"Beer in Colorado" is dedicated to that divine elixir born of the marriage of water, malt, hops, and yeast as interpreted
by those living in Colorado. Follow the author as he visits every brewery in the state, creates experimental homebrews,
attends beer festivals, tries interesting beers from around the world, and spreads the good word of beer. Prost!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Beer Not in Colorado: Green Flash

This is the sixth and final installment in our posts concerning our California beer adventure.  Read the previous five posts if you haven’t already.
The only thing that tastes better than beer is sticking it to the man.
Stone and Iron Fist behind us, we drove to our final brewery of the day and of the entire trip: Green Flash Brewing Co. from Vista, CA.  Following in the vein of its SoCal brethren The Bruery and Iron Fist, Green Flash is yet another roll-up-the-garage-door brewery where beer lovers can mingle—without barricades—amidst boiling kettles (as in they are actually, currently boiling), wet and slippery concrete floors, and bottling and boxing machines that look like they could tear a finger from the bone quicker than a man with diarrhea runs out of a crowded movie theater.  Bring the kids!
There are three or four folding tables that serve as a temporary bar during visiting hours.  Hanging above is a chalkboard with a list of what’s ready to drink.  Before coming to Green Flash, I was only familiar with one of their beers—West Coast IPA—because it was the only Green Flash beer available in Colorado.  Lo and behold, Green Flash actually has a pretty decent spread: nut browns, imperial IPAs, Belgian-style ale, barleywines, stouts.  I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that a brewery would have more than one beer to offer but it still took me aback since I was used to seeing nothing but West Coast IPA. 
I looked over this surprisingly extensive list, deciding what a good capper would be for our three-brewery day, and saw something that made me want to raise a fist and play Public Enemy’s Fight the Power on a ghetto blaster.  The first beer listed was named Fizzy Yellow Beer.
If you remember my post Beer Not in Colorado: Stone (or if you are at all familiar with the Stone Brewing Co.) then you know that one of Stone’s slogans is “Fizzy yellow beer is for wussies.”  Now, there is no way in hell that you could call Stone a major player on an international level.  You can find their beers coast-to-coast but even still calling them a national player would be a misnomer, too.  However, in SoCal and in the realm of craft beer, Stone is a juggernaut.  They’re not the evil, faceless corporations that pervade your local sports venue or hound you via billboards on your way to work but they are an unstoppable force if you’re a small brewery.  And a small brewery is Green Flash.  They’re not a major player at any level.  They’re just a few kettles in a loading dock.  They don’t even have a proper bar.  They toil for their craft and they scream into the night “I’m here!” but their cries are stifled by the success of their larger counterparts.  Success made possible by transitionary beer geeks who are hip enough to shun the macrobreweries of the world but still close-minded enough to only patronize a select few craft beer companies.  Their taste is refined but their sense of adventure is broken.  Does our proletariat hero bow down to its oppressor’s damning stance on well-carbonated, golden ale?  Nay, I say!  With puffed chest and clenched fists Green Flash spits in the eye of such notions and says, “Fizzy, yellow beer is for men and women whose courage fluctuates at different echelons.”  Are not many IPAs yellow and fizzy?  Do they not often knock the drinker on her ass with a haymaker of hoppy bitterness?  Stand, Brother, stand, Sister, and be counted!  ¡Viva la Destello Verde!   

Green Flash's scream against the maelstrom
For all this blustering, I didn’t even order that beer.  I’ll just put away my beret and Che T-shirt and continue this blog.

What I did order was a half-pint of the Double Stout (8.8% ABV).  Before you bust my balls about ordering a half-pint, you should know that a half-pint is the way to go: it’s bigger than a flight so you can really get into the beer before it’s gone and it’s smaller than a pint so you don’t fill up fast and you can try a whole host of beers without getting too inebriated.  Since this was our third brewery of the day, I actually was a little inebriated so it was to my advantage that they offered this smaller size.  When you read overly poetic tasting notes like “the color is like midnight on a moonless night” and that the head “is the color of crystallized brown sugar” then you know I’m starting to slip.  In addition to my flowery prose, sweet, caramel coffee essences permeate the nose and the roasted malts are noticeable but not obvious.  There is a chocolate aftertaste and it has a light mouthfeel for a stout.

Gah!  Look at this awful, fuzzy picture of Double Stout (it's the best I have)

The second beer I ordered was Le Freak (9.2% ABV), a mix between an American IPA and a Belgian trippel.  It is a clear yellow (don’t you tell me that this yellow, fizzy beer with an ABV of 9.2% is or wussies) and the aroma has pleasant, floral wafts.  It smells like walking past the Bath & Body Works.  At first, the IPA part of the beer nips at your tongue but that quickly subsides and is replaced by the flavor of Belgian yeast reminding the drinker of a wit beer.  There’s also a hint of orange in there. 
The author and Le Freak
 The last one I had was the Belgian Brown.  All I wrote down was that it was tart and sweet.  I remember that I really liked it but that’s pretty much it.
Belgian Brown
And that was our last day before we began the long drive home.  We finally got to Six Flags Magic Mountain but, since spring break was coming to a close, we couldn’t spend an entire day.  Still, I rode almost everything I’d ride given a full day.  I was, however, a little ticked to see that they’re actually plastering advertisements right on the roller coasters now.  Look, I’m trying to ride Viper, not Hair Gel Ad with Blatantly Homosexual Model: The Ride.
California, you did me well.  I applaud your excellent beer and I wish you continued success in your endeavors.  You truly deserve to be counted among the likes of Belgium and Bavaria when converstaion turns to the great brewing regions of the world.  But, there is a reason I live in Colorado and there is a reason this blog is called “Beer in Colorado.”  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll have myself a Titan IPA.
Ahh, tastes like home.
I do not have a lot to add since I was a bystander during this beer adventure. It was fun to see the brewers in action at Green Flash especially since their brewing attire included matching galoshes. I watched as they measured hop pellets into buckets and dumped them into the boil. At one point, I mused as to what they were brewing. Chris urged me to ask but, being the shy gal that I am, I made him ask. I think it was the West Coast IPA (Chris: it was).

As Chris enjoyed his beers, I acted as his scribe and scribbled notes on a piece of paper that was cluttering my purse. Chris was in fact being quite poetic as he described the color, aroma, and taste of the beer. Sure, I tasted the beers to help Chris identify subtle flavors (and the not so subtle ones, too) but I think Chris keeps me around to help him figure out the aroma. We all have our super power senses and mine are tasting and smelling. This probably doesn’t help get me far in life and it probably makes me sound crazy but it’s true. (You can imagine the problems this posed for me when we were at Iron Fist and the only table in the place that just happened to be by the bathroom. If you read the last blog, you know what I am talking about.) Maybe being a super-taster is what makes me such a picky eater.

My last thing to note is in response to Chris’ comments about Belgian Brown. As I geared up to write some notes about this beer, Chris told me that there was no need to take notes. He was sure that he would remember things about a “beer this good.”