In yet another attempt at diversifying this website, I am dedicating this entry to the first quarterly shipment of beers in The Bruery's latest membership club - The Preservation Society. Unlike their other membership levels, The Reserve Society and The Hoarders Society, this one does not let members choose additional bottles or special releases as part of their dues, but rather opts for 4 shipments of 3 beers throughout the year. You can cancel your membership at any quarter and/or opt to upgrade at the end of the year when there is open registration for the next level up, The Reserve Society.
So before I get to talking about these 3 beers, it should be known that I am not really the biggest of Bruery fans. I appreciate their brewing philosophy and approach. I especially like that they've brought craft beer to a higher level in the outer Los Angeles area. But, I've never quite been won over by their overall beers to tip over into the "fanboy" zone that so many beer enthusiasts seem to be. That said, I was both excited for and pleased with Imperial Loakal Red. I'm a huge amber/red beer guy. I like the balance of hops and malts best within this brewing style. The fact that The Bruery was including a particularly hoppy beer in this first quarter shipment was both a surprise and a pleasure. This baby tasted like sweet citrus, bitter toffee, and floral pine! With an abv kicked up to 12%, it also packed a punch. An awesome, oaky, vanilla, and hoppy punch...but a punch nonetheless. The fact that this one is now available in limited quantities on their website for additional purchase is an excellent thing...I've ordered several already.
Of the three beers included in this shipment, White Chocolate is probably the most infamous of the lot. It's also easily the most sought after and a good selling point for the Preservation Society memberships. As far as I'm concerned, this beer sits up there with the other decadent beers that The Bruery offers like Black Tuesday, Grey Monday, Chocolate Rain, and Melange 3. While maybe not quite as prestigious as those beers, it's in the same range of abv and notoriety. Being billed as a "summer" barley-wine, the appearance is certainly light and fluffy. But the additions of vanilla beans and cacao nibs give this beer an insane flavor profile. It. Is. White. Chocolate. The aroma, the taste, the texture. It's a spot on representation of what the beer claims to be. I opened this one on my wedding anniversary and shared it with a few close friends who were over. To explain how great I thought this beer was...I immediately regretted pouring out too much for everyone else and wish I had had more for myself.
The last of the first quarter Bruery brews was the sour of the group. I'm not a sour fan. I'm open to trying them and I dig the occasional wild or farmhouse ale. But when it comes to straight up sours, they just don't jive with me. It could be my weakness for overly acidic foods and drinks. It could be my sordid past with Sour Patch Kids. Or it could just be that I don't quite have the refined palate that I think I do. But whatever it is, despite the fact that Sans Pagaie is one of the higher rated kriek beers you can find, I couldn't finish the bottle. In fact, it made me feel like shit. And at only 6% abv, it wasn't an alcohol thing. It was an acid reflux thing. And it sucked. Hard! Thankfully a friend came over later in the day who loves the puckering stuff and gladly finished what I couldn't.
So simply put, is the cost of a quarterly payment worth it for the quality of beers The Bruery includes in this package. My answer so far is yes. Two out of three killer beers and one that just isn't my thing easily justify the price point for some finely crafted brews that I couldn't easily get otherwise. Will every quarter be as good as this? Probably not. But I'd guess that most will come close and a few will probably even surpass it. If nothing else, they've got me hooked for the next shipment.