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 ...
Resident Brewing Co.: Human Submarine
Style: American Wheat Ale
Pair with: Shrimp salad or grilled halibut
This wheat beer is refreshing and extremely drinkable with a smooth-sailing ABV of 5.4 percent. Human Submarine has a more complex flavor to enjoy than the standard been-there-done-that wheat ale. It's light but packs a bit more flavor behind its two-row barley, thanks to the addition of lemon peel, orange peel and grains of paradise, a peppery spice also known as ossame. All of these factors make this brew a substantial summertime treat, ideal for a sunshine-filled day in San Diego.
This beer comes to us from Robert Masterson, brewmaster at Resident Brewing Company. Masterson was compelled to brew an American wheat ale and give it a little bit of a kick so that it could be drinkable, but not overly simple.
"We add three pounds of orange peel, three pounds of lemon peel and almost a pound of grains of paradise," Masterson said. "It's a decent amount of flavor that you get when you add that much fruit to the brew."
Masterson has brewed this beer for a few months now and said that his goal was to create a light-drinking yet flavorful beer for those traveling through San Diego, staying in the downtown area and for locals, as well.
"We added some tweaks into this beer to make it a little more interesting," he said. "We wanted to make it a bit more citrusy and peppered with the grains of paradise. I think it's very summery; it feels like San Diego. It's kinda like you're on vacation, taking a break from work or school and enjoying."
Masterson, who headed Resident Brewing's opening earlier this year, has been home brewing since 2009. Yep, just under eight years of brewing experience and he is now the brewmaster of Resident Brewing, which is not an easy feat. It all started with a love of craft beer and the gift of a home brew kit, he said.
"I started home-brewing when my brother-in-law and sister bought me a home brew kit. I was already really into craft beer, and so I joined a couple of home brew clubs. I went to all the meetings and started reading up on everything and started brewing a ton. I was brewing about 20-25 times a year. I was trying different styles, getting experimental and entering home brew competitions," he said.
How does one go from exploring a hobby to being a brewmaster and making a great beer such as Human Submarine in about seven years? Masterson explained that things started to take off when he began winning various home brewing contests with several unique beers he had crafted.
"What really kind of sparked this all was that I won back-to-back contests. I won the Stone Brewing Co. Homebrew Competition in 2013 (for a coconut IPA) and then right after that, I won the Karl Strauss contest; I got first place for my double IPA and third for the English barleywine," he said. "My brother-in-law wanted to help me get my beers out onto the market, so he worked with the people who owned (The Local, Resident's sister company), and we all came together for this project. We got investors involved and got the brewhouse up, did a lot of construction, and it's all been a lot of fun since then."
Masterson's favorite part about the sippable Human Submarine is that it's just an all-around, relaxed beer that is not complicated and delicious to drink.
"It's not hectic to brew at all. The grains of paradise are fun to crack open and release those aromas, which add a complimentary, slightly peppery flavor. I like it because it's lower in alcohol, very citrus-forward and an easy one. It's also more interesting and complex of a beer because it really is not just a traditional American wheat."
This beer is currently available to try on tap at Resident Brewing Co. Get it while it's cold!
1065 Fourth Ave., downtown. residentbrewing.com