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...
Rouleur Brewing Company: The Soloist
Style: Belgian Strong Golden Ale
ABV: 8.8 percent
Pair with: Salmon salad
This beer comes to us from Rawley R. Macias, head "rouleur" and brewer at Rouleur Brewing Company. Macias started up his Carlsbad brewery through the Brewery Igniter program, which offers assistance in opening up shop for small brewers in the San Diego area.
The theme of this beautiful new spot (pronounced "ruler") is cycling, as evidenced by the engineered wheel art installation on the wall as you enter the facility. The term for an all-around good rider is a rouleur, which Macias felt a fitting name for the brewery. Macias' passion for cycling developed a few years ago when he was self-proclaimed "out of shape" and he discovered cycling as a way of life that changed him deeply.
Macias was previously an engineer with a well-developed home brew setup that he crafted beer on for 12 years before taking on his current role at Rouleur.
The beer itself is one that Macias has been brewing for a while, and is an excellent change
of pace if you're looking for something a little different. Belgian golden strong ales aren't easy to find regularly on tap in San Diego, and it's nice to know that this will be one of Rouleur's flagship beers, which will be available year round. It is nearly nine percent and drinks like it's about six percent, making it a brew that can wear the sash of "dangerously drinkable."
"The reason I called this beer that is because it's a traditional Belgian style; it's also incredibly simple ingredient-wise. It has one type of grain and one type of hop, where other beers have multiple grains and two to four different hops, at least," he said. "To do a golden strong, it comes down to technique. It's all about the fermentation: your pitching rate, the temperature which you mash at. There's a lot of dextrose (sugar) in the process to work with. It seemed fitting for the beer."
Fitting indeed, as the word soloist is a general term for a cyclist who can ride well on his own, Macias explained. While this isn't a light, "crushable" brew that is truly ideal for day drinking, per say, it is a nice treat of a beer that could be enjoyed in any weather. Macias said that he originally had brewed it as a more winter-time beer.
"I brewed this beer as a Christmas beer when I first brewed it," he said. "Most people during the holidays brew a spiced ale, which is fine, but with all my beers I wanted to drink at least two of them without being exhausted on the palate... When I think of a holiday beer, I think of something with high alcohol. I like this one because you can drink it in the sun, or when it's cold out."
All of Macias' beers are Belgian inspired, primarily because as a former beer judge he really likes to taste the yeast within his beer, he explained.
"When you have a beer that's bottled from Belgium, a true Belgian beer, the Belgian 'quality' that we taste is actually less forward than an American-brewed Belgian beer," Macias said. "Here, we brew it to taste Belgian-forward with cloves and spices all in your face.
"I don't like mine to be obnoxious, I like it to be pretty delicate. With this one, we used a nice golden yeast strain. I could open my doors and offer five super hoppy IPAs, but that wouldn't make me happy as a brewer. I have to brew something I'm passionate about to be excited about it."
This beer is currently available to try on tap at Rouleur Brewing Co. Get it while it's cold!
Rouleur Brewing, 5840 El Camino Real, Suite 101, Carlsbad. rouleurbrewing.com