It’s always good to have friends. One of my friends lives in Novato. When I heard of the brewing musical chairs going on in the Bay Area, I thought I should give the brew coming out of Iron Springs in Fairfax a shot. Thanks Tommy, you are a good friend.
I gave Tommy a growler during my daughter’s birthday with a list of 3 beers supposedly currently on tap. The list was Kent Lake Kolsch, Casey Jones Imperial IPA, and Sless’ Stimulating Stout. I’ve been interested in Kolsch since Sam started heaping praise on the style last summer. It’s a hard to find style, but appears to be gaining popularity as brewers look for less hoppy alternatives. The Imperial IPA is self explanatory, and the stout won gold at the 2008 World Beer Cup. Well, none were on tap. The bartender recommended the Epihpany Ale, which took Bronze at the 2006 World Beer Cup.
Now, before i go into the beer, a little disclaimer. While Tommy is a very good friend, he’s not a big beer drinker, and therefore, I’m not sure how he kept the beer. He told me the night before delivering the beer everyone claimed he would forget the beer, but he had a solution, he kept the beer in his car. Not sure how long it was in the car, but it was at least one night. So there you have it, the condition of the growler was uncertain. I knew he had bought it 6 days prior, but that was it.
So with this in mind I cracked the growler and poured myself a beer. It frothed up with a medium sized head which hung around for a decent amount of time. There was an odd swirl in the beer as the carbonation rose into the head. It was anarchy within the bubbles, which slowly rose through the beer but in whichever manner each one chose. The aroma was of malt, yeast and alcohol. Very reminiscent of a fresh carboy of homebrew.
On the first taste you’re hit with a lot of rich malt, but also a big kick of bitter hops that hang around on the palate. It took me a few sips to get into this beer, but once I did, I really dug it. It is listed on their website as an amber ale, and by appearances, that is true. When I drink this beer, I’m reminded of a homebrewed ale where the brewer goes all out with malt and hops. There is something very raw about this beer. I don’t mean raw as a bad thing by any means. Think of raw as that funky blues band that carries the rough edges on purpose, scorching live stages with emotion. That’s what this beer is.
I had asked for a recommendation on beers from William Brand, and he told me that everything they make is quite good. He wasn’t wrong about this one, that’s for sure. I have to say I drank the whole growler by myself. I’m going to say it’s my wife’s fault, she told me not to share. Who am I to not do what I’m told?