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Four Brewers: Craft Beer and Homebrew

Feb 2, 2015

Season 2, Episode 5 We’re back in the South Bay at our final stop of our on-location recording session, El Segundo Brewing Co., with special guest and Certified Cicerone, Thomas Kelley.

El Segundo Brewing Co. (@ESBCbrews), located in the city of its namesake, has quickly gained recognition as one Southern California’s best IPA breweries in the last few years. After opening its doors in May of 2011, brewer Rob Croxall and self-titled “Rain Maker” Thomas Kelly, set their sights on making great beers, one style at a time. This logic was partially due to their limited access to some of the more popular hops, such as Citra and Mosaic, as well as Rob’s limited experience as a professional brewer. Rob had some solid recipes from his days of homebrewing, and eventually, they secured the ingredients and the experience they needed to make the beers that would eventually make them stand out in a heavily competitive Southern California craft beer market. 

El Segundo Brewing Co.
El Segundo Brewing Co.

We kick the show off with a delicious pale ale made with Citra hops, named Blue House Citra Pale. It’s a fairly simply grain bill, consisting of 2 row and Vienna malts. The Citra hops provide flavors similar to tangerine juice and lemonade. It’s ESBC’s biggest selling beer, and rightly so. At 5.5% ABV, one could down a few pints without regretting it the following day, while still experiencing a beer with the hop punch of an IPA. 

Next up is a very popular ESBC IPA that’s in limited rotation, Mayberry IPA. It was first brewed last year, and it flew off the shelves. The beer is brewed with mostly Mosaic hops, with Chinook used early in the boil for bittering and Cascade added later in the boil. One interesting thing about the way Rob dry hops his beers is that he doesn’t recirculate the hops in secondary. A common practice is to recirculate the beer with the dry hops with the use of a pump to maximize the exposure of the beer to the hops. Rob chooses to simply let the hops sit in the beer for a week or so, and occasionally inject carbon dioxide into the bottom of the tank to get the hops back into suspension. For home brewers, this is the equivalent of gently rousing the carboy to get the hops back into solution. Mayberry IPA has huge hop character, which goes to show that just because something is common practice doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best practice for everyone. 

El Segundo Brewing Co. - NO BEARDS WITHOUT GUARD
El Segundo Brewing Co. – NO BEARDS WITHOUT GUARD

The final beer is a departure from the others on the show thus far, a malty, fall seasonal beer conjured up by Thomas and other Certified Cicerones local to ESBC, a beer named Horn of Plenty. Part of ESBC’s “Cicerone Series” of beers, Horn of Plenty has the grain bill of a dunkel weisenbock, but is fermented with Westmalle Abbey Ale yeast. Lemon peel, thyme, and coriander were added in the brite tank, giving the beer a slight lemon edge on the nose. Special B malt was added to give it a rich, bread crust character, and Munich malt was used to help give the beer it’s ruby red hue. This beer was made to be paired with food and span different courses of a meal. The conversation on the show tangents for a bit into discussions about beer pairing, dinners, restaurants, and craft beer adoption in fine dining establishments. 

Thanks to the folks at El Segundo Brewing Co. for having us at their brewery. They’ve got fairly wide distribution in Southern California, so be sure to pick up a few bottles of ESBC brew when you see them. You won’t regret it.


Links to things from this week’s episode:
S2/E5 Show Outline
El Segundo Brewing Co.

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