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...
Half Door Brewing Co.: #Buzzwords
Style: Double IPA
Pair with: spicy Thai noodles
This brew is filled with ample citrus flavors. It is thick in mouth feel with a heavy hop profile that we crave in a double IPA. What sets it apart is its appearance, being a very hazy, unfiltered brew with a light yellow color.
This beer comes to us from Daniel Door, head brewer at Half Door Brewing. The fun name of this brew, #Buzzwords, is meant to be a bit of a knock on marketing within the industry and companies that aim to get attention through use of buzzwords and catchy slogans. This ultra-hoppy, resinous brew is described as a "super dank pale ale" on the menu, although it is not a pale ale. Wait, what?
It's sarcasm, as Door explains. "Well I mean, look at the beer. It's pale in color... Right?"
The theme of Half Door Brewing's tap list is making light of the sometimes very serious, very descriptive craft beer industry. In addition to the style, the description, written by Door, also offers a funny tone: "This s* is so lit, it will leave you in the burn ward."
His current brewing ideals differ from some in the San Diego community. Door has been looking to brew beers similar to some of the stand-outs on the East Coast, like Heady Topper. He said he had been trying a lot of East Coast beers and was impressed with the way they tasted and lasted.
"I like this beer because it shows how much we are learning. We have been open for about a year and three months and are using science to make a better product, in a faster time, with less ingredients. It's all about the attention to detail while doing this," Door said.
This beer is brewed with Chinook, Galaxy, Citra, Mosaic and Moteuka hops which give it a complex hop profile and that bite that we want from a double IPA. But just how fast can he brew this hoppy, hazy treat? Give him eight days and it will be in the tasting room ready to drink.
"When fresh, #Buzzwords is oily, chewy and coats your tongue. It's awesome," Door said. "We're trying to figure out how to make it last even longer than it does now while maintaining the speed of making the product. We are big on protein and we use a bohemian pils malt. The protein adds body and we don't use any caramel malts. We're against that. Very, very basic stuff is what we're interested in. We use the same recipe in several of our beers with slight modifications and it works."
Door has been in the industry within San Diego for years, with a background at Monkey Paw and Coronado Brewing Co. He has been obsessed with learning about beer since the beginning, but started small to get into the ever-booming industry.
"I loved Coronado when I worked there because they let me do what I wanted. Yes, I still had to do their stuff but I didn't mind, and they gave me free reign pretty much. I ran the brew pub for two years and I worked it for about five. I started there basically working for free, labeling bottles and cleaning. I worked [my way] up."
Flash forward to current day. Door is head honcho, brewing several unfiltered varieties, IPAs, a grapefruit radler, some Nitro stout selections and sours at Half Door on his own accord. The brewery is finishing up their upper deck construction, set to be complete by the end of May, adding more room to enjoy beers, food and cocktails at the restaurant-brewery that neighbors Petco Park.
Who does he have to thank for all he knows and has learned? Many people, but mainly from someone who does not really represent "craft beer" as we imagine it.
"I learned from a lot of people, from every brewery. Peter Wolfe was the main guy I went to for information first. Sorry, but he works for Budweiser. He did his PhD at Oregon State University on dry hopping and aeromatic compounds and that was something I read and applied to our process heavily. But, there's so many people in San Diego and generally if you ask them, they will help you. improve."
This beer is currently available on tap at Half Door Brewing Co. Get it while it's cold!
903 Island Ave., downtown. halfdoorbrewing.com