There can only be one undistributed beer of the week. The competition is fierce in San Diego's beer community, but someone has to take the title. This week's best undistributed beer is...
Iron Fist Brewing Co: Estrella Del Barrio
Pair with: ceviche
This serrano-heavy brew is spicy yet light, crisp and drinkable. It's got a zesty-lime taste on top of the lager-like flavor, making it a Mexican-inspired beer ideal for summertime sippin' in San Diego.
The story: This beer comes to us Brandon Sieminski, head brewer at Iron Fist Brewing Co. The inspiration for this beer came to Brandon after Iron Fist's first go at a pre-prohibition style American Lager.
"As soon as I tried it, I really wanted to try a version with serrano peppers and lime. Unfortunately, the amount of beer we get from a pilot batch isn't really enough to play around with," Sieminski said.
After letting the dream of this brew go, the brewery made a production batch of the original lager and called it "Logan Lager" because of the new Barrio Logan tasting room. One day, Sieminski's dad (who works in the tasting room at the Barrio Logan location) told him that customers were coming by and suggesting that they'd like to see the Logan Lager with a hint of lime.
"That was all the excuse I needed to give it a try. I took some Logan Lager, chopped up some serrano peppers, zested and juiced some limes, and let them soak together for a week," he said "That keg was then sent to Barrio where it was quickly became a favorite and was given the name Estrella Del Barrio."
The interesting part about this brew is the flavor. Some people may think hot when they hear serrano pepper in a beer and might consider turning away from a spicy brew. The flavor in this beer, however, is not hot in temperature but just rich in the flavor of a pepper.
"I really love spicy food, but I have my reservations about spicy beers. With food, you get most of the spice in your mouth, whereas with spicy liquids, your throat really catches the worst of it, and I'm not the biggest fan in most cases," Sieminski said. "The way we prepared the peppers allowed us to pack in a lot for as much delicious serrano flavor as possible, but with less heat than usual."
After the flavor of serrano hits, you'll notice a slight kiss of lime that rounds out the beer's profile. I imagine sipping this beer with some chips and guac for a yummy Mexican meal, maybe near the water or with a view of the Coronado Bridge at Iron Fist's Barrio Logan tasting room.
This beer is currently available on tap at Iron Fist Brewing Co.
Iron Fist Brewing Co., 1305 Hot Spring Way, Vista or 1985 National Ave., Barrio Logan. ironfistbrewing.com