Beer of the week: Surf Reaper

The founder of Beach Grease Beer Company created a “Golden” IPA and he’s not backing down


Beer Name: Surf Reaper
Brewery: Beach Grease Beer Company
Style: “Golden” IPA
ABV: 6.9%

In an expansive warehouse in Vista, Beach Grease Beer Company tantalizes the eyes with colorful surfboards, hot rods, bike helmets and motorcycles. It also tempts the palate with a range of cleverly-named IPAs and lagers like Surf Zombie, Bury Me A G and Piston & Palms.

PACIFIC spoke with James Banuelos, founder of Beach Grease to find out the scoop on its popular Surf Reaper “Golden” IPA.

For readers, what’s a golden IPA?
JAMES: “Golden” IPA is a term I came up with and have subsequently caught some heat from. Unfazed, I stick by it. My Surf Reaper “Golden” IPA is simply golden by color. It’s crisp, resinous, and has insane aroma and bitterness that doesn’t linger after swallowing. We use the freshest Citra and Mosaic hops to achieve this poundable West Coast-style, hop-forward, classic IPA.

How did you come up with the name Beach Grease?
JAMES: It was a derivative of an art show I created and curated back in 2012 at Known Gallery in Los Angeles called Oil & Water. The concept showcased surfboards painted by graffiti artist, custom cars and era-specific choppers. Beach Grease as a beer brand focuses on California subcultures that I have personally participated in since my childhood: surfing, skateboarding, street art, choppers, custom cars, music, hot rods and tattooing.

How about the name Surf Reaper?
JAMES: This beer and brand mascot was created as a tribute to my upbringing in Santa Cruz. Growing up there and mostly riding Santa Cruz skateboards decks, I fell in love with their edgy, bold color and counterculture skate graphics. I always loved artwork with reapers and thought it was a cool idea to run a surfing reaper on my first beer to the market.

What’s in it?
JAMES: Everything rad about California (laughs)! Citra and Mosaic hops.

What should someone expect for their first time trying Surf Reaper?
JAMES: Strong, West Coast hop character including citrus, papaya and stone fruit from the Citra and Mosaic hop additions, balanced by a biscuity malt backbone from a premium malt.

Perfect pairing?
JAMES: Surf Reaper goes very well with pulled pork, fish and or carne asada tacos.

Where can I get it and for how long?
JAMES: It is our staple beer and can be found at about 350 regional locations.
(Here’s a map)

Extra juicy tidbit?
JAMES: We just did a very limited can and draft release of “Crusin For A Boozin” IPA, a collaborative effort with Beer Savage. Beer Savage is a beer drinking enthusiasts lifestyle brand that has done collaborations with Pizza Port, Black Plague, Gun Whale, Artifex, and Modern Times. The beer we created for this project has blown some serious IPA buffs away and we enjoy it on the daily!

This beer gal’s take: For those who love straight-up, crushable IPAs, Surf Reaper is your jam. Refreshing and perfectly suited for warm and sunny San Diego days, Surf Reaper screams SoCal. Head on up to Vista for a unique brewery experience at Beach Grease and walk among the eye candy of surfboard artwork and hot rods. Love their graphics and vibe? Check out an impressive range of brewery merchandise for sale at the tasting room and on the website.