On the Line: Matt Strickland of The Bruery, Part Three
Photo by LP Hastings

On the Line: Matt Strickland of The Bruery, Part Three

"If you drink enough Black Tuesday, you're willing to do anything."

The following is an intro from The Bruery's own barrel program manager (a.k.a. wood cellerman). We thought instead of a recipe, why not discuss some of the best The Bruery has to offer? He already sold us on our glass of their Trade Winds Tripel and Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast (not by Bruery, but an excellent brew), so we trust him to talk his way through Part Three. Take it away, Matt.

Read our interview with Matt Strickland of The Bruery, Part Two.
And now, onto Part Three. . . .

So it's Friday night, and you're feeling like a little TGIF tie-loosening is in order. You've heard through the proverbial grapevine about The Bruery and that our new tasting room is now open. You have also heard that we're awesome because, well . . .we are. Sounds like your car's GPS is about to get friendly with the lovely town of Placentia, California.

For the uninitiated, The Bruery Tasting Room can be a bit daunting. Not many breweries boast upwards of 40 taps in their tasting rooms, and even fewer can claim that all those beers are their own. Don't worry. I'm here to help. The following is a list of Bruery beers that are some of my personal favorites. We make a wide variety of beers, and the taps are always changing. So if something on this list strikes your fancy, but isn't listed on our tap board, just ask one of our oh-so-friendly bartenders. They won't lead you astray.

Matt's Five Bruery Recommendations
OR Drinking At The Bruery 101

(in no particular order)

1. Loakal Red, 6.9%, Available year round
Loakal Red is our take on the West Coast Red Ale. Of course, this being The Bruery, we couldn't just do a simple, hoppy red.

Part of this beer is aged in new American oak barrels. Aromas of hoppy citrus, malty caramel, vanilla and oak bounce off the head of this amber hued beer. The flavor is of balanced bitterness with a malty backbone. This brew will hang out just fine with your favorite burger. Hell, break a bottle out at your neighbor's next grill-out. And bring his lawnmower back . . . his yard is looking rough.

2. Otiose, 8.2%, Released January 2012
Otiose is a sour brown ale with guava. That's right. You read me: Guava. And it's definitely tasty. This is one of our bigger sours at 8.2%, but that doesn't mean it isn't refreshing.

Sour-phobes need not apply. This is a beautifully sour ale with lots of tropical fruit aromas, and a slight roasty maltiness with a touch of chocolate under the lactic sourness. I'd put this one up against some Hawaiian pork chops because tropical themed beer pairings don't happen often enough.

3. Sans Pagie, 5.4%, Released January 2012
This is another of our sour ales, produced in the style of a Belgian-Kriek, and it's one of my personal favorites right now.

Essentially it's our blonde ale aged with cherries, and it will convert even the most ardent haters of sour beers. Aromas and flavors of cherries, oak, vanilla, barnyard, funk and more . . .this beer is more complicated than programming a VCR. And like VCRs, this beer won't exist too much longer. Grab a bottle while you can. This one screams dessert either with chocolate or cheeses. A good goat cheese would pair wonderfully. And chocolate cake. You love cake. Are you shocked that I know that? Well I'm shocked that you think that there's someone out there that might not like cake.

4. Mischief, 8.5%, Available year round
Mischief is our hoppy golden strong ale. This was one of the first beers I tried from The Bruery, and it was the beer that made me know that I wanted to work for them. Once you try it, I think you'll understand why.

It has a lot of fragrant and floral hop character coupled with notes of bananas and cloves and a hint of pepper. It's effervescent and refreshing. At 8.5%, it is also very sneaky. Toss together your favorite pasta dish with a pesto sauce, and I'll bet this beer will make you a happy camper.

5. White Oak, 11.5%, Release varies
White Oak is a 50/50 blend of Mischief with our Bourbon barrel-aged wheat wine, a beer that we brew specifically to blend into other beers such as this.

White Oak is a big, complex beer with notes of vanilla, coconut, caramel and bourbon; hanging cool with a warming malt sweetness that somehow all adds up to a brew that is still very refreshing. At 11.5%, you should bring a friend for this one. I'm not saying you have to share, but maybe they can be your designated driver. They probably owe you one, anyway.

Food with a beer this big can be tricky. The flavors are bold and powerful, and would probably bully all but the most powerful of flavors. This is really a dessert beer, and by that I mean it's a dessert all on its own. Pour yourself a glass next to a warm fire on a cool night (if such things exist in Southern California).

If you're wondering whether recent earthquakes/aftershocks shook up the barrels over where Matt works, here's his response, "Nope, but they sure as hell affected me! I've never been in an earthquake before!" Can't say that anymore, Matt.

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