Once again, it’s time for another edition of Rambling Reviews. This time, the focus is on brews from California’s Central Coast.
Starting with Davey Brown for Figueroa Mountain Brewing, which is, as the name alludes to, a Brown Ale. When was the last time a Brown Ale made you go “Wow”? Now when was the last time a Brown Ale made you go “Wow” that wasn’t tricked up with all sorts of additions like cacao nibs or Kona coffee? It’s just a “regular” Brown, but with all sorts of layers of flavor. There’s noticeable coffee flavors, some nuttiness, caramel, and light smokey character. Maybe Figueroa slipped some sort of spices or additions into this without admitting it on the bottle or their website, but it just has a few extra dimensions beyond the usual Brown Ale. Really impressive effort.
Next up is Julicious IPA from Santa Maria Brewing. Santa Maria calls this a New England Style IPA, but it didn’t look that cloudy to me and it’s fortified with pineapple juice. I picked up a bomber bottle of this last week on vacation on the Central Coast, which means it spent an afternoon in the warm trunk of my car all the way, a great way to tamp down those hop flavors. Despite these less than ideal storage conditions, this brew still retained plenty of fresh fruit flavors of pineapple and grapefruit, with sticky resin held up with some solid malt heft.
Last week’s vacation included a stop at Firestone Walker’s Tap Room in Paso Robles where they were pouring Union Jane IPA, a riff on their popular Union Jack. Union Jane is a collaboration fundraiser with the Pink Boots Society, using a blend of Palisade, Simcoe, Mosaic and Citra Hops from YCH Hops specifically for Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day. This one has plenty of bright mango and citrus flavors yielding to a lightly piney finish. Unfortunately, it’s only seems to be available at the Firestone Walker tap room. We can only hope Firestone Walker realizes what it has on its hands and releases it for wider distribution.
(Figueroa Mountain Brewing sent me a bottle of Davey Brown for review.)