Orange County is a wellspring of pre-existing craft beer lords and sprightly upstarts who are attempting to muscle in on market share at every turn. Under the calm watchful eye of the Bruery lords, other breweries have sprouted up with their OWN reserve societies, and their OWN emphasis. Not quite the beer wasteland that Los Angeles can be, but far from the oversaturated nightmare that is San Diego, the County of Orange is an odd proving ground for new ideas.
Santa Ana doesn’t exactly spring to mind as a rustic landscape for saison innovation. There are government buildings and Yoshinoyas and dudes selling roasted corn and off-brand Dora the Explora dolls at every turn. If a city could literally be a Quincinera, that would be Santa Ana. BUT CAN YOU MAKE SAISONS THERE? Good Beer Company is damn sure willing to try.
Their model is a type of Tillamooky endeavor offering a well-crafted stable of samey saisons each with a different riff or run on the mixolydian scale. You have the Oro lineup, which is essentially an incredibly clean, FG 1.0000000000000 table saison that is usually fruited to some DeG(a)r(d)ee. The paralells to Trevor’s work are tough to shake because it really makes you think of the Bu series and the innumerable fruited Jester King sours. The blackberry is not jammy and puts a skin and tannins foot forward, driving that crushability index through the roof.
The nectarine has an incredibly refreshing citrus nose coupled with an acidic bite that never hits an acetic level, but lacks the gristy complexity to buttress the depth that is solicited from other world class AWAs. Perhaps asking all of that out of a 4% table saison is a bit much, TAKE IT EASY TIGER MOM SET REASONABLE STANDARDS I DONT EVEN LIKE THE VIOLIN
Then you have the sangria lineup, which would be an Imperial Bu sort of analog and these are really fucking tasty. If your fedex limitations only allow you to toss your hat into one Santa Ana barrio, seek these out. They have the substantial 6% abv and more nuance grist bill to allow some creaminess to come out, each a little different than the last.
The labels are cool and have a sort of kitschy 70s appeal to them, each tossing out that Denny’s menu approach of just showing you the fruits therein. The produce sourcing is on par with Alamanac and they never lean towards jammy jeans, the peach and cherry was almost more like a Rose wine meets an American Kriek of sorts. This wasn’t my favorite blend but it was still pretty drillable and without any overt discernable flaws.
This one though, holy fuck. This triple stone fruit blend surpasses the clear analogues in your mind with the pure bouquet alone. If they made this a cologne I would be the victim of perpetual sexual assault because those pitted fruits lend themselves to a magical tropical escape. This is that weird cum colored Life Saver meets a biere de pays, so fucking awesome. This is the best beer that GBC makes and you owe it to your dead grandfather’s legacy to try this beer in his honor. You know how he loved nectarines.
And then there’s the middle children like this variant which is kinda like Sans Pagaie scissored with a less acidic Framboise de Amarosa. Incredible nose, slightly watery krieky execution that dominates the esters, but still pretty tasty. A touch of DMS issues was underlying at higher temps but that might be some off note from the produce, who knows? It could be the Santa Ana [insert latently racist, Hispanic-intolerant generalization] THAT WE ALL KNOW ABOUT!
Their house beers are clean, simple, well-executed but honestly nothing to lose your shit over. It’s not like tired Dupont strains or reverse coded Westmalle shit, but it isn’t god tier Sante Adairius propagation either. It is a nascent cultural development, like when you give a Nascar driver money and act surprised at the shit he spends it on.
Let’s see, what else are these dudes doing?
They have these hoppy riffs which at the outset are kinda aserose/grapefruit/resinous plays on their meh house beers, but then barrel aged with fruit added and they are flying under radar hard for how delicious they are. I am totally fine with these not setting the ISO boards on fire, because I will warm myself contently with this funky, apricoty, juicy banger. THOTs be flockin.
This line is kinda a smash up of the fruit forward Sangrias and the saison purist of their house beers and it plays a conservative line that ensures sheer crushability and never drills your gumline in a menacing way. Like Dorothy or Noble King, you can put down a full 750ml and still feel confident to get your balloon knot bleached. You dont get set back in any meaningful way and the beauty is in the balance and well rounded profile, it’s like Toad in Mario Kart, of the saison world.
Finally we have the Blends, each one is totally different but these are the most “traditional” offerings and while usually talking about the marketing or label is a total fucking cop out, the faux-Southwest/Native American look makes me want to pass out in an Adobe house while making some turqouise jewelry. Blend 3 is pretty okay, it is like a less cherry/amber Biere De Garde and you certainly could do worse in this realm, but their other offerings are so good that it’s hard to rub one out to this aspect of their lineup. These are essentially on par with the “regular” Prairie beers in that they are focused, and usually make other breweries saisons look shitty. But if you are gonna make them fight about their weight class with the likes of HF or Mackenzie, prepare for the cauliflowered ears.
The two bottles I had evidenced retention problems and had a watery mouthfeel that detracted from the experience, like a modernist entryway, there was no lacing to speak of. They are pretty deece, but then again so are the saisons from Penrose, it’s hard to raise a flag for something neither doing something exceptional nor shitting the bed in a White Birch way. I am without remark on these blends and they are, by definition and in medical parlance, unremarkable.
So to sum up these 1100 words:
Awesome fruited beers, incredible sangria lineup, meh house beers, smashtastic hopped 750s, and pretty deece blends. And references about how Santa Ana used to be the place where you would buy a fake SSN and throwing stars.
That about sums up Good Beer Co, go check them out, or don’t, I dont give a fuck I am rich off these clickbucks, brb selecting which type of ostrich interior I want in my g5. WHO SAYS THEY CANT FLY AMIRITE????