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 ...
ChuckAlek Independent Brewers: All You Need is Love
Pair with: aged Gouda cheese
This beer is malty and filled with toffeelike flavors and a fruity nose. It's a new spin on the traditional altbier style with a darker, red color and a hoppier flavor, which comes from dry hopping the beer. What we like most is the message behind this special beer project, called "All You Need is Love."
This beer comes to us from the team at ChuckAlek Independent Brewers. We spoke to their head brewer, Grant Fraley, about this delicious and meaningful brew.
The project started off as a way to benefit the victims and families of the Pulse nightclub tragedy in Orlando, Fla. Karl Strauss Brewing Company and Hillcrest Brewing Company came up with the idea, brewing a special recipe for their collaboration beer. Karl Strauss then asked other San Diego breweries to create their own versions of the beer with the same name.
How long did it take to have this project come together, including the brewing process and getting the beers into tasting rooms? Less than a month, Fraley said.
"It was probably an order of three to four weeks, which really is not much time. It was short, but doable, obviously, since everyone somehow made it happen," he said.
To make this beer something special in time for the San Diego LGBT Pride Festival, he started with what he knew.
"We make altbiers often so that wasn't an issue for us, but we wanted to have a little bit of fun with this one," Fraley said. "We added in Hull Melon for dry hopping, which play nicely with the pear flavors expressed by our Polish ale yeast strain. We also added different malts than we normally would to achieve a deeper, red color. We replaced the nutty-sweet Caramel Munich malts often found in Alt with some roasted crystal malt from the U.K., which lends a toffee note to the beer."
Basically, they Frankenstein-ed their standard, functional altbier recipe to make it something new and memorable for the occasion - and it worked. Grant also added in a Polish ale yeast instead of a German ale yeast so it could ferment and condition at a much quicker pace.
"We took everything and just tweaked it a little bit to make it a unique, fun altbier. We were happy with how this one turned out, especially with having to turn it around so fast."
The best part of this awesome altbier? The message of unity and love that was spread through beer, and the involvement that many San Diego brewers had in making that happen.
"It was really cool to be part of a positive effort for such a negative event, something that none of us would like to see happen again," Fraley said. "Karl Strauss did a great job getting everyone organized from the San Diego Brewers Guild and together for this, in a quick amount of time. We haven't done many things like this, all of us working together for something important and big through beer, in a long time."
This beer will be on tap for a few more weeks at ChuckAlek Biergarten in North Park . Get it while it's cold!
3139 University Ave., North Park. chuckalek.com