On facebook last week, I got a chuckle from Phantom Ales owner Robert Gundling, when responding to a Vinepair article about what the worst trends in beer are. His reply, “worst trend in beers…the beer writers.” While I agree that the vast amount of food media, in general, has barfed into a conglomeration of listicles and hot takes guaranteed to generate clicks; slam dunk articles mentioned above are a way for a writer to spend minimal effort doing a simple e-blast, re-writing quotes from those that replied into coherent blurbs, and getting a quick fifty bucks. I know, because I’ve done my fair share.
Any negative, or worst-of style pieces do not equal great criticism, but these types of articles get exorbitant shares. My good friend Peter David who manages the wildly popular @worstbeerblog is proof of this phenomenon, and while his posts that blast Golden Road memes and screenshots of brewery drama garner quite the following from industry insiders and fans alike, we all love him to death. But what’s lacking from his feed are where I’m going to learn about what’s good in the local brewing scene…its more of where not to go at the expense of a daily laugh.
Now to our beer of the week, at Robert Gundling’s Phantom Ales that’s located off the La Palma Beer Trail, is a window-less, always-packed speakeasy with a brewery, cidery, meadery, a kitchen with tasty bites…and oh yeah, they also have a homebrew shop. My dramatic hot take: Phantom Ales is making some of the best IPA in the area, which is saying something considering our brewing pedigree here in Orange County is sort of ridiculous.
Brewer Bryan Hendrickson took over the beer-making within the last year, and despite their somewhat offensive girls with boobs can art that would sell-well at a Bakersfield truck stop, what’s inside the can is truly incredible. Their beer Flying Brick double IPA is 8.3% and hopped with apollo and mosaic…a west coast hoppy adventure that reminds me of the first time I drank some of the world’s finest west coast IPA. On one side, it’s got Pizza Port Kook, a tinge of Noble’s Nobility, and perhaps a smidge of riip’s Raider Bob. The mosaic is deep and blueberry dank, cleaner than hotel sheets, and is worthy of a trip. I’m not big into double IPA, but damn, this beer is incredible.
What’s your hot take? Haven’t been to Phantom since Bryan took over brewing? Now’s the time to form a second opinion.
Phantom Ales is at 1211 N Las Brisas St, Anaheim, (714) 225-3206, phantomales.com.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening on June 29th in Anaheim!