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 ...
EPPIG BREWING: 10:45 TO DENVER
ABV: 7 percent
Pair with: Carne asada tacos
This beer comes to us from Nate Stephens, principal brewer at Eppig Brewing. This beer is hop-filled, tasty and dank. It's a classic West Coast IPA that Eppig needed within their lineup. The beer is an enjoyable one not only for tasting, but for brewing, Stephens said.
"10:45 to Denver is a fun IPA to brew because it's definitely a contemporary version of a West Coast style IPA, but includes fun call backs to IPAs brewed in San Diego over the last decade. 10:45's aroma is a blast of new world Yakima hops and the color leans more orange than most new IPAs that are hitting tasting rooms around town today," Stephens said. "It is by no means a malty IPA but it's present and a great counter point the prodigious amount of hops used in brewing this beer. That said, it has a splendidly dry finish like modern west coast styles exhibit but the flavor still lingers on the palette in a very pleasant way. It doesn't just disappear which can happen with a more simplified malt bill."
This hop-forward - without being so hoppy your taste buds can't get a break - beer is a return to something that we all know well style wise. It's done in a thoughtful way, though. This West Coast IPA is not hazy, or juicy. It's not flavored with fruit extracts. It's just a solid IPA that sips clean and hoppy, like it is from San Diego. We like it because it's full of light citrus notes that linger due to the strong presence of Mosaic hops. Stephens said there's more to it than that, though.
"The dominate hop profile is earthy, danky Mosaic but it's tempered with a healthy dose of Cascade [too]. Mosaic has a tendency to dominate its environment, meaning if you dry hop with it and a few other hops, there's a good chance it just ends up smelling like Mosaic," Stephens said. "That said, if Mosaic is the lead singer, then Cascade does a great job with backup vocals. It brings subtle notes of pine and citrus and helps fill out a really intriguing, complex aroma profile."
The best part of 10:45 to Denver for Stephens is also one of our favorite parts of this beer: It's balanced as hell, not too in-your-face and just an overall enjoyable experience.
"I love the balance of it," he said. "The aroma of the beer is super punchy, potentially causing you to brace yourself for something extremely bitter. But once you taste it, it's a wonderful mix of restrained hop bitterness interacting with a pronounced, but not intrusive, malt profile and a super clean, balanced finish."
If, like us, you're curious about the name of this beer, and wonder what the possible flight time is alluding to, Stephens said it's about a trip to the Great American Beer Festival several years ago. He said that if you visit him in the tasting room, you might just be lucky enough to get the full story.
"It's a reference to an extremely fun trip to GABF a few years back - probably too much fun," he said. "It's a fun name because for the uninitiated, it can imply many different things. A friend of mine mentioned she really liked the name, and when I asked her what she liked about it she said it made her feel a little bit dangerous when ordering the beer. I take that as a good thing."
Stephens said that this beer has been Eppig's best selling since it was put on tap late last year. It is a testament to the West Coast style of beer evolving and living, he said. Not all good and new things have to be hazy, flavored or on nitro to be tasty in today's ever-changing world of beer.
This beer is currently available to try on tap at Eppig Brewing. Get it while it's cold!
3052 El Cajon Blvd., Suite C, North Park. eppigbrewing.com