Recently I had the opportunity to spend some time in the city of Anaheim. I had planned to try and make the time to check out at least one of the breweries in the area but which one? It was a question I wrestled with for all of five seconds. I didn’t really have any choice in the matter, it had only been a week since I had gone on a grand and mighty quest with my good friend Franz. Both of our wives had been away and he had recently discovered a new beer that he quickly become obsessed with, something called “Naughty Sauce”. The word “obsessed” might not do his state of mind justice, he was like Gollum in search of the one ring. We drove from one San Diego bar to another in our search of this mystical elixir, eventually to be found with the good people of Local Habit. Franz could slay the beast deep inside his stomach. In hindsight, perhaps it was silly, but it was a night out on the town so what the hell, we were having a damn good time. This got me thinking though, I really didn’t know a whole heck of a lot about the guys who made this beer that could make a grown man go instantly ga-ga. So I promised myself that I would make some time to get to know the beers of Noble Ale Works.
Nestled nicely between Angles Stadium and the Honda Center, Noble is one of the newer breweries to hit the scene in Orange County. I was surprised by the diverse lineup of beers they offered on the day I went in for a tasting. Sadly the new batches of Naughty Sauce weren’t ready yet, but they had more than enough to try and keep me occupied with. I ordered up a flight that I let the helpful bartender, Mark, pick out for me and I went to work. These five beers are by no means everything they have. This was just a sample and they are constantly working on new creations that make it to the tasting room.
Lunch Pale – American Pale Ale 5.4%ABV is a nice and easy drinking pale ale with a strong flavor and noticeable pop from some citrus. It’s a solid beer, not my personal favorite, but it was a good opening shot across the bow for me.
3rd Dip – American Strong Ale aged in rye whiskey barrels, it’s a 12.5%ABV, it has a dark Carmel color and it smells and tastes a lot like whiskey in all the right ways. This is exceptionally good.
Pistoloa – Serrano Pepper pilsner, light on the alcohol at 4.2%ABV. I get an endless amount of joy whenever a brewer decides to brew with a peppers and this beer is another example of why I’m enjoying it so much. When you grab a whiff it reminds me of when you are roasting peppers at home. Taste-wise, the pepper isn’t subtle but it is not overwhelming either. This beer is also basically the “Pistol Whip’d” the the added bonus of peppers. With it being a pilsner it’s flavor roll on the tongue differently than many pepper beers that use a pale ale base. Good stuff.
Shandyland – This was a special on tap the day I was there. I’m told its made differently each time so what I had was pretty unique. It has a lot of great character that reminded me of drinking a sort of alcoholic grapefruit juice. It was tart and refreshing, probably could be described as a good into to sour beers. I enjoyed this a lot.
Big Whig IPA – 6.8ABV it has a nice golden color, the nose detects a scent of fruit and the palette agrees. It has a nice robust flavor with notes of citrus throughout, tangerine and honey add a lot of that character. The hops are up front making this a very solid IPA.
These were the five that I had and they made a very nice impression on me. Noble is very different kind of brewery that what I’m used to here in San Diego. Being a hop head, I’m very used to going to a brewery here in town and seeing multiple IPA’s, single, double and even triple IPA’s, which is great for me because thats what I love. Noble seems to want to be different. When you take a look at the multiple styles they have on hand you get the impression that the heart of the brewers are in a different place than trying to out hop every beer in town. I think that’s a good thing. The beers are creative and good, which is the most important thing.
Now to answer the question that many my have burning through their brain, what is “Naughty Sauce”? Well, it’s a golden milk Stout infused with a ton of coffee. What’s most unique about it is that they have been able to avoid the overly roasted flavor that many coffee flavored beers have. This beer has a wonderful creamy texture and is very sweet and tasty. Almost like a dessert. If you follow my twitter feed, @hoptologysd, I try my best to let everyone know when and where it’s available, it’s hard to come by as a cult following has sprung up around it.
Noble Ale Works is located at 1621 S. Sinclair St Ste B, Anaheim, CA 92806
Stay tuned this week for part two of my trip in the OC, coming back home was even more fun!