By: Christine Terrisse

 

 

In a suburban town just minutes away from Disneyland is The Bruery, Southern California’s veritable amusement park of craft beer. With as many options and “lands” to explore as the beloved theme park, there is much to discover at the lauded North Orange County brew house. It is a magical place where all things experimental, bottle-conditioned, open-fermented, barrel-aged and sour reside.

WorldBeerCupAwardsIt is very important for Patrick Rue, founder of The Bruery and his team to be at the forefront of the craft beer industry. In a relatively short seven years, its status, built upon the award-winning homebrew ventures of its owner has turned near legendary.

There is a three-tiered membership plan (their middle tier “The Reserve Society” is apparently at capacity.) Slated to open later this year is an Anaheim tasting room, called Terreux which is dedicated to reaching even further into the wild experimental Belgian world The Bruery is known for. They have a cheese, wine and beer storefront in nearby Orange, called Provisions all while their original location in an industrial park in Placentia is expanding.

Whew. Like a true theme park enthusiast, you can either carefully plan your trip poring over the online menu or remain open to an unplanned experience. I chose the latter on a recent visit to their original facility in Placentia.

I came on a Saturday late afternoon/early evening. The menu is long, but The Bruery makes it easy to choose a flight with paper menus and kind of a buckslip “Flight Sheet” to mark your choices from. I selected a line-up that included Freckle: an e-ticket of an Imperial stout.

AFullTastingRoomAnd it was packed. No fast-passes here. As The Bruery’s reputation has grown, so has its clientele: packing into the relatively cozy tasting room. If you are coming with a group, especially on a weekday afternoon, prepare to wait a little before a table opens up. Take your time choosing your line-up while keeping a hawkeye out for an open table.

As I was alone, I found a spot to perch along the wall where they have some barstools. Carefully arranging my flight and notes along the little ledge and sandwiched next to strangers, I was afforded an opportunity to indulge in one of my favorite aspects of the craft culture–meeting new people. Beer is as complex as wine, but the barriers of formality often give way a little easier in this community. Seated next to me, was a lovely gentleman named Rik who is a frequent patron of The Bruery.

When I asked Rik, an architect, what it is that brings him back, he told me that although he has always loved wine, he was introduced to craft beer by his son. It’s something they enjoy together even though today, Rik is enjoying a solo flight. Alone or in company, he enjoys the seasonal beers and variety available with a brewery that is always experimenting–even if it’s to put a new spin on a classic technique.

I’m already hatching my next adventure at The Bruery. Only this time, I’m marking up my map and planning out my park visit.

 

 

Tasting Notes

 

Jardinier 4.9%

A Belgian-style pale ale that I found to be delicately floral and wonderfully grassy.

Trade Winds Tripel 8.6%

Belgian style Tripel with Thai basil. Yes, you read that right. I found it to have a full-bodied, very silky mouthfeel.

Sour in the Rye 2015 7.6%

An oak-aged sour rye ale that I found to be super fruity, yet not cloying. A nice puckering finish.

Saison Rue 2014 9.5%

It’s hard to believe a beer this subtle and simultaneously complex has this high of an ABV. One of The Bruery’s flagship beers, the 2014 farmhouse-style, bottle-conditioned wild-fermented ale. Unlike some saisons, I could really taste the hops.

Freckle 10.8%

As a lover of the chocolate spicy goodness that is mole, I had to try this mole Imperial stout. True to its namesake this beer is chocolate overload with a little spicy kick on the backend.

Blueberry Smoking Wood 12.8 %

One of the more unusual beers I have yet to taste, the BBA smoked Imperial Porter has blueberries, cacao nibs and maple syrup. The blueberry taste is definitely there, in the nose and in the body.