When Green Cheek Beer Co. opened last year, with former Noble Ale Works brewer Evan Price as a partner and head brewer, the expectations were sky-high. Price teamed with Noble Ale Works CEO Brian Rauso to take over the space where Valiant Brewing had been; though it brewed some tasty beer, Valiant was unable to survive financially, a rare victim of the craft beer explosion but something we might see more often as breweries continue to open at such a brisk pace. But according to Rauso, Green Cheek Beer Co. is already two years ahead of its business plan, and more staff have been hired more staff. Expect Green Cheek to add Thursdays to its Friday-through-Sunday schedule around Jan. 18—great news for its fans, as well as customers looking to try some of the best-tasting suds in Orange County.
As with his brilliant stint at Noble, Price is in a groove, releasing new beers and collaborating with other breweries, as well as perfecting the trendy hazy IPA. I can honestly say I wasn’t a fan of the hazy style, but I have had some phenomenal ones lately, and I really believe our West Coast brewers are making what was originally an exclusively East Coast style of beer into a hybrid with even more hops and trademark juiciness and absolutely no bitter aftertaste.
Green Cheek currently offers three hazy IPAs. I enjoyed the Passionfruit Agenda (6.6 0x000Apercent ABV); I’ve found that fruit to be among the most perfect to use in an IPA, as it’s not too sweet and doesn’t overwhelm. The Amarillo and simcoe hops add some pine and citrus notes, resulting in a full-flavored juice-and-hop bomb, fresh AF with a clean finish. I also had to try the Australian for Pale, a 5.8 percent ABV double-dry-hopped ale with New Zealand cascade hops from Freestyle Farms. The New Zealand cascade hops are not as bitter as the U.S.’s, and the double-dry-hopping gives this pale ale a mild side. There’s plenty of delicious flavor in this thirst-quencher!
There are 15 beers on the Green Cheek menu, among them a Shandy, a blonde ale, a brown ale, even a michelada. Since Price is known for his IPAs, I had West in Peace, an 8.1 percent ABV double West Coast IPA, with Amarillo (my favorite!) and Citra hops—BOOM. Not for the faint of hop, this DIPA did not disappoint. It almost drinks like a triple IPA! I took my time, enjoying every last sip.
Pet- and child-friendly, Green Cheek is a great place to stop before a Ducks game. There’s a separate bar for Crowler and Growler fills, and food trucks are available, though you’re welcome to bring your own grub. CHEERS!