21st Amendment Beer Now at Taco Asylum

Hopheads rejoice! Beer from San Francisco's 21st Amendment Brewery hasn't been sold in Southern California--until today. Starting at tonight's dinner service, they'll have it at Taco Asylum in Costa Mesa.

Yesterday, in a happy bit of synchronicity, I happened to e-mail Taco Asylum and Haven Gastropub's beverage director Wil Dee to ask if he might ever get hold of the 21st Amendment beers. Where was he? In San Francisco, loading up his truck, just like a scene from Smokey and the Bandit. Both 21st Amendment and Taco Asylum believe good beer should be canned, not bottled, so the Asylum will carry three hop-intensive varieties in cans.

Brew Free Or Die IPA: It's 21st Amendment's best-selling beer, a golden Imperial Pale Ale uses six kinds of hops with a whopping 70 International Bittering Units (IBU's) and 7.0% alcohol.

Bitter American Extra Pale Ale: A late-winter seasonal beer available only for another month, it loads a balance of hops and malt into a lower-alcohol (4.4 percent) ale with 42 IBU's.

Back in Black IPA. Brewed like an aggressively hopped American IPA but with the addition of dark malts, this was "inspired by Paul Revere's midnight ride" against the British style of IPA. It uses four kinds of malt and four hop varieties added in three stages and contains 65 IBU's, and 6.8 percent alcohol.

Taco Asylum has a rotating stock of about two dozen canned beer selections, and, like the rest, these three new flavors cost $6.

Taco Asylum 2937 S. Bristol St. # B102, Costa Mesa, (714) 922-6010; tacoasylum.com


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