HOPTOLOGY

San Diego Beer, Local & Independent!


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Pardon the interruption… Happy 1st Anniversary Societe!

I’m going to interrupt my current three part blogging epic for a brief but happy interlude.

Happy 1 year Anniversary to the awesome people at Societe Brewing.

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Always an impressive selection

Over the course of their first year in business, Societe has quickly climbed the ranks as one my favorite brewers in a town that has more than enough to go around. In fact you can read my first impression of Societe right here. From such awesome staples as The Pupil & The Apprentice IPA’s to phenomenal Belgians like The Harlot & The Madam, not to mention the treats that roll out for special occasions, like the Every Man’s IPA and The Roustabout DIPA. It’s insanely hard to find a beer that will not please your palette.

Did I mention the new hoppy ale, The Publican? It’s fantastic!

This past weekend, July 13-14, the good people of Societe hosted their 1st anniversary party at the brewery in Kerny Mesa and I was very excited to be able to join them in the celebration. I’m the type of beer enthusiast who tries his best to make it to multiple beer events over the course of the year. Some of those events are better than others and even the best have their fair share of problems. This event, however, might be the new gold standard to which all beer events you aspire to be. It was one of the most planned out, thought ahead and well organized events I’ve had the good fortune to be at.

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I saw how this movie ends…Travis should fare better than that other guy.

My wife and I attended the sold-out second session on Saturday with a coupe of friends who enjoy Societe beers but had yet to make it up to the brewery. From the moment we got there, these guys were on top of things, from the easy-ness of our checking in without having to pull up four different ticket bar codes on my iPhone, to the checking of ID’s, getting our wristbands and the distribution of our souvenir glasses. They had us lined up and ready to go when the clock struck 5 pm and our session began. The only hectic part was getting that first beer, which really wasn’t even an issue as they had plenty of people on hand to fill your glass. We were able to grab a table and I couldn’t help but notice as the line of patrons all filed in and got their drinks, that there was still room to move around, people were not packed in, and we didn’t have to yell to have a conversation. A beer event that wasn’t over-sold. Such a simple yet innovative concept that I wish more people would follow.

Societe also had a couple food stations going,¬†including the Mastiff Sausage food truck as well as an old-tyme photo booth which, of course, my wife made us all do. Also of interest was that despite the dozens of times I’ve been to the brewery I had never taken the tour. We changed that on Saturday as we got a pretty insightful tour from co-owner and head brewer Travis Smith. He shared a lot of details about their beer making process as well as their plans for the first expansion at the brewery. I liked how he talked about “growing into the space” which again, is a simple concept but one I don’t see employed a whole lot. We also got to take a look inside the cold room, which was fun. I heard from a friend who attended the earlier session that he loved this part due to the heat during the early part of the day. Luckily, by evening everything has cooled down quite a bit, except for Travis who was decked out in his early 20th century outfit and was happy to kill a few minutes in the icebox. After swinging past the bar for refills we had the chance to go in the barrel room where they are aging their beers in a wide variety of barrels for the purpose of creating sours. Which, if they are half as good as what they already have on tap, are going to be pretty impressive.

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Travis and the Tower of Sours!

 

It was a fantastic event with fan had by all and¬†best summed up by Megan “This is a beautiful event.” And that was before all the alcohol kicked in…I think.

So my congratulations to Travis, Douglas and all the super nice staff at Societe for having a great 1st year, I’m happy to keep enjoying your beers for a long time to come.

Cheers,
Tom

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Yeah…I’m in a band.

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Happy Anniversary Societe!


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Becoming a contributing member of Societe

I had been hearing about Societe Brewing long before I’d ever even taken my first sip. They had been gaining a devoted following quickly and had a lot of people in social media buzzing about them. Tickets to their grand opening earlier this summer had sold out crazy fast only adding fuel to the fire. They were the hot new brew in San Diego. So I must have been jumping out my skin to get up their and sample the brews right?

As Lee Corso says “No so fast my friend”

I can be a little dense sometimes. Anyone who has met me has probably figured that one out. When things get that label of “the next big thing” I tend to chaffe on it. Not every time, but more often than not. It’s that little part of my brain that is still 16 year old and annoyed when the Black Album came out and all of a sudden it was cool to like Metallica, even though I’d be wearing a Master of Puppets t-shirt for six years and getting made fun of for it. I’m kooky that way I guess.

I knew I’d go and have the beer eventually, I just decided I’d go at my leisure, this has been a crazy, hectic summer as we plan a wedding and all that goes along with that, so when I went, I wanted to enjoy it. A few weeks back, Ritual Tavern put all of Societe’s beers on tap. After only trying two, I decided it was time to get my ass up to Societe. Here’s the best part – It’s less than 10 minutes from my house!

Located at 8262 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 9211, this is one of the few breweries in the county that can call itself centrally located.

Walking in, you can’t help but be impressed by the large wooden bar and the very impressive use of the space in the building. It’s freaking gorgeous inside. Lots of wooden, olde tyme style decorations along the wall with tables a plenty. If you get the opportunity, I recommend checking out Societe’s blog page where you can get the history of it’s two founders – Travis Smith and Doug Constantiner and their impressive credentials. The fact that Travis alone helped make beers like Pliney the Elder while brewing at Russian River should be enough to get even a casual hophead over to check them out.

Now, onto the beers.

On this fine Saturday afternoon, I headed over to Societe with the future Mrs. Hoptology in tow. We were going to discuss more of our wedding plans…but my interests were more in beer area on this day. Shocking, I know!

Before we get started I’d like to let you know that the word “coiffable” is probably the best word you can use to describe Societe’s beers. All of them are immanently easy to drink. Over and over again!

We started on the IPA side of the menu and worked our way over to the Belgium’s.

The Dandy- IPA 6.9% ABV – Golden color medium hops easy to drink. I really enjoyed this, it’s light and crips for an IPA almost a perfect introduction for those who aren’t accustomed to the big hops of other IPA’s

The Pupil – IPA 7.7% ABV – Bright, golden color that stands out. It has a light, clean aroma and a very light head to it. Bright, citrus-y flavors abound and this is another insanely easy to drink IPA.

Every Man’s IIPA 10.0 ABV – Special note, I had to track this down this past Saturday a special trip to Societe was made just for this beer and oh boy was it worth it! Great hoppy flavor, with more citrus and maybe some grapefruit flavor as well. IT’s incredibly smooth and might just be my favorite thing they are currently brewing.

The Apprentice – IPA 7.9% ABV – Bigger hops and malty flavors with an excellent aroma and a gorgeous color. Very tasty. This is more to my personal liking and was my favorite of the day. Just couldn’t get enough of it.

The Butcher – Imperial Stout 9.8% ABV – This beer is pitch black! Dark roasted coffee flavor with hints of chocolate. It’s enjoyable and I believe any fan of stouts would enjoy this a great deal. For me, however, I’m still not crazy about getting that coffee flavor in my beers. Not my personal favorite.

The Harlot – Belgium extra 6.4% ABV -Light, fruity notes with noticeable spices. It’s delicious easy to drink. In a way it reminded us both of Duvel, which we mean with the highest compliments.

The Widow – Strong Belgium 9.2% ABV – Dark malty flavors, slightly boozy but not overwhelmingly so. Pours nicely in the glass and settles quickly so you can get down to business. Again, a strong beer that I was more than happy to drink.

Also as a side note I’m going to throw in a critique of The Scrapper which I had several weeks back at Ritual Tavern and took a few notes.

The Scrapper – American IPA 7.9% ABV – The is a dark IPA and honestly I love the color of the beer to cream colored head. It’s was almost too pretty to drink…but I did anyways. Good balance of light citrus hops and roasted malty-ness. I found this to be very flavorful and really enjoyable to drink. I’m usually not wild about dark IPA but this one did right by me.

So all in all, it was another great outing at a San Diego Brewery. Now that I finally made the trip out to see what these guys are all about, I can say with all honesty that I’m looking forward seeing what else they can brew for the masses here in San Diego. As if they haven’t made enough of an opening impression, I suspect that Societe will continue to grow a nice fan base here in town as their reputation for quality beers continues to spread. I also hope they continue to be social media savvy and keep the high standards that I have seen in action so far. And did I mention that awesome location? I can be there in less than 10 minutes! Hard to beat that any day of the week.

Cheers,
Tom

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