Beer 511

Exploring the Craft Beer and Homebrew Scenes in Peru (Country Code 51) and the USA (Country Code 1)

Category: Brewpubs (Page 1 of 2)

Brewpub Wicks (Lima, Peru)

In July I visited Brewpub Wicks for the first time.  Wicks, which is located in Barranco district,  kept turning up on Untappd, so I’ve known about its existence for a year or two, and that it seemed to be a beer pub oriented primarily at English-speaking expats.

Well, it turns out that Wicks also makes and serves its own beer, and that it is rather good beer.

Wicks’ lineup of house beers includes IPA, stout, best bitter, and golden ale.  On the night we visited, however, they only had the golden and the stout on hand.

The golden was slightly bitter and a bit floral or fruity.  It was nice, but none of us were “wowed” by it.

On the other hand, the stout was very easy to like and very easy to drink. It was tasty and robust but without any burnt astringency.   It was also really smooth.  One might think that it was dispensed with nitrogen, but –at least according to the pub’s website– all their beers are dispensed via hand-pulled beer engines.

Since 2014, Wicks has been quietly doing its thing. which makes it one of the pioneer brewpubs in Lima, but without the attention garnered by other craft breweries.

According to the pub’s website,

The story begins across the ocean, in England, where the idea of ‘Wicks’ was developed, by a young couple, Vanessa and William. When Vanessa and William met, she was a Peruvian student and he was a bar manager who wanted to start his own business. They both knew the ambience of a traditional British pub and they wanted to take that feeling to Lima. The ‘Brew Pub Wicks’ was born.

The formula seems to have worked.  The place was definitely packed, with expats and Peruvians alike, on the night we visited.

 

 

Brewpub Wicks
Av. Pedro de Osma 210, Barranco
Lima, Peru

www.brewpubwicks.com

Monterey Coast Brewing Co. (Salinas, CA)

Monterey Coast Brewing Co., is located about 10 miles inland, in downtown Salinas, and has been around for at least a dozen years. Until recently it was Salinas’ only brew-on-premises establishment open to the public. (Monterey’s Alvarado Street Brewery now has a production facility in Salinas with an attached tap room.) The brewpub is actually located in what was originally a bank, and later was a gun smith’s and armory, below the studios of a now long-defunct public radio station that I worked at while in high school. Thus, I have a fondness for the place, and have lunched there on several occasions.

The restaurant has a simple, old-fashioned wood bar with a over a dozen taps, backed up by what looks like four or five 10-bbl fermenters.

A curious detail I noticed on my latest visit is that the mash tun has two manways. It appears that the orientation of the original one must not have allowed enough space for comfortably removing the spent grain given its proximity to the nearby wall, and thus a second manway was cut into the tun.

I’ve always enjoyed the food there, and when they say on their website that it is “where the locals eat”, it is no mere marketing or exaggeration.

Of course, the main reason I chose to dine there when I’m in Salinas is to support a local, independent brewer.  Which, brings us to the beer:

Monterey Coast Brewing has a modest lineup of eight house beers, ranging from a pale ale to a stout. Given that they only sell the beer on premises ($7 32-oz growler refill on Thursdays!), it is probably prudent that they keep the number manageable.

From L to R: Scottish Red, IPA, Belgian Ale

On this visit, I ordered a flight for the first time, tasting five of their beers. This horizontal sampling allowed me to discern a notably similar character in their brews.  I expect that the brew staff has perhaps been harvesting  the yeast from one brew for use in the next, and that, over time, it may have evolved into “house” strain.

I’ve never found their beers to be outstanding, but always enjoyable, albeit with a few allowances –for example, the IPA doesn’t fully deliver on the “heavily hopped…intense and complex” character promised in the description.  One’s most solid bets, I think, are the pale ale, the porter, and the stout.

 

Monterey Coast Brewing Company
165 Main St.
Salinas, California

montereycoastbrewing.com

Danville Brewing Company

Last Tuesday, the Danville Brewing Company opened the doors to its taproom and brewpub in downtown Danville, and lines have been around the block to get in since day one.

The location the pub -Danville’s first brewery- prime and the space is large, but friendly. The owners have done a very nice job in designing the place. There is a variety of seating options, including at the cool horseshoe-shaped bar with the wrap-around beer tap column.

I had a chance to view some project images for it when the pub was still in its design stages, and if it looked cool then, it is even cooler in person.

The food is good and nicely presented.  The wait staff knows their stuff, and one thing that we particularly appreciated was that our server had a list handy of all the menu items that were gluten-free.

Despite the crowds, the food was delivered promptly.  The restaurant is designed with an open kitchen as well as an open brewery.  What that means, in fact, is that the brewery is behind a glass wall, and is fully viewable by the public.

The brewery runs on a 10 barrel system, where head brewer Matt Sager has already begun to produce the pubs’ first run of on-site produced beers (what is being served now was contract brewed for opening day in accordance to Sager’s recipes and specifications).

Of the five beers on tap right now, most noteworthy are the CHUX Double IPA and the Coconut Stout.   The stout is smooth, and very subtly flavored with coconut, which makes it a very nice either-way stout -it has something for regular stout drinkers and for those who like flavoured beers.

The CHUX, despite being a DIPA, does not hit one in the face with hop bitterness, although it is definitely there, as befits an IPA.  Matt has done a nice job at crafting a recipe that packs a lot of hop aroma, flavor. and character in a tidy, smooth package. The servers are selling it as a beer that “will change your view of double IPAs.”  It’s marketting, but for the average beer drinker it may well be true.

For me the bottom line came when I was tasting the flight, and I exclaimed that the beers were “nice”, and immediately thought to myself “duh, of course they’re good. They’re Matt’s beers!”

 

 

Danville Brewing Company
200 Railroad Ave Suite A
Danville, CA 94526

www.danvillebrewing.com 

Another opening: Loma Brewing in Los Gatos (CA)

Loma Brewing Co. has announced the opening of its brewery and pub in downtown Los Gatos on Thursday, August 18th.

Details can be found at  the brewery’s website: www.lomabrew.com

Barranco Beer Company (Lima, Peru)

 

 

Opened in 2014, Barranco Beer Company’s brewpub has been a resounding success.  From selling 50 liters of beer on their first night, beer sales are now in the range of 20 bbl per month, with weekend sales reaching s/. 7000, according to Rommel, one of the managers

 

The initial lineup of beers has been expanded and refined.   Some favorites, like the “Presidente” heffeweizen” –renamed” Jefe Weiss”– have been retained, others -like the dunkel– have been dropped.   In their place are new recipes for pale ales, IPA, and lagers.
Two years ago I lamented the absence of “heavier”, “chewier” beers in their lineup.  I must not have been the only one asking for them, as Barranco now offers at least one porter and has just released “Saca Tu Machete”, an excellent 8.7% abv / 42 IBU imperial stout made with aji limo, cacao, and algarrobina.

 

 

 

Another beer that is worth mentioning, and one I hope they make part of their regular lineup, even if only seasonally, is the Pepino Punch saison.  Made with pepino fruit, Pepino Punch is easily one of the best fruited beers I’ve ever tasted.

Barranco Beer Company
Av Almirante Miguel Grau 308
Barranco, Lima
Peru

www.barrancobeer.com

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