I have been deferring on talking about this year old brewery for a multitude of reasons: first and foremost, the second I say anything even moderately favorable about any beer made south of Fresno, people have a shit conniption and accuse old DDB of favoritism despite ripping on the innumerable shitty California beers being pumped out.
Second, as a new brewery who seems to have a heavy emphasis on saisons, I wanted to tread lightly and get a wider idea of their offerings beyond the first couple non-BA forays into the realm. When I first had Nebraska, I was like “myeh, that’s pretty legit.” And it tasted essentially like Tank 7 and Saison Brett mixed. Nothing to scoff at or go apeshit over.
But in the past four months they keep pushing into the interstices of “wait, damn” to “ok, this is really fucking good.” So I have to say SOMETHING, even if it means a cadre of dipshits accuse me of favoritism from a brewery that couldn’t give a fuck less about an irrelevant beer blog. So let’s get into the anal fisting already:
The brewery itself is housed in this neo-hipster mecca, a faux divey bar that happens to have awesome food. If Silverlake is LA’s mission/Williamsburg, then Highland Park is the next hipster spawning pool for the budding fixie riding asshole carrying a Drive Like Jehu vinyl. That’s who you will be drinking saisons with.
So what is this, fucking ZillowAdvocate.com? Let’s talk about the beers. At the outset: you want their saisons, you will want all of them. However, this brewery has a sort of Sante Adairitis that makes them a spectacular one trick pony, for reasons that will become clear shortly.
The first thing you will notice is that every beer has been attenuated into decimation. This makes their saisons intensely refreshing, dry, crisp like an anjou pear, but really fucks with every other style. Refresh is just that, but dialed down so far that it is insubstantial and if they used pilsner malt it has been drilled into the fucking primary pavement. Greyhound Vacation has similar Kallista Flockhart thin body, but for a Belgian Pale it almost doesn’t have enough floorspace to demonstrate esters or a hop profile, the ultra svelte body is TOO lean.
I want you to ruminate on how highly attenuated a hoppy beer has to be for DDB to complain about a lack of malt underpinning. They are still crushable and delicious, albeit lacking complexity. I would certainly rather have this problem than flabby midwest crystal malt “clean” offerings.
What about discernible problems?
With a brewery that has highly effective yeast that dismantles fucking everything, there’s gonna be some issues with packaging. Raised eyebrows was tasty, clean and basically a less demanding Cuddlebug on draft. The bottles were a 4th of July sparklers and sulphur massacre. Your drunk uncle gripping his palms coughing up smoke. The taste was tasty, saharan, stone fruity goodness but the nose was straight bottleshock and clearly needed time to metabolize either the secondary refermentation going on, or just to rest to get its shit together.
That’s not to say that all of their bottles are deficient in any way. If you enjoyed Cellarman, this multistrain puncheon fermented beer has all the makings of a phenomenal saison classic. It is creamy, orangey, juicy with tangerine and cut cardboard paper, a certain fabrics store musk. If this is not the best thing they have made to date, I would be shocked. This is absolutely incredible and your tradebuxxxx cannot find a better power to weight ratio.
So we have seen the worst, heard the stroke session about the best, what about those middle times? Those times when you are just watching Bachelor in Paradise because GOD BREWERY ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BE GOING ON AMAZING DATES EVERY SINGLE NIGHT? Those times.
Uncultured is in that realm of component blended/recent batches of Arthur. It has a great grassiness, some rope and twine must to the nose, a long fernet meets clementines finish to the brett C and L profile. Their “normal” shit is head and shoulders above most of the things that come across the desk inside of my liver. These trade for nothing right now, you are wasting time reading this and not ISOing.
This is another spritzer farmhouse table beer meets a sort of Biere Du Pays, fucking drillable with lemon and lime zest, like a sort of zero calorie Printempts with a few years on it. This type of spectacular beer is just sitting on draft, no one giving a fuck about top tier barrel aged, puncheon fermented saisons. For every Texas dipshit peddling JK 750mls hard, there are uncelebrated kegs like these being secretly enjoyed.
Posts like there ruin the fuck our of a brewery for a consumer base gentrifying the tits off of a proud Hispanic neighborhood. The circle unbroken, you want artisan donut shops? That’s fine, prepare to enjoy them near entry level BeerAdvocate tier dumbfucks talking about how “brett makes the beer sour.”
I don’t feel like breaking down each and every one of their bigger and hoppier beers but let me state is succinctly this way: saisons and pales are their clear wheelhouse. This is not some dynamic Prairie that rolls out adjunct stouts and weird farmhouse beers in tandem. Their IPA/DIPA core is so so attenuated that they are intensely refreshing at the expense of complexity. If you have had hoppy beers from Sante Adairius you know how something like a hard as fuck water recipe makes some styles great and other neglected. They are like that, and I am totally fine with that. If these guys joined forces with Beachwood, the voltron of LA catalogs would be complete.
So what is the takeaway? Get every single bottled saison possible from this brewery. You will not be disappointed, and I would be shocked if you weren’t outright impressed from a brand new upstart. Their farmhouse game is just what the doctor ordered and they are lying silently in the 323 weeds sniping customers from comely Los Angeles terrain.
Knowing CA dipshits you will be getting extra-ed these 900 bottle brewery only runs, so buckle in, and be sure to send them some Daisy Cutter cans as a thank you.
3 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About Highland Park Brewing BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK!”
And this is why we can’t have nice things…
Sorry in advance
You forgot to mention a lot of their hoppy beers are stale and shitty. I preferred Crime of Passion to the last one I had. Also, can I trade you some JK 750s for Condolambic?