Posts Tagged Green Flash
If I haven’t mentioned it before, the cold weather holidays are my favorite time of year- if not for the pageantry, cooler temperatures and the time with family and friends, then for the seasonal beers released by breweries everywhere. Green Flash Brewing Company has come out with a beer that could not fail to get me into the holiday spirit: Green Flash Jolly Folly IPA (7.7% abv).
It poured deep golden with sudsy head sitting on top. Hoppy, spicy and piney aromas joined some fruity sweetness to remind me that the holiday season is upon us. As I moved my nose around the glass (something I have been experimenting with to get different aromas), the smell became somewhat malty. It tasted hoppy up front, with a hefty dose of strong floral flavors. A tropical frutiness came next, with a little spiciness. Moderate hoppiness took the drink into a middle that was medium-bodied and lightly carbonated. It finished happy, with only a little spice and some malts to smooth things out.
Overall a pretty dynamic holiday drink.
Cellar 3 is a new brewery that Green Flash Brewing opened up in Poway. It struck me as Green Flash gussied up. Lots of canvases adorned the walls featuring works by local painters and moody accent lighting helped with the overall art studio look of the place. Walking in, visitors have to head to the left past the brewing area which featured giant wooden barrel brew tanks. That lead to the hallway-like expanse that is the tasting room. On the right is the tasting bar and the left is a the back wall that awkwardly features only one door to a good size outside patio area, complete with a food truck. The whole brewery was brand new when I visited, having opened only 3 weeks earlier, so it still had a bit of an unfishished feel to it.
Unfortunately, so too did the beers I tried. I decided to try a sampler, as this is the best way to taste as many of a brewery’s offerings as possible and still be able to walk out under my own power (I’m usually a lightweight). I started with Natura Morta with Cranberry. It poured like juice: bright red and almost no head, except for the slightest hint of bubbles. Very tart aromas of cranberry were all I could get from the smell. The taste was very tart and sour. It was like a kick in the teeth it was so strong. “Astringent” is a good word to describe some beers and I think it is definitely appropriate here. The acidity in this beer was WAY up there, making it borderline unpleasant. The middle was none too smooth, either, with an unpleasant sticky sweetness that followed the overpowering sweetness. It finished very tart and sticky, which I think was my mouth’s way of rejecting this concoction. Sorry, Green Flash…this one did not do it for me:
Hoping to recover from this last assault on my taste buds, I tried an interesting, incredibly complex-sounding one: Fresco Sauvage with Brett, a Belgian-style saison, aged in red wine barrels. Looking back, this may not have been the best choice following such as palate-killer as the cranberry one, but, alas… This one poured a light hazy yellow color, with smooth head that streaked around the glass. It had a bright, slightly sour aroma that seemed refreshing. There was little else to distinguish in the smell. The taste was indeed sour, but light mouthfeel and the bright flavor of citrus helped keep it at bay. Lemons and grassiness defined the middle of the drink and the light body and smooth carbonation helped move mostly just the lemon flavor through the finish. Interesting, but just ok:
Last, I tried the Noir Sauvage Dark Lager, a black IPA also brewed with brettanomyces. These are what give so-called ‘wild ales’ their wildness. This beer poured black with a lovely cap of tan sticky head. It smelled very rich, like chocolate, bourbon and sugar. The taste was every bit as rich, with a huge sugary rush at the outset, followed by bourbon and malts. Medium-thick mouthfeel with little carbonation made it feel rather heavy. The middle is bourbony with notes of dark fruits. It finished rich, with a touch of bourbon. An interesting beer here, but still mostly unremarkable:
Although I enjoyed my trip to this new spot, the beers I tried left something to be desired. I will be back and I can’t wait to see what they’ll do when they are a little more settled in.
Ok, straight off the top, I have to make a correction: I jumped the gun and posted some of the pictures under Day 1 that were actually part of the Day 2 festivities. So, here we go…
Day 2 started normally enough. I went for my morning run, came home and read the news with breakfast. Then, after some other mundane stuff, I headed over to good ol’ KnB to see what they were up to for the occasion. They were celebrating by featuring brews from Green Flash Brewing. I hadn’t had anything from Green Flash in a while, so I was excited to see what was on tap.
There was certainly no shortage of choices. I decided on the Hop Head Red. This double red IPA brings the hops, certainly, but didn’t take my head off with the bitter burn that normally comes with such a big beer. It poured a deep orange-red color, with creamy white head that really stuck to the glass. There were lots of hops on the smell with a little fruit, though mostly floral aromas came through. At first, it tasted like I was drinking liquified hops, as the bitterness about knocked my palate clean out of my head. In fact, it reminded me a little of Ballast Point’s Tongue Buckler. There was little in the taste of the floweriness that came through on the aroma. It was bitter straight through to the finish. Not a terrible beer, if only for the creaminess of the head, but definitely one I would drink only sparingly.
The second one I tried while at KnB was pretty much the Pièce de résistance of big (huge, really) bourbon barrel aged beers, as far as I am concerned. If you like bourbon, which I do, you will like this beer. At 16.5%, I opted to split this one with a friend and it still left me wanting nothing. Well, maybe a little more, but you know what they say about discretion being the better part of valor and all.
This poured black with dark brown head that dissipated quickly and left the glass clean. The aroma was all bourbon off the top, with some spice notes toward the end. I also got some rich chocolatiness, as well. Moving on to the taste, I knew what to expect: bourbon was all up front, before moving to the chocolate flavors and a little spice on the finish . This was likely from the bourbon, not that I minded.
Good and done with our libations at KnB, we headed inside to see what they had in their fridges. It took me all of a minute to spot the two (yes, I only got two) I wanted: Ninkasi Believer and Ballast Point Homework Series Batch No. 4 Pumpkin Ale. These are easily my two most favorite beers I have ever had (and I am making a note here) EVER!
The red comes from my favorite brewery, so you know it is good. It poured a dark red, with foamy head that sticks around a little while, though not on the sides of the glass. The smell is of roasted malts, with just a touch of hoppy bittersweet aromas. The taste is much the same, with a nice refreshing quality that may have been helped by the slight hoppiness to lighten things up a bit. All in all, a really good beer.
Then– oh then– I came to the Ballast Point Pumpkin Ale. This is far and away the best pumpkin ale I have had to date. None of my expectations came close before trying this one. It poured dark red-brown with lots of carbonation and quickly dissipating white head. It did not smell too sweet and had a little spice and some bitterness that gave me hope beyond hope that this pumpkin ale was not like any other. The taste confirmed that it was not. The first thing I tasted was a slightly sweet spiciness with some vegetable-like bitterness to follow and heavy carbonation to break it up. The carbonation dissipates quickly to allow the light sweetness to come back through on the finish with a hint of warm malts and some lingering bitterness. In case it was not obvious, I really enjoyed this beer. So much so, I am bringing the very two bottles you see together above to Thanksgiving Day dinner in a couple of weeks. A perfect compliment to a turkey dinner, methinks.
That wraps up SDBW2014 Day 2. Check back tomorrow for Day 3 goings on!
Last night I had the opportunity to go to the Greenflash Brewing Company. I was a little afraid of this one, since I had yet to fully check out their selection. I only knew them as purveyors mainly of IPA style beers, which don’t like me very much (they give me heartburn that feels like a volcano in my chest). Despite having a menu made up mostly of IPAs, turns out they have a few really good brews.
I started out with with a Double Stout Black Ale. This was an excellent place to start, not the least of the reasons being that stout is one of my favorite styles of beer…the nearly 9% abv helped, too. It was served in a 13 oz. tulip glass, which was a little fancy, but a pleasant surprise compared to the 8 oz. glasses I normally find in tasting rooms. The head was a nice rich tan color, hugged the sides of the glass only slightly and didn’t really hang around too long. It had a nice caramel smell, with a little bit of bitterness. The taste was rich and slightly creamy, with not much alcohol taste, but the warmth showed up toward the end. Overall, a very mellow beer that I would definitely recommend.
Next, I decided to go a little lighter and had the East Village Pilsner, a very light and fresh-tasting beer that is very easy to drink. There wasn’t much head on it and it smelled every bit as clean as it looked. At 5.3% it is a nice cool down beer.
Except that I didn’t stop there and had a taster of Hamilton’s 7th Anniversary- Junior IPA– I know, I know, it’s an IPA. This was actually pretty mellow as IPAs go. It had a bright red color with bright white head. It smelled heavily of the hoppy character you would expect from any IPA, but the taste was actually a little malty at first. The hoppiness came immediately after, but dissipated quickly to leave the floral notes I expected at the top.
All in all, it was a great trip to a brewery I had initially expected to not like too much. Surprises are the name of the game. After all, ’tis the season!