Sweltering hot summer days call for refreshing ales – not just to satiate thirst or cool you off, but also because of the release of countless summer seasonals. Here to present them (and so much more) is the OCBG Festival. This year, the one-of-a-kind festival featured more than 140 different craft brews – many from OC, but including friends from all around, here to pour their craft. With a plethora of beers to choose from, it was hardly possible to sample suds from each brewery. If this year’s event is predictive, then next year’s attendees will be in for a great treat – but until then, I must say we’re pretty damn spoiled with craft beer in Orange County.
Pineapple Diesel DIPA – RIIP Brewing, ABV 8%
Aloha tastebuds, welcome to your tropical paradise – let’s lounge here for awhile. This beer is filled with excessive qualities of dank resinous hops and coupled with lush notes of juicy pineapple, citrus and passion fruit. Definitely a strain (of beer…yeah, of beer) worth trying. Ditch the dole whip and sip on some vivacious pineapple diesel.
OC Cheese Brett IPA – Good Beer Company, ABV 7.5%
This beer was one of the highlights of the festival. Like Good Beer itself, it’s not flashy or ‘out-there’ – really, it lives in a world of understated beauty. The Brett takes the sharper notes of a typical west coast IPA and smooths them out – chamfering the edges to create a clean transition all across the flavor spectrum. Dry, biting, and earthy, this brew takes the style to a satisfying new level.
Bourbon Barrel Aged HI- Croixson – TAPS Fishouse & Brewery, 12%
A robust, imperial stout lovingly aged in bourbon barrels aged and infused with Bohdi leaf Columbian coffee beans, chocolate and vanilla. Viscous. Bold. Deep. Notes of brûléed candied brown sugar linger while warming bittersweet notes of chocolate please on the finish. If you have an intense craving for a rich BBA stout this beer will do the trick.
Unicorn Juice – Artifex Brewing Company, ABV 5.0%
If ye see the white one, split your lungs for him!
Unicorns are like whales (well, really more like Narwhals – but go with me on this, it’s not a Sierra Nevada article). And, like whales, if you want to experience them, you’ll usually have to wake up early and wait around a while – just for the chance of being near one. Fortunately, Artifex has managed to find the right place, time, and setting to maintain a strong whale (unicorn) program – at least enough to juice them (how does one juice a unicorn? Actually, I don’t care how – it’s delicious, and I don’t want it ruined for me.) This American wheat goes down smooth with fruity acid, sweetness, and pleasant hoppiness.
Green Cheek Brewing – Orange
As if the Orange County scene wasn’t already blessed with an abundance of brewing talent, the infamous Evan Price (formerly of Noble Brewing) has finally laid down his own foundations in Orange. He proudly poured his beers just like the skipper from Gilligan’s Island – equipped with tiki umbrella and all. From IPA to lager, I was clearly impressed with Green Cheeks’ line-up at the festival. It will be exciting to see what other beer Evan and partner Brian have to unleash into the beer world.
Cheers to all Orange County breweries for your hard work and to OCBG director Jacquelyn Fields for hosting!