Undistributed beer of the week: Bill and Derek’s Excellent Adventure from Abnormal Beer Co.


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 ...


Style: Porter - Imperial

ABV: 10 percent

Pair with: Pork tenderloin

The story:

This beer comes to us from Derek Gallanosa, head brewer at Abnormal Beer Company, in Rancho Bernardo. The chocolatey, coffee-based brew is complex, drinkable and dangerously smooth. It has notes of citrus, is sweetened by vanilla powder and yet, with all the flavors going on, it remains pretty balanced. The beer pours dark brown, almost black in color, with a beautiful, tan head.

Creating this thick and velvety beer took a bit longer than a normal brew-day process would, Gallanosa said.

“The main difference is that we max out the mash tun (brewing container) and had an extended boil of three hours versus our normal 90-minute boil,” he said. “Also, after primary fermentation, we infuse coarse-ground coffee by recirculating the entire tank through a hop back vessel.”

The coffee used in this brew is a blend of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from local artisan coffee roasters, Mostra Coffee. Abnormal has put out quite a few coffee brews, including a favorite among beer drinkers, M3 - which also is made with Mostra. Gallanosa said they use the San Diego-based brand each time they brew a coffee beer because of its ability to really complement their beer.

“The roaster is one of my best friends. It’s the only coffee I use in my beers because of the quality and attention to detail they put into their beer collaborations,” he said. “There is a whole cupping process that we do to determine which varietal of bean will work best in each particular brew.

“Mostra Mocha Stout, one of our core beers, uses their Fortissimo Espresso Blend. M3 uses Costa Rica. Bill and Derek’s uses Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and our upcoming bottle release, All of the Lights, uses Brazil.”

Gallanosa teamed up with Mikkeller Brewing - San Diego to craft this special, roast-y beer for a dinner series at The Cork and Craft, Abnormal’s restaurant. The ongoing series allows for various collaborations with the best breweries around town.

“August’s beer dinner was with Mikkeller, thus spawning the creation of this beer. We wanted to do something big because we recently came off of a series of hoppy brews,” Gallanosa said. “Bill and Derek’s Excellent Adventure is not only a coffee imperial porter, but also has vanilla powder, Belgian candy sugar and a small touch of sweet orange peel.”

Bill and Derek’s Excellent Adventure is an excellent choice to have around the holidays especially, in our opinion. With a nose full of chocolate and flavors of roasted coffee, sweet vanilla and that subtle kiss of orange, it is a decadent treat to sip through these chilly San Diego months. What pleases Gallanosa most about this beer is how it has developed and become something different from the original brew, while still maintaining its heart of being an incredibly smooth 10 percent alcohol-by-volume beer.

“We’ve had this beer on since August and it has been developing ever since,” he said. “Besides the drinkability for being such a big beer, I’d say the evolution of the tasting notes have been the most enjoyable. When the beer was fresh, it had strong coffee notes, but as it aged we experienced more of the vanilla coming though.”

This beer’s name comes from an iconic 1989 teen movie. Any guesses? For those who got it right, good job. For those who don’t know, it’s “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”

“Bill and Ted, played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, travel back in time to snag a bevy of historical heavyweights to help them with their high school history project. It was honestly the second name that came into our heads behind just naming it ‘Coffee Porter,’ ” Gallanosa said.

This beer is currently available to try on tap at Abnormal Beer Company. Get it while it’s cold!

Abnormal Beer Co., 16990 Via Tazon, Suite 123, Rancho Bernardo.