More RateBeer Radness…

On Jan 30, 2014 - 0 Comments -

Following up on yesterday's super cool news that we were named one of the "Top 10 New Breweries In The World" by RateBeer is this cool little visual.

RateBeer released their "Best of" by region today, and I couldn't help but notice that we're in pretty good company. Being the top new brewery in California is rad, but when you're mentioned alongside these guys, it's hard not to geek out.

Top 10 New Brewery Of 2013

On Jan 29, 2014 - 2 Comments -

Well, I woke up to a pretty rad surprise: RateBeer selected us as one of their top 10 new breweries of 2013! This is quite an honor, both because the folks at RateBeer are exceedingly savvy and because 2,600 breweries were eligible. So for us to take the 9th spot is really an honor.

But a certain part of me will never be content with taking 9th place in anything, so I will hasten to add that we are one of the largest (if not the largest, by production volume) and youngest breweries to make the list. Scaling up and brewing as fast as humanly possible can come at the expense of quality, but our brewers have actually made our beer BETTER as we've sped up. And with only 6 months of brewing under our belts, I can absolutely 100% guarantee that the best is still to come from us.

Speaking of production volume, I'm excited and a little stressed to announce that we are brewing at maximum capacity. Since we launched in L.A./Ventura/Santa Barbara on January 6th, demand has significantly exceeded supply, and we are working like hell to squeeze every drop of beer possible from the tank space we have. We have more fermenters on order, which will allow us to double capacity in April, but it's now clear that even that won't be enough. We're hoping to add even more tanks (doubling current capacity again) this summer. 

We are incredibly thankful for the tremendous support we've received and all the awesome people who have helped make it possible. Los Angeles definitely deserves a special shout out for being so incredibly receptive to what we do, though. Being an L.A. native myself (Los Feliz/Silver Lake), I'm humbled and thrilled that my hometown has taken such an aggressive liking to our beer. It's incredibly cool.

Cheers & thanks,

Jacob McKean

Modern Times Beer

We’re Opening A Tasting Room in North Park

On Jan 15, 2014 - 28 Comments -

Surprise! Pretty wild. We’re stoked.

Here’s the deal: a couple of months ago, the folks developing The North Parker building at the corner of 30th St and Upas got in touch with me. They thought we might be a good fit for the last remaining commercial space on the ground floor of the building.

I was highly skeptical, and in fact, I didn’t return their call for a month. I wasn’t even remotely in the market for another project, being plenty busy with our existing tasting room and, ya know, running the brewery, which is only six months old and needier than a dozen shrieking baby marmots.

But I ended up meeting with them, and, well, here we are, announcing our second tasting room, The North Park Flavordome.

Here’s what convinced me to do it:

  1. The other tenants. We’ll be in the same building as Underbelly 2, Tacos Perla (the taco place from the very cool people who brought you The Pearl Hotel), and Influx coffee. As a North Park resident, I’m just hugely excited about what those businesses will bring to my neighborhood, and I wanted to be a part of it. The folks from Consortium (Underbelly) and LWP Group (La Perla) played a key role in convincing Jonathan Segal (the architect/developer) that we would be a good fit for the space, which made me feel hugely welcomed and honored since I have so much respect for what they do. I really feel that they’re collectively making San Diego a better, more interesting city to live in, and I want to help them do it.
  2. The location. We’ll have a tasting room on 30th St.—‘Murica’s Finest Beer Motorway—or whatever they’re calling it. Seriously, 30th St. has a national reputation as a craft beer destination, and this gives Modern Times a big, beautiful showcase right on it. But I wouldn’t do it if I weren’t totally confident that this will also be a boon to the places in the neighborhood that already carry our beer by helping us build a local fan-base. Win-win.
  3. The building. I’m convinced that the building will really help activate the southern section of 30th St in North Park. There are already great businesses around the 30th/Upas intersection, but The North Parker is going to help build critical mass, which will benefit everyone in the area. On a philosophical level, I’m also fully on-board with the idea that multi-story, mixed use buildings are the most sustainable, desirable form of development in a city that suffers from a major excess of sprawl. I only wish it were taller.
  4. The space itself. It’s going to be really, really cool. There’s 1,624 sq ft of interior space and two of the walls are made entirely of glass, with views right onto 30th St and into the lovely main walkway to the complex. There’ll also be two sizable outdoor seating areas, and if there’s anything San Diego desperately needs more of, it’s great places to drink local beer outdoors. Seriously, how is it that San Francisco and New York—cities with often lousy, depressing weather—have more good outdoor drinking spaces than San Diego? This must change, and we will help make it so. We’ll have 16 taps, and the space will be decorated in the gonzo DIY spirit of the Lomaland Fermentorium.

So that’s pretty much all the news for now. The project is in the very early stages, and we have a great deal of work left to do. I will hazard a guess that we will be open sometime in the spring/summer, but beyond that, there are just too many unknowns for me to say anything with authority.

WTF is a bourbon barrel-aged coffee bean?

On Jan 14, 2014 - 30 Comments -

Last week we tapped a very special beer at the Lomaland Fermentorium that has been many months in the making: Black House with bourbon barrel-aged coffee beans. I’m 100% confident that we are the first brewery to make such a beer, so we’ve understandably heard some requests to explain how we made it.

Here’s the basic premise: green (unroasted) coffee beans are extremely porous, and consequently, pick up aromas and flavors from their environment easily. Quality-focused coffee importers and roasters are hyper-sensitive to this issue, and go to great lengths to ensure that their green beans are not exposed to undesirable aromas during shipping and storage.

But what if you WANTED to add aroma and flavor to green beans? Well, you could, just by putting the beans in an environment where those aromas are prevalent and letting them sit there.

As far as I can tell, the first coffee roaster to experiment with barrel-aging green beans was Ceremony Coffee out of Maryland. While I was sourcing equipment for our in-house coffee roasting operation, I inadvertently stumbled upon their barrel-aged coffee and quickly ordered some. The coffee blew me away, and I knew immediately that a major component of our in-house roasting-for-beer operation would include barrel-aging green beans.

About 6 months ago, when our green coffee came in, I ran over to our friends at The Homebrewer and picked up a couple of dry 8 gallon former bourbon and rye barrels. We filled them with green beans and waited…and waited…and waited.

Roastface Killah Amy has been steadily dialing in the roast on these beans over the last few months, which is why we’ve been able to offer the odd cask with these beans here and there. But we felt like this most recent batch of beans was right in the sweet spot, so we decided to infuse two kegs of pre-coffee’d Black House with the bourbon barrel-aged beans (at the same coffee-to-beer ratio as normal Black House.)

The results are truly exciting. The aroma is huge, with major notes of bourbon, oak, and coffee leaping out of the glass. The flavor is a crazy mash up of the above flavors, plus chocolate, roast, and vanilla. It’s exactly the kind of super flavorful, boundary-pushing beer that got me into this whole starting-a-brewery thing to begin with.

In fact, I’m so pleased with the way this experiment turned out, I’m adding a full-scale batch of Black House with bourbon barrel-aged coffee beans to our “to-do” list (no schedule yet). I’m also putting a lot more green coffee into barrels ASAP.

And if you haven’t tried the beer yet, I’d suggest heading over to the Lomaland Fermentorium ASAP; there’s not much left.

Movie Nights at the Fermentorium!

On Jan 10, 2014 - 1 Comment -

So this is something we've been wanting to do ever since we first glimpsed the vast interior of the Lomaland Fermentorium. It's such a perfect space to show movies, it just begs for it. And once we realized that the giant white cold box would be towering over one corner of the tasting room, we knew we HAD to do it.

Well, now we're ready to make movie nights really happen. We got a screen, a sweet projector, and a killer sound system installed, and let me tell you, the results are frickin' sweet. The picture quality is gorgeous and the sound is crystal clear. We're so stoked for you all to check it out.

For our first movie, we picked one of our all-time favorites: ARMY OF DARKNESS, starring Bruce Campbell and his legendary chin. If you've never seen it, YOU HAVE NOT LIVED. And if you have seen it, you will definitely want to again on a 7'x12' screen with a tasty ass beer in your hand.

The first movie night will be Thursday, January 16th at 6:30pm. Bring your lawn chairs, your fleece blankets, your take-out dinner (or any other food you want), and your willingness to drink rad beer.

We're also holding a watercolor competition around each movie night. Whoever comes in to the Fermentorium and completes the best watercolor painting inspired by the next movie wins a special prize and will have their art displayed in the tasting room. May the best watercolorer prevail!

We’re Totally Sending Beer To L.A.!

On Jan 6, 2014 - 3 Comments -

Today, we officially launched in L.A.! Well, not just L.A. actually, but Santa Barbara and Ventura, too. We're incredibly stoked about the whole thing. So much so, in fact, that we had Roastface Killah Amy make this cockstaggering poster to commemorate this momentous occasion.

We also have a slew of radical events planned, so you can meet us and try all our beer and stuff:

Thursday, January 9th: 38 Degrees in Alhambra
Friday, January 10th: Uncle Henry's Deli in Downey
Tuesday, January 14th: Tony's Darts Away in Burbank
Tuesday, January 21st: Sunset Beer Co. in Echo Park
Thursday, January 23rd: City Tavern in Culver City

Come party with us!

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