Threes Brewing

(Brooklyn, NY)

Threes Brewing is huge!  I know that’s a weird way to start an article, but dang.  There was a line around the block for a concert in the upstairs section, there were booths by the kitchen, there was table and bar seating by the bar, and there was an additional heated tent outside the back door. Despite the size it was still packed and took us a little while to find a seat. No option for a flight and a small menu by The Meathook restaurant were a little disappointing, but we ordered a pretty killer burger and some pints.  

My first of Threes was Here Ya Go pale ale.  This one was exceptionally citrusy with a nice sweet to bitter ratio.  Here Ya Go is incredibly fresh, well balanced and crisp right out of the can.

Next up was There You Are (pacifica and loral) IPA.  There were Threes varietals on the menu and I considered a vertical of all Threes, but went with my taste buds instead.  There You Are offered up a nice limey citrus with a subtle sweetness and finish slightly dry. Not the very best of IPAs, but a nice porch sipper.

My last pint was Find and Replace oatmeal stout.  Again, not my favorite of the style, but I was really intrigued by the flavors going on here.  Find and Replace was a tad on the bitter side, but was followed by a pleasant earthiness and an almost root or nut-like quality.  My taste buds are saying unsweetened sassafras.

I don’t have anything bad to say, but I was a bit underwhelmed. I enjoyed my burger and Here Ya Go, but felt a little too cramped and wasn’t really wow’d by the other brews.  All in all I give Threes Brewing a 7.5 out of 10.

Other Half Brewing

(Brooklyn, NY)

Being back for Christmas after this past year and a half in AZ awesome:  Filled with family, friends, good food, and yes, delicious beer. I’ve had one of Other Half’s brews (All green everything IPA) in the past, so when it was suggested to give them a try in person I was all for it.  This place is the definition of a whole in the wall- not in the sense that it’s a dump, in the sense that it is literally not much bigger than a whole. This place would feel uncomfortable if there were more than 10 people in it.  It totally fit in in Brooklyn and we loved the ambiance as soon as we walked in. Tasting glasses and full size pints and snifters we available so I ordered a few and we squeezed into a crowded corner.

First up was Mylar Bags Imp IPA.  This IPA is a total dank juice bomb as the kids are saying these days.  Mylar bags starts off with a big robust hop and finished with citrus and mango.  I really enjoyed this

Next up was the Centennial IPA.  This one was really piney which is typical of a single hop centennial-  not very balanced, but not overly bitter either. Not Other Half’s best IPA, but still outranks quite a few others.

We’ve been out there in orbit stout was definitely drinkable with some light and mellow roasted malts.  There wasn’t much else going on with this by the numbers stout- I expected more out of a 12% abv.

Finishing up with Short, dark, and wired was bad choice.  Thought I picked up a hint of cocoa and vanilla in the beginning, but was blasted with smoke and cigarettes towards the end.  Not a fan.

The darker beers weren’t exactly show stopping, but these guys are pumping our some crazy IPAs nestled in a tiny little spot in BK and are getting no complaints from me.  All in all I give Other Half Brewing Company an 8.1 out of 10.

The Bruery

(Anaheim, CA)

We saved the best for last on our self guided tour of the Anaheim brew scene.  I have had a few barrel aged bottles from Family Rue prior to this visit (Black Tuesday, Grey Monday, Sucre, Anniversary Ale) and I can honestly say I think they are one of the best breweries in the US and the world.  With literally dozens of Brues to choose from we picked out some that really caught our eyes and jumped in.

I tend to start off tastings a little bit lighter and then building up.  I did that this time too, but based on the location- starting “light” wasn’t really light.  I loved Saixon. This unapologetic saison was spicy and fruity with a great body for the style.

The Grade literally tasted like waffle crisp.  I don’t know what else to say. This Baltic porter was a little bit thin, but absolutely delicious.

I wish I had flip flopped Saison Rue and The Grade.  I didn’t hate this second saison, but it wasn’t quite as good as the first or the porter.  Saison Rue joins the list of imperial saisons that have failed to impress me- maybe there’s something lost in the process?

The next beer has definitely been on my ‘want to try’ list.  Tart of Darkness is top three most unique beers I’ve ever had.  Not my favorite stout, but one of my favorite sours. I couldn’t drink tons of these, but I’m really glad I tried it.

There were three varietals of Autumn Maple available.  We decided on the eldest: The 2015 Autumn Maple, bottle conditioned for over a year. I wish we could have done a vertical of them to see how it changed over time.  As it stands- this one was filled with molasses, cloves, and a light banana sweetness from start to finish.

Though the next beer has a similar name I don’t consider it a varietal.  Midnight Autumn Maple had some similar qualities, but in stout form they take on very different characteristics.  This imperial stout wasn’t barrel aged, but was still so thick and creamy that I had to double check. Perfectly sweet with maple and molasses- really well done!

I love Manhattans and I love Dodie.  I’m not entirely sure how to classify this ale, but there was some subtle cherry to start and a citrusy orange finish.

The next beer, Mash & Vanilla, is the only barely wine I’ve ever had on tap.  This one starts right out true to its name: intense sweetness and a mountain of vanilla.  The velvety mouth feel of this barrel aged barley wine will stick in my memory for a while.

I’m not sure if the two are supposed to be compared, but So happens it’s Tuesday draws some really close comparisons to another Bruery barrel aged stout:  Black Tuesday. So happens it’s Tuesday is still roasty and delicious, but if that is an appropriate comparison then it doesn’t quite measure up.

I don’t typically love blends, Melange #14’s mix of a barrel aged strong ale and an imperial stout was almost perfect.  The two styles differ while still complimenting each other. Fourteen comes in with some big booziness that is followed by a mellow roasted toffee.

I may have been getting a little tipsy by the last beer.  Brewery number four on the day and beer near or above 10% abv number eleven at the brewery (this one’s 15.1%).  I wrote “Boom” as my description of White Chocolate. I enjoyed this barrel aged wheat wine and picked up a decent amount of vanilla, but that’s all I can say.  A great way to finish the day!

My expectations were really high as I am already aware of what these guys are brue-ing and they truly did not disappoint.  There are a couple tastings I’ve been on that have come close, but this was the best tasting I’ve ever done. Huge shout out to The Bruery for a 9.9 out of 10.  Keep doing what you guys are doing.

Anaheim Brewery

(Anaheim, CA)

After a short break from our tour for some amazing Pho and BBQ at the Anaheim Packing House we strolled across the park to the Anaheim Brewery.

Starting off with a Hefe that lead with nice banana, but didn’t finsh with any cloves.  Smooth and creamy, but not my favorite

Following suit with the hefe- the Red was smooth and drinkable, but a little lack luster in the flavor department.

Anaheim’s flagship 1888 is a really nice amber lager.  As the story goes- the first brick was laid in 1888 and this amber lager pays homage to the first brew out of the gate.  For me it’s reminiscent of some of the east coast amber lagers that I fell in love with and grew up on in my craft beer journey.  Well done!

In a world where everyone makes an IPA, whether they’re my favorite or not, your IPA game needs to be on point to stand out from the crowd.   Anaheim’s was citrusy and not great.

At least I saved the best for last.  La Morena is a sultry brunette that I could dance with all night.  Not typically a fan of the style, but this is one of, if not, THE best Mexican lagers I’ve had.  La Morena adds a little substance to her lighter and more summery cousins: Like a woman with more meat on her bones.

Overall, they have two excellent lagers, but the rest fell a little flat when you stack them up to some of today’s competition.  No complaints about the friendliness either, but I give Anaheim Brewery a 6.7 out of 10.

Noble Aleworks

(Anaheim, CA)

Fresh off our Backstreet experience- Noble Ale Works was just a hop skip and a jump away.  Noble is churning out high quality IPAs to beat the band and though I could have made an entire flight of just those we ordered a pint and a flight with some other interesting choices sprinkled in.

The first up was My Favorite Colour.  Not a ton of flavor here, but really smooth and drinkable.  I included on the flight to mix things up, but I’d rather have this in the pool when it’s 100+ degrees.

The second beer up was Life is Pitless- a cherry grisette.  From all I can figure, a grisette is essentially a saison. Saisons were thought of more as a farmer’s beer (hence farmhouse-style) while a grisette was more for factory workers and miners though the difference between the two beers in negligible.

Next up was the best IPA I’ve had in a while and definitely deserving of is silver medal at the GABF.  Nobility Imperial IPA is a little bit on the sweeter side, but well balanced with some citrus and a mild bitterness.  This one’s definitely a king in my book.

If Nobility’s the kind Big Wig IPA is the court jester.  Not sure if it was ruined because it’s not good or because I drank it after Nobility, but I wasn’t a big wi… I mean fan.

In my experience, apricot tends to come out in beer either super sweet or all aroma and no taste.  Apricot’s Dream: Rise of the Apricots was a really delicious was of balancing apricot sweetness (not too sweet) with hops.  This imperial IPA juice bomb was a perfect 9.3% abv.

I think I’m going to need a pint of Man’s Milk next time I can find one as the verdict is still out on it.  Really loved the subtle sweetness that they’ve mastered without making it overly sweet. This one came through a little thin- particularly for a nitro.

All in all, we had a great time, drank some great beers and this was an awesome addition to our tour.  Even though I do prefer other styles, these guys are pumping out IPAs and are a hop heads dream. I definitely recommend checking them out and I give Noble Ale Works an 8.7 out of 10