With many new breweries opening, it seems like they’re coming in for crash landing. With others, it seems like they’re still on the runway about to take off. With Towne Park’s opening last year, I wasn’t sure what to think. Their “White Ale Beer” tasted like a Hefeweizen, the IPA had notes of Pine Sol, and their lager tasted like it needed a couple more weeks in the tank. I was confused as to how a business could invest so much into infrastructure and not hire the right brewer. Surely, it’s like the scene in the movie Airplane! where the stewardess makes an announcement, “…is there anybody on board that knows how to fly a plane?” and everyone on board freaks out.
Six months later, founder Brett Lawrence was still as enthusiastic as a caffeine-overdosed spin class instructor. “We learned a lot in the last few months,” he told me…hand on my shoulder, eyes slightly welling up, “we had to hire a new brewer.”
This past week on my normal brewery rounds, I was struck with a Towne Park beer so well made, I had to order a second to be sure.
The beer is Towne’s Chela Mexican Lager, and although it’s very delicate in approach, it’s a beverage that is excruciatingly difficult to pull off. It’s bright, crisp, clean, and crushable. Brewer/consultant Andy Marshal utilized Towne’s horizontal lagering tanks during production, allowing the Mexican lager yeast to drop out (flocculate) faster. Although the beer is made with flaked corn and two-row barley, the telltale “corn stank” one might get from a traditional Mexi-lager is very minimal in Chela. It’s so good!
Although Towne Park is still on the proverbial runway, it seems like their nose is pointing up and finally headed in the right direction. Stay tuned for their 1st-anniversary party announcement next month! It might be a great time to get re-acquainted.
Towne Park, 1566 W. Lincoln Ave, Anaheim, (714) 844-2492; towneparkbrew.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, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest. When not writing about, photographing or filming beer, cocktails, and food, he can be found talking trash while playing video games under the name “OCBeer.”