that taste we moved on to their Jucundus Orange Honey Wheat (5.8% ABV 20 IBUs):

 It’s “An American-style wheat beer packed with 12 pounds of orange blossom honey from Temecula, 8 ounces of Orange Zest, and plenty of coriander and other spices.” When I first got my hands on this and stuck my face in the glass all I could think was, “It smells like a Creamcicle.” So I was really expecting to get hit with a lot of sweetness when I tasted it, but it had much milder taste. The orange was apparent, but not sugary sweet as the aroma suggested. It had a really fun little carbonation-y tingle at the end.

Next was the Grazias Vienna Cream Ale (5.4% ABV 37 IBUs) modeled by the lovely Bekah: This one I was really intrigued by as “This beer is of our own invention” It was definitely not like anything I’ve ever had before. It smelled just like an A&W Cream Soda, with a shot of maltiness. That’s pretty much where the taste went too. A lot of malty sweetness, a little too much for me. Bekah really liked it though, it was her choice for the post tasting glass fill.

 Next we moved into the higher ABV beers. They make a pretty big jump right in the middle of the tasting from under 6% to 8+%.

First up was The Intrepidus IPA (8.4% ABV 88 IBUs):

Their IPA “is brewed with five different hops and has a simple, complimentary malt bill.” That pretty much sums it up. It was a simple, straightforward IPA. I actually found this more refreshing than the Kolsh.

Next was their Double IPA: Amplus Acerba San Diego Pale Ale (11.3 % ABV 120 IBUs):

I was expecting a lot more bitterness from this one, and fully thought that the alcohol would be more apparent. But I got an enjoyable level of bitterness, it didn’t have that really long linger that a bit too much bitterness can give. And the higher ABV only made itself known when I realized I was talking way too loudly.

And finally we ended on the Ex Umbris Rye Imperial Stout (9.8% ABV 65 IBUs):

 This one turned out to be my favorite of the day. It had a nice roasted taste, which got a little chocolaty too. Had a nice velvety texture. This is the one I chose for my glass fill. 

After all of those tastes, we got our glasses filled once more and meandered outside to enjoy the nice day. There was a gourmet Asian-Mexican fusion lunch truck on site, and everyone kind of took over the parking lot. It was cool to stand there and look around at the diverse crowd who all had the same glass in hand. While we were chit chatting a guy came up with the free t-shirts they were handing out that day. Of course, in true nerd style I squeezed it on over the shirt I was wearing and made Bekah snap a pic:

We had a great time. Thanks, Hess, for a fun event!

After that we drove up the street and stopped at Alesmith for a few tastes and a growler fill. I’ve been craving a little X lately. I tried their Decadence, Old Numbskull, and Nautical Nut Brown. I have to say; Alesmith never fails to impress me with their tasty tasty brews.

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