Tasting a brand-new brewery’s beer is still one of the best things to do on a lazy weekend. Not only do you have no idea what your taste buds are in store for, there some degree of excitement to see what the tasting room is going to be like, or even who you might run into.
Finally open after a lengthy two-year build-out is Costa Mesa’s Brewing Reserve of California, a literal mom and pop opened by Steve and Teryle Aguilar that sits a few blocks from IKEA. Six first-run beers are currently on tap: an IPA, Pale Ale, Belgian single, Hefeweizen, a Honey Blonde, and a Saison. Surprisingly, the highest alcohol beer offered thus far is 5.5%, meaning you should be able to taste through the rainbow and grab a pint of your favorite before Lyfting to a possible next spot.
And that, I did. A half dozen beers sit in front of me on their large wooden-block tables, I pull one out of their block taster-holders, lean back in the mid-century modern cushy chairs and sip through the fresh offerings. Speaking of IKEA, this tasting room feels like a well-curated showroom, but with a bar full of beer.
The flight is full of fun with the Saison being my pint-worthy go-to. It has a nice floral-earthy character with some clover honey-glazed tamarind notes, a touch of ginger, clove, and has a zippy mouthfeel. Nailing that much yeast character in a lighter Saison has some risks as a warmer fermentation can yield some unwanted phenols as the beer warms. Solution: drink faster than me. Bigger beers are forthcoming, but don’t let that stop you from going in and trying one of OC’s latest brewery openings.
Saison translates as season, and spring is when the beer style is most appropriate. Go grab a pint to pair with your spring-time allergies!
Brewing Reserve of California is at 2930 College Ave Suite D, Costa Mesa, (714) 884-4704; brcbeer.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 this June!