California is king when it comes to American craft beer. Maybe Oregon would argue, but they would lose. In the Golden State of craft brew heaven, Nor Cal and San Diego County have long reigned supreme. That era is over. The best brewery between Santa Rosa and San Diego is "The Bruery." In the past three years, a dozen great local brewers have appeared on the Southland-scape. The best of them all is Patrick Rue's innovative brewery. Sure, it's behind the Orange Curtain, but if we can call their nearby neighbors down the 57 freeway the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim," we suggest it would be well worth changing the name to the "Los Angeles Bruery of Placentia."
Joel Elliott, a master brewer with local Strand Brewing, states unequivocally, "The small breweries in and around Los Angeles owe a lot to The Bruery. Patrick and his team have been on the forefront of this whole craft explosion locally and have contributed in many ways to its growth. We would not be where we are today without The Bruery having blazed trails before us. They set the bar high early on and never looked back." The Bruery doesn't brew the standard line up of pale ale, IPAs, porters or stouts that are common from most breweries.
Check out this line up of "Year Round Collection" beers: Orchard White (Belgian-style wit brewed with orange peel, coriander and lavender at 5.7% abv), Saison Rue (Belgian/French-style farmhouse ale brewed with rye at 8.5% abv), Mischief (Hoppy Belgian-style golden strong ale at 8.5% abv), Rugbrod (Danish-style rye ale at 8% abv), Hottenroth (German-style tart wheat beer at 3.1% abv), Loakal Red (oak-aged American red ale at 6.9% abv), Humulus Lager (Imperial Pale lager at 7.4% abv) and 7 Grain Saison (Belgian/French-style farmhouse ale at 5% abv. Each of these beers is among the very best in their class and some have won Gold at the World Beer Cup.
Beyond the incredible "everyday" beers, Rue and his "brue-crue" release "special collection" beers throughout the year that are among the most desired in the craft brew world. The 14.5% abv "Coton" 2nd anniversary ale was a cult classic among beer geeks this past year. "Black Tuesday" Imperial Stout is aged in bourbon barrels for over a year and is epic -- released annually one Tuesday in October. The Oude Tart Flemish-style red ale is aged in red wine barrels for 18 months. We saw a glass of it spilled and the distraught guy thought about lapping it up like a dog rather than waste it. It's that good.
We could rave on about another dozen special releases, but it would take pages. Their creativity in the art of craft brewing earns them the title of "Best Brewer in the L.A. Region". The growing legions of beer lovers are lucky to have another dozen great local breweries and we will be profiling them in the weeks and months to come. But as Joel Elliott alluded, The Bruery sets the benchmark. All hail the King of Beer, and it's not Budweiser. It's Patrick Rue and his team of brilliant brewers.
The Bruery's 3rd Anniversary is Sunday, May 29th (two sessions) and it is well worth a trip behind the Orange Curtain to sample of bunch of the best beers you'll ever taste. Details are available at their website.