On January 16, 1920 the world for beer craftsman in the United States changed with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution known as Prohibition and the effects are still lingering today. The effort to ban alcohol consumption in the United States did not start over night and began in the late 1800’s with the temperance movement and by 1916 half of the country already prohibited alcohol coupled with the Volstead Act of 1919, alcohol became illegal and breweries closed. Once prohibition was repealed in 1933 many of the brewers did not come back and only a few reopened. The period of ordinary flavorless tasting beer was born and quality-crafted beer was destined for extinction.
So what happens when a Gentleman pursuing a law degree begins to craft quality beer? A craft beer company named the Bruery is born (combined Brewery and family name Rue). Ironically it was the law that almost killed craft beer and Patrick Rue a first year law student along with his brother Chris began to revive a tradition, quality crafted beer.
The Bruery is located in Placentia, CA and houses the brewery and a tasting room where the discerning Gentleman can come and have a few or more than a few quality crafted beers. You will not find any of the “Big Company” generic flavor beers, nothing that resembles Budweiser, Coors, Miller or any of the smaller labels they may own. The Big Companies have one focus to sell as much beer as possible.
The Bruery is focused on Ales and according to Benjamin Weiss, Director of Marketing for The Bruery “Ales run the gamut from stouts to IPA’s to lambics to browns. We like to play with our beer and get a lot of flavor, so ales are the way to go.” One thing The Bruery is not lacking is flavor and you may have a moment of “this tastes strange” (unfamiliar) because the Big Company generic Lager has desensitized our taste. What you experience at The Bruery is full of flavor with dynamic ingredients and only by exploring will you enjoy old world craft beer from a modern Bruery. When it comes to ingredients The Bruery is aggressive in creating a quality craft beer, “We’re influenced by all of the flavors, smells, experiences and cultures around us.”
The Bruery is reminiscent of old world beer crafting because many of the traditional methods are used. For one, the beers are not pasteurized, “We keep our beers alive. Many of our beers are cellarable for anywhere from 1-20 years and having live yeast in the bottle is what will help those beers mature with time” Weiss says. Also, the bottled beer is naturally carbonated “this is the more natural and historical way of doing things. While we do experiment and we do have to force carbonate some of our higher alcohol beers, we like to adhere to tradition when possible. Again, this natural carbonation and addition of yeast to the bottles allows the beer to develop with age.” No-pasteurization and naturally occurring carbonation was not enough to create high quality craft beer because The Bruery also ages the beer! The process of barrel aging is timely and expensive but The Bruery dedicates approximately 50%of the production to oak barrel aging compared to most brewers that age less than 2% of their production. Currently The Bruery has a warehouse with 3,000 oak barrels.
The best way to explore the quality-crafted beer from The Bruery is by purchasing a flight (pictured right) in which you can mix and match several different beers and taste each one, just think a sampler tray. If you have no clue what to ask for let the friendly and knowledgeable tasting room servers prepare a flight based on your preferences. One note of caution, not all beers are year round so take note of what you like and find out what collection it belongs to; year round, seasonal, special, special draft. My favorite is Saison Rue described as “Belgian/French style farmhouse ale brewed from rye 8.5% abv” which thankfully is year round! The tasting room is open to the public, tours are also available and food trucks are stationed outside. A great way to really explore the beer is by joining one of The Bruery societies.
It took a few decades to prohibit alcohol and craft beer never made it back into the mainstream. In order to enjoy quality craft beer knowledge and exploration will be required. Many other craft brewers across the United States are making the journey in the marketplace. The Bruery is on a path with old world beers in mind and defining what quality crafted beer should be ahead. At last count The Bruery is available in 20 states and in Eastern Europe. You can always stop by The Bruery to enjoy, explore and experience quality crafted beer.
Gentlemen of Tradition and Distinction have long enjoyed beer and only through quality and innovation can the beer craft remain relevant and progressive. A hearty CHEERS to the men and women of The Bruery!
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