I’ve probably sampled a half dozen black IPA’s and one thing I’ve found consistent throughout the lot: none of them has the typical characteristics of an IPA. No piney or grapefruit smell and no citrus or grapefruit taste that I recall. So I’m at a loss as to why the new raft of dark beers is being called “IPA” but never mind. I’ve liked them all. They may not smell and taste like IPAs, but they’re definitely black, or at least dark.
The latest local offering from Old World Brewery, Eclipse Black IPA, is no exception to this trend. It isn’t hoppy in the traditional IPA sense but it’s plenty good and low enough in abv to serve as a decent session beer. I got wind of this release through Old World’s Facebook page and made a commitment to drop by as soon as possible in order not to miss it, along with another short run offering called, suggestively, “The Prick.” I had my opportunity a couple weeks before Thanksgiving.
The maniacs at OWB are just as friendly and welcoming as ever and I felt as though I’d not been away any time at all, though it's been several months since my last visit. Knowing that I’d have to get on the road after a single pint, I ordered a serving of The Prick, with its lower abv, and asked for a bomber of Eclipse to travel. The Prick is a prickly pear wheat beer that has a faint hint of sweet breakfast cereal to it – not unlike one of Leinenkugel’s beer’s, the name of which escapes me at the moment. I’m not typically a fan of wheat’s but this one is a keeper.
I chatted with the fellows at OWB, enjoyed the prickly pear wheat, tossed a bomber of Eclipse in the trunk of the car and headed home. Once at Beer Rant HQ, I sprang the top off that bomber and poured the contents into a glass. The tasting notes read so:
Eclipse, Black IPA
Smells slightly chocolaty. Nearly opaque coffee brown, persistent tan head. Surprisingly thick mouthfeel. No hints of pine or grapefruit as you’d expect from an IPA which is pretty standard with the other black IPAs I’ve tried. I don’t like the notion of an IPA that doesn’t taste like an IPA but this is a good beer.
There you have it. Judging by their Facebook page, the guys at OWB aren’t letting the grass grow between their toes. Word comes that they’ve got a honey wheat out now and they’re anticipating the release of a Scotch ale, similar to the one they put out for their first anniversary. Here’s to the future.
By the way, if you’re an advocate of Facebook, why don’t you go over to the Old World Brewery Facebook page and “like” them? I hear it’s all the rage.
As a bit of a postscript, when Thanksgiving rolled around, my son-in-law came over from Camp Pendleton where he's preparing for another all-expense paid trip overseas do defend the rest of us. I stopped by OWB and grabbed another bomber of Eclipse for him to enjoy during his short stay. He's now back at Pendleton and I didn't get any definitive feedback on the Eclipse - Marines are men of few words - but I suppose it was okay, since it disappeared pretty fast.
I've been out of the loop for several months. I need to say that the NASCAR event was terrific and to let you all know that Turn One Racing provided me with some wonderful access to the pit lane at Phoenix International Raceway. Kudos also to Old World Brewing - without them I'd have been stuck in the stands.
Since my last post, I've entered a Master's degree program that is keeping me very busy. So, what with playing with the grandkids every weekend and working a 40 hour week as well, it's been a grind. Add to that the fact that Google blogger has dinked up the posting process so I'll have to relearn a bunch of that stuff as well. Little wonder I've shied away from posting all these months, huh?
I have been keeping the beer log though and there are some terrific vintage beers stored in the fridge that I'm dying to try. One from 2009, and a couple from 2010. Perhaps I'll keep them a bit longer. I may be seldom seen but I'm not gone completely.
By the by, this is my first post using a fancy new laptop computer we picked up a few months back. (Did I mention the 2012 Mustang that's now parked at Beer Rang HQ? Yeah, we've lost our minds here. I find I'm drinking less and driving more these days, but it's grand.)
At the risk of appearing to fall into a predictable pattern, I’m going to follow up one Old World Brewing post with another, simply because last Friday my camera refused to cooperate during a visit to OWB’s new location on 25th Avenue. I dropped by again today after work, met my nephew for a pint and snapped a few admittedly mediocre photos of the new place. (I’m not a photographer. My nephew’s a photographer, check out his WEBSITE.)
Today we ambled into the taproom to find three fellow blue-collar working stiffs quaffing the foamy suds and that’s a good sign. Seems folks are finding OWB despite the move. I was happy to see brewer Matt working away at something in the back along with Patrick. In short order we had pints of Red in front of us and the conversation drifted easily between topics.
Despite what one would hope are the typical difficulties associated with such an endeavor, the crew at OWB continues to forge ahead, putting out dependable, tasty product (brewed in Flagstaff for the moment) while they fit and fashion and fine-tune all the aspects of the new brewery setup. Just writing about it is exhausting.
We got another quick tour, this time with my camera functioning properly, and I shot a nifty couple of images of the old walk-in safe that once served admirably back when this building was a United States Post Office. Now, Patrick operates an office in the safe and today he took a moment to check out the line up for the upcoming Strong Beer Festival. As always we were made to feel welcome and only the prospect of getting pulled over by an officer of the law prevented us from staying for more than one pint, but as we exchanged farewells in the parking lot my nephew and I discussed the plan to one day have a taxi cab on standby so that we could stay for some real fun!
Old World Breaking into the NASCAR Scene? Yup!
My two or three repeat customers here at Beer Rant will remember that I blogged about a craft beer sponsorship in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series a good while back. (See that post here.) At that time I was tickled witless at the prospect of the craft brewing community stepping into the NASCAR arena even if the brewer was an out of state concern. Well, I’m happy to report that Old World Brewery will be running its logo on a NASCAR truck in the upcoming race at Phoenix International Raceway this year! Here’s a link to the website for Turn One Racing. Details of the arrangement seem to be up in the air just yet, but if you’re the sort that likes to follow NASCAR, and especially the truck series, keep an eye out for truck #60 and it’s new driver Cole Whitt because reportedly, somewhere on that truck will be an Old World Brewery logo! (I plan to attend a couple of NASCAR events at Phoenix International Raceway that week, including the truck race, so perhaps I can carry some OWB product down to the track and enjoy it like I did when Lagunita’s sponsored a truck in 2009.)
Finally, if you’re in the vicinity of 25th Avenue, just north of Van Buren (behind the Pep Boys building there, just across the street from Werner’s Welding), you owe it to yourself to stop in to Old World Brewery. You won’t see a sign on the front of the building so you’ll just have to trust your instincts, friends.
First post of 2011; it’s been too long, I know. Enough said.
The Cool Shit You See When Your Camera Battery is Dead!
Old World Brewery has resumed operations in a new facility near 25th Avenue and Van Buren here in Phoenix and I’ve been meaning to drop by for a visit for several weeks. I drove by a couple times to check for activity late last year but didn’t find anyone around, but yesterday was a different story. After work I met a co-worker there – we’ll call him Vernon Bannister - and we ambled in to find Patrick Fields jamming at the drum set with his son.
Patrick graciously showed us around Old World’s new place, which was once a United States Post office back in the day. I asked about any special characteristics of the building, like safes and so forth and Patrick said, “speaking of safes…” and showed us to the brewery’s new office, located in an honest to God walk in safe. Cool. The brewery equipment isn’t quite up and running yet – the current Old World product is reportedly coming from Mogollon Brewing in Flagstaff for the moment (you’ve got to love the cooperative spirit of local brewing, right?).
My camera’s battery was dead, so I’ve got a built in excuse for a follow up visit this coming week. The new brewery building also includes an exhibit space for local artists to show and sell their work. Auctions of artwork are planned, as is a beer festival of some sort in the near future, perhaps in conjunction with a larger statewide beer celebration.
Patrick Fields was as gracious as ever, as focused as ever and seems more determined than ever to push Old World Brewery to the forefront of local brewing prowess. God knows they’ve got a brewing space worthy of the challenge. It should be fun to see where things go from here.
Vernon Bannister and I each departed with a growler of Irish Red and a pint glass sporting the new Old World logo. Perhaps Vernon is a convert as well, now; I think he is. (The picture here was taken later, when I got my growler home and my camera battery charged.) As for the Irish Red – you know their porter would have been my choice had it been an option – the Red may be better than I remembered from the Lone Cactus facility and even a day later was holding up nicely in the growler. Thanks Patrick! Thanks Old World. (Patrick tells me that the porter will be one of their first batches when the 25th Avenue facility starts production. Awesome.) I tipped a glass of the Red in honor of my nephew's birthday as well. All in all, a great evening.