Fruited, kettle-soured Berliner Weisse beers; lactose-packed pastry stouts with doughnuts; Tibetan honey; and even a milkshake IPA with strawberry Nestle quick, peanut butter and locally harvested peach cobbler. All of these are technically beer, but sometimes, it’s nice to reset one’s palate with a beer that tastes like just beer. You know, the kind with four ingredients: malted barley, hops, yeast and water. Asylum Brewing in Anaheim has just that, and it’s finally putting its beer in cans.
“Your brewery is sort of taking asylum from lactose and other hoo-ha found in beer these days,” I tell Asylum co-owner Tommy Sebestyen. We then laugh and crack open one of the freshly canned beers.
“Well, our Mexican lager has some lime zest,” he says.
Asylum’s invested brewer, Chris Brown, had years of experience in San Diego. “The name Asylum has multiple meanings, none of which are particularly inappropriate to the ethos of our brewery,” says Brown. “Here, you may seek asylum from the cheap ingredients, adjuncts and flavorless alternatives of the macro-beer world.”
The brewery’s haunting logo beckons with the mysterious silhouette of the once-foreboding Danvers Hospital in Massachusetts, which was built on the site of the infamous Salem witch trials. “Our intention isn’t to exploit these poor wretched individuals, but rather to honor them, help tell their story and keep memories of them alive,” says co-owner Gary Johnson.
Look for Fairweather Friend extra pale ale, Scurveza Mexican-style lager and my onetime pick for Beer of the Week Monsters We Breed Mosaic IPA on local store shelves and at the brewery itself (2970 E. La Palma Ave., Ste. D, Anaheim, 949-396-2099; asylumbrewingcompany.com.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening on June 29th in Anaheim!