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Everything You Need to Know About Highland Park Brewing BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK!

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:

Horn rimmed glasses galore, Portlandia sticky hot edition

Horn rimmed glasses galore, Portlandia sticky hot edition

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.

PTSD every time i see an overhead projector.

PTSD every time i see an overhead projector.

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 proud FG 1.000000002 lineup

The proud FG 1.000000002 lineup

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?

More like singed eyebrows.

More like singed eyebrows.

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.

Let's Talk About Their Other AMAZING SHIT

Let’s Talk About Their Other AMAZING SHIT

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.

Yeast infections are amazing when it is 6 at a time.

Yeast infections are amazing when it is 6 at a time.

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.

Time for some certified whiptixxx in the SubbyDooBaru

Time for some certified whiptixxx in the SubbyDooBaru

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.

Did you enjoy Sante Adairius Fruit Punch 1? Well this is a 10% worse version, which is to say it is really juicy, fantastic, bursting with life and acidity.  It's like when diet Dr. Pepper is actually better than regular Dr. Pepper, because it is.

Did you enjoy Sante Adairius Fruit Punch 1? Well this is a 10% worse version, which is to say it is really juicy, fantastic, bursting with life and acidity. It’s like when diet Dr. Pepper is actually better than regular Dr. Pepper, because it is.

Pushin Carts, collabo with Monkish

Pushin Carts, collabo with Monkish

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.”

Dishonorable mention: this grainy, boring, estery gem just kept throwing rocks in the lake while you are trying to fish for real saison tastes.

Dishonorable mention: this grainy, boring, estery gem just kept throwing rocks in the lake while you are trying to fish for real saison tastes.

JOUNRALSLETIC ENTEGRITY

JOUNRALSLETIC ENTEGRITY

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.

It's totally acceptable to shamelessly order 15 tasters from a bartender. They love that, you shouldn't feel like a self indulgent asshole at all.

It’s totally acceptable to shamelessly order 15 tasters from a bartender. They love that, you shouldn’t feel like a self indulgent asshole at all.

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.

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Guize Let’s Review Four Beers from Saint Archer before the Storage Wars Marathon Starts.

Like baseball, the beer world is a sphere with a tight orbit. Revolutions come and go, epochs arrive within the space of a year, and sunsets cascade endlessly like so many sliders strewn across the horizon. As a result, beer consumers are assholes with elephantine memories. If a beer was infected during the Bush administration, you’ll be damn sure someone who wasn’t even into craft beer at that time will be spouting petty epithets. LOL BC FLAT ABEY and Hellshire II amirite? You can even give full refunds for beers a and there will be some dumbass fresh out of undergrad who wants to still mention BURERY IS QC PROBLEM.

Montage Pale Kids

Montage Pale Kids

This is the culture we live in, petty mouthbreathers who don’t often forgive and even more rarely forget.

In the spirit, today I want to review some beers from a brewery that had a PR face plant earlier this year, to give them a fair shake and see if the product warrants overlooking some baseball comments. Full disclosure, I don’t even sports so I could give a shit less what stadiums peddle what beers at which huge arenas funded by public money then named after shitty corporations. I care about sugar water, not vicariously living through people in better shape than I am playing professional versions of elementary school recess diversions.. Just so we are on the same page.

Let’s review some shelfies today, for a change of pace:

that Bt1 glass, a ghost from the past.

that Bt1 glass, a ghost from the past.

St. Archer pale ale:

Ok get ready for your nutsack to detonate with a de novo beer of complete first impression. No way, a California ale strain with two row, cascade, simcoe and citra. I guess I can’t really fault a simple design since that is the archetype for a million pale ale iterations in closet carboys as we speak. The beer is admittedly pretty if not a touch dark in hue to my sensibilities, but maybe this is one of those beers that craves a can format. The nose is more aserose, chive, a bit of melon, and a waft of ride on lawn mower. Pretty standard affair with nothing discernibly bad or noteworthy either.

The taste is watery, a bit of sap and pine, some shallot and a chard finish. Nothing that will give you pause one way or another. At a certain point what the fuck do you really want? Should every pale be zombie dust and edward? Can’t we just stop arguing over finances and agree that your mother in law cannot stay with us? This beer is fine, you could do worse, or you could pay less and buy Lagunitas and be in materially unchanged position. Who gives a shit.

I drank this poolside to test the marketing on "normal" people and it was received with much fanfare. I am a jaded old hermit with long balls.

I drank this poolside to test the marketing on “normal” people and it was received with much fanfare. I am a jaded old hermit with long balls.

Regular Ass IPA

WELP, if you loved the pale ale, you will really love the slightly larger version with more rear passenger legroom. This is better than the pale because of the finish having a touch more malt to balance out the vegetal pale ale aspects and the mouthfeel isn’t a water park affair replete with splish, splash attendant thereto. In the most crowded craft beer segment, this offers up an offering safer than a Latter Day Saint using two condoms.

AN excellent beer for BOOM CUP, if you know what that is. U betr axe sumbuddy

AN excellent beer for BOOM CUP, if you know what that is. U betr axe sumbuddy

In a blind IPA tasting this will hit the dead median by courting palates with accessibility over originality. It is world’s better than Sam Adams ipas or New Belgium’s Ranger, but from a smaller craft segment it has a tough time actively competing against Pizza Port or Three Floyds’ comparable offerings. Again, nothing to avoid and a solid grocery store pick. Price point is there, product is there, what more do you want from DDb? We live in a world awash with choices, so why are you making out with your second cousin? SHE IS CLEARLY ON MOLLY.

Now things are heating up.

Now things are heating up.

Double ipa:

One thing that you begin to notice while working through the St Archer lineup in reverse ethanol content, lowest to highest, is that you see that they maintain that Three Floyd’s sort of existence where they shine the most in the upper registry. Their marketing and branding seems wholly focused on some fresh fun San Diegan experience but I don’t buy it. Like those gems Arctic Panzer Wolf, Deadnaught, and Space Station Middle Finger, their Dipas are where the tires meet the asphalt. The St. Archer double ipa takes the muted aspects from the regular ipa and ramps them up beautifully. The malts are still restrained and provide just enough volume for that hoppy internal combustion to occur. It is sappy, pithy, a nice sweetness to the middle body that underscores the pine and baby kale. The tropical fruits sit idly in the backseat asking how much longer, kicking the alpha acid seat making you wish you opted for those coney flip down monitors in your India pale Aledyssey. It almost seems massively out of place relative to the rest of their gentle catalog and its a shame you don’t see it being pushed nearly as hard as the sessionable offerings.  Typical.  Hide the best shit, pump the forgettable offerings aka that Fremont Brewing strategy.

shit gets real when that TB2.0 globe hits the scene.

shit gets real when that TB2.0 globe hits the scene.

Mosaic Ipa
Alright now to the logical conclusion of this “saint bigger is saint better” archetype. The mosaic ipa is a massive 9% Abv arsenal of cut grass, wheatgrass, lemon zest, cantaloupe, and cut firewood cords. This one is not just phenomenal within the subset of the St Archer catalog, it is great in the global sense relative to all other Dipas, mosaic or otherwise. I know you will do a spit take but hear me out. This is seriously awesome.

Part of me feels like they dropped the marketing ball once again in a major way. At first glance this looks like a mild riff on the existing ipa, but no, this is an altogether different beast. The mouthfeel coats substantially and burns off under the press of its own oily disposition. They really should have done a better job establishing that this is damn near on the rails to bring a triple ipa, not just some standard ipa. It feels weird lambasting a brewery for not doing a better job explaining why their shit is amazing, since most self aggrandizing marketing is laughably bad. But seriously, the average consumer has no idea what they are passing over, and how could they?  This is a hulking giant of alpha acid firepower that craves your oral embrace.

I know most Vermont dipshits think DIPAs need to look like Donald Duck orange juice to be good. settle down.

I know most Vermont dipshits think DIPAs need to look like Donald Duck orange juice to be good. settle down.

In sum, St Archer is silently creating some awesome beers and their marketing team needs to direct consumer attention to these very relevant developments. No one gives a shirtless uncle fuck about the blonde, or the innumerable predictable riffs on a california ale strain. If they are gonna make massive delicious beers like this mosaic (d)ipa, then sign me up for that and leave baseball and the low abv bullshit off my radar.

Tl;dr the mosaic is awesome so buy it, baseball isnt srs bznss.