On Dec 22, 2014 -
We’ve got ambitious plans for 2015. As I mentioned in my post about our forthcoming canned seasonals, 2015 will be the year of the Full-Spectrum Modern Times Beer Experience™: year round cans & draft, seasonal cans & draft, special release 22oz bottles & draft, & barrel-aged special release bottles.
All of our 22oz releases will be widely available throughout our distribution area (currently Southern California, Central Coast, Maui, and a few export markets) in both bottles & on-draft. Expect to see them anywhere you've seen previous bottle releases from us.
So, what will our 22oz releases be in 2015, you ask? Excellent question. Here’s the schedule:
City of the Sun
If you’ve come by the tasting room recently, you’ve probably tasted City of the Sun. It’s our Mosaic/Motueka stunner: dry, bitter, and loaded with tropical, melony hops. West Coast through and through, but featuring an aggressively fruit-forward hop character, City of the Sun is hitting 22oz bottles as a preview before a canned seasonal release in December.
City of the Dead
A burly export stout loaded with our bourbon barrel-aged coffee beans. We’ve had great success with Black House & Monsters’ Park dosed with barrel-aged coffee, but we wanted to design a beer from scratch specifically to feature these beans. Full-bodied and a touch sweet, City of the Dead will be explosively aromatic & saturated with barrel-aged coffee character.
A new IPA chock full ‘o Galaxy, Ahtanum, and Centennial hops. The focus here is squarely on the tropical fruit sexiness of Galaxy: a new wave Australian variety that combines elements of Citra & Mosaic, with a hint of grassiness for balance. Ahtanum and Centennial will add a zesty citrus component.
Black House w/ coconut & cocoa nibs
Probably our single most requested beer in the tasting room. The chocolate & coffee of Black House makes an awesome base for intemperate quantities of coconut & cocoa nibs, which make the whole thing taste like a ridiculously decadent chocolate bar, but drier and more like beer.
A beer we did for our 1st Anniversary Party that was quite popular with everyone in attendance. Mount Remarkable is a crisp, refreshing lager dry-hopped with Australian Helga hops. Floral, herbal, and complex, Mount Remarkable will walk a fine line between hoppy lager and IPL.
Mega Black House
An imperialized version of Black House loaded with our house-roasted coffee. Thick, chewy, and bursting with coffee aroma & flavor, Mega Black House is a complex sipper that showcases the brilliant interaction of dark roasted malt and light roasted coffee. Fans of Monsters’ Park w/ coffee will love this.
Another tasting room regular. A robust saison brewed with Pinot Grigio grape must (i.e. juice made from wine grapes). Universal Friend is fermented with our house Lomaland Yeast Blend, balancing the fruitiness of the wine grapes with the earthy, rustic character of our saison yeast. We’ve brewed Universal Friend with Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and (very recently) Merlot must, all to excellent and noticeably different effect.
Fortunate Islands with grapefruit zest
Yet another tasting room winner. The hoppy, tropical aroma & flavor of Fortunate Islands is the perfect canvas for grapefruit zest, which we make by hand-peeling a zillion goddamn grapefruits and adding only the oily skin to the beer. It’s insanely labor intensive, but the poppin’ fresh grapefruit character can’t be beat. No better time for this beer than August.
A sour cherry gose that’s tart, fruity, complex, and delicious. The sour, salty base beer brings the funky refreshment, while the heavy dose of sour cherries turns the whole thing into a fruity, tasty cherry bomb. An intricate mix of flavors that works remarkably well.
A modified version of the big, aggressive American double IPA we brewed last year. Leans toward the piney, sappy, citrusy end of the spectrum. Dry, bitter, and fragrant as hell.
Our hulking, cantankerous imperial stout. Sporting a huge roast/chocolate profile, this beer is as aggressive as it is complex, offering layer upon layer of robust malt flavor & aroma. This release will be about half the size of the 2014 release because it’s a massive pain in the ass to brew.
An imperialized version of Fortunate Islands. Mega Citra, mega Amarillo, mega tasty. Smooth wheat body with all the tropical/citrusy hops you can handle. Bitter & aggressive, but super balanced. Destined to destroy.
On Dec 15, 2014 -
Seasonal cans are coming! My goal has always been for a rotating cadre of seasonals to occupy a 5th can slot for us, and now that plan is coming to fruition. Along with an ambitious 22oz release program and a slew of barrel-aged releases (both of which I will write about soon), in 2015 we will put all of the pieces of my original beer plan for Modern Times into place. That's super exciting.
So, the seasonals. All of these are beers we've brewed before, and Oneida & Aurora both hit 22oz bottles this year. With these four beers, the seasonal program essentially becomes our rotating IPA slot, making our line-up hoppier & more aggressive than it currently stands. All of these beers go heavy on new wave hops from the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, and that's the point. We want to profile some of the fascinating new stars of the hop world, and these beers do it, big time.
Oneida is loaded with Hallertau Blanc, Aurora brings the Equinox, Booming Rollers is all about Citra, and City of the Sun leans on Motueka/Mosaic. These hops are the result of hop breeders and growers taking bold steps into previously uncharted territory, and the results are spectacular. All of these beers will be super fragrant, completely saturated with hop flavor, and distinctively original.
Here's the schedule:
Oneida--March through May
Booming Rollers--June through August
Aurora--September through November
City of the Sun--December through February
Like our year round cans, the seasonals will all be in four packs of 16oz cans. They'll be widely available throughout our current distribution area, and they'll be available on draft as well. Should be a rad year!
Cheers & thanks,
On Dec 11, 2014 -
Here are some fun facts about our first sour beer release! Bottles of Empty Hats & News From Nowhere will be available at both of our tasting rooms starting starting tomorrow for $27 each; drink 'em with us or take 'em home.
On Dec 9, 2014 -
Welcome to the 2014 Modern Times Gift Guide! These are things that inspire us, that we've used in various design elements, or that speak to who we are. And we made some of them, too.
1. Artwork from these two books figures prominently in the design of the North Park Flavordome. Andreas Cellarius: Harmonia Macrocosmica is a stunning reproduction of a Dutch-German star atlas first published in 1660; it adorns the walls of our bathroom. Walton Ford: Pancha Tantra is a gorgeous art book featuring distrubing, allegorical, anthropomorphic paintings from the amazing contemporary artist Walton Ford; we put a collection of images from the books in gold frames above the corner bench.
2. Music from our tasting room playlist! Country Funk is deep fried, breaded-'n'-battered, slow jammin' funk from the psychedelic fringes of the country/folk revival in the late '60s & early '70s. Bossa Nova And The Rise Of Brazilian Music In The 1960s does a solid job of representing the country that dominates our playlist and keeps the upbeat, jazzy, indecipherably foreign vibe going. Soul Explosion from The Daktaris is a recent addition, but embodies the unrelenting radness of Daptone Records and the 90s revival funk bonanza that is omnipresent on the playlist.
3. A Modern Times Coffee Subscription! New for the holiday season, our coffee subscription is a bonanza of coffee radness featuring our amazing barrel-aged beans, single origin one-offs, and the persistently amazing Black House Blend. Upcoming barrel-aged releases include rye, port, madeira, and rum, and coffee subscribers will get them delivered right to their door!
4. Now that you've got all of this cockstaggering coffee coming your way, you'll need a suitably outstanding way to prepare it. A Hario V60 Drip Station Kit will get you most of the way there. Pour overs are a fantastic way to extract the mind-bending flavors contained in our carefully roasted coffee, and the brewing process will help you appreciate the delicate nuances of proper coffee making.
5. Brewers Publications--the publishing arm of the Brewers Association--has been on a roll of late, releasing a series of exceedingly well-written, useful books on timely topics in the world of beer. Most near & dear to our hearts is, of course, American Sour Beers by our very own sour homie-in-residence Mike Tonsmiere. It is the single best resource in the world on brewing sour beers, and the accessible yet detailed writing makes it a joy to read & reference. For The Love Of Hops by Stan Hieronymous is a similarly useful introduction to the most obsessed about brewing ingredient, and will be a valuable tool to anyone who loves brewing & drinking hoppy beers.
6. This beautifully reproduced geological map of the United States from 1870. Anyone who has spent time in our tasting rooms know that we love us some maps. The good people at Vintage Visualizations have taken it upon themselves to faithfully reproduce some of the best maps found in the Library of Congress as high-quality posters, allowing you to bring some of that Fermentorium vibe to your crib.
7. During the time between brewing and stressing out, some Modern Times folks like to read books. These are three of our favorites from this year, and each will figure prominently in our upcoming Secret Santa gift exchange, so if you work at Modern Times and are reading this, don't buy them. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is a can't-put-it-down mystery about books, relationships, and the limits of life lived with technology. Papillon is the single greatest adventure story ever told: relentlessly entertaining, utterly immersive, and deeply satisfying. Ready Player One is pure geek hard candy: a compulsively readable action-adventure novel that takes place in a post-apocolyptic virtual reality game world.
8. A subscription to the California Sunday Magazine. This bold new magazine has only been around for a couple of issues, but it's already kicking serious ass and taking a plethora of names. For anyone who loves spending Sunday with a bomb ass cup of coffee and seriously engrossing journalism, a subscription to Cal Sunday is a must. If you're lucky enough to get it with your Sunday newspaper, there's no need to sign-up, but if not (like all of us in San Diego), a subscription is well worth it and a great way to support a creative, exciting project that's making the world less dumb.
9. This glorious poster reproduction of the 1864 edition of Johnson's Mountains & Rivers Chart. Not only is a magnificent & whimsical piece of art, but buying it supports The Public Domain Review, a non-profit online journal that helps draw attention to all of the ridiculously amazing shit in the public domain.
10. This jaw-droppingly awesome glass mosaic of Jesus Quintana by the sublime geniuses at Velvet Glass. This thing is 15" x 18" of pure artistic genius. Sure, you'll have to drop $450 to buy it, but it gets you the best Lebowski fan art in the galaxy.
11. Bottles of Empty Hats & News From Nowhere! Our red wine barrel-aged sours took 18 excruciating months to make, and they were worth every second of it. Both of these beers are incredible, and I've never been more proud to put our name on a bottle. They will be available at both of our tasting rooms starting this Friday for either drinking on-site or taking home.
On Dec 8, 2014 -
Today we tapped a radical new beer: Sleepless City, a 5.7% ABV brown ale loaded with our house roasted single origin Kenya Nyeri Othaya Peaberry coffee.
The Nyeri Peaberry is loaded with rich winey notes, citrus zest, and spice. It’s a beautiful coffee that highlights the complexity that makes Kenyan coffee so famous, and it really comes through in the beer. We dosed it the same way we do Black House (whole beans into cold beer for 48 hours), giving Sleepless City a crackin’ coffee aroma and robust but well-integrated coffee flavor.
The base brown ale is super tasty in its own right (we filled 4 kegs pre-coffee for fun side-by-sides), with prominent notes of toast, chocolate, and fresh bread. As with everything we do, we aimed for a harmonious union of these two complex flavors—rather than a sledgehammer of just one flavor—and we feel like we achieved it. The beer & coffee go marvelously together and are definitely greater than the sum of their parts.
Sleepless City is on-tap right now at the Fermentorium and will be tapped at the North Park Flavordome tomorrow. It’ll be available for growler fills at both tasting rooms tomorrow as well. We also have the Kenya Nyeri Othaya Peaberry cold press on-tap at the Lomaland Fermentorium (growler fills too), and you can also buy bags in-person or online.
On Dec 3, 2014 -
So I started sending out weekly updates for our staff (who now number 26!) about the general goings-on of the brewery, and I realized that most of the information in the updates is stuff you all might want to hear. I generally post about all of this stuff on social media, but this is a nice way to condense it in one place. So here goes!
1. Our online sour beer sale is tomorrow!
2. We bottled Red Wine Barrel-Aged Funky Lomaland yesterday! This beer is the same Funky Lomaland that's currently on-tap at the Fermentorium, but it spent over a year funkifying in red wine barrels. We're going to give it a couple of months to continue funkifying in bottles, before releasing it through an online sale. It was fermented with a mix of our house Lomaland Blend, Brett Drei, and Brett C, and it's bottle conditioned with red wine yeast, champagne yeast, and our two house Brett strains: MT1 & MT2.
3. Our new bottling line showed up yesterday! We're super stoked to get this puppy in action. We're planning to do a 22oz release EVERY MONTH of 2015, so this ungodly expensive piece of equipment is a key part of our plan. Our 2015 22oz release schedule will be posted soon.
4. Our new date coder will be in action shortly (probably later today!) This pricey new machine puts the canning date on the bottom of every single can that comes off the line. It's super helpful for quality control (if something goes wrong, we'll know exactly which batch the beer came from), and for ensuring that you all are getting fresh beer.
5. REMINDER: Our annual Shalomaland Hanukkah Party will be Tuesday, December 16th and the Christmas Fiesta will be Tuesday, December 23rd. We're also planning an awesome New Years' Eve Extravaganza, which will be totally fun! These are all non-ticketed events, and we'd love it if you came!
6. Today we're brewing a full-scale batch of Funky Universal Friend (with Chardonnay must)! The yeast will be a blend of our house Lomaland Blend, Brett Drei, and our MT2 strain. Some of this batch will be going into white wine barrels; the rest will be allowed to funkify in kegs. It'll be at least 6 months before we tap it.
7. It's raining! Please drive SUPER SUPER safe. I want all of our fans to stay in one piece.
Cheers & thanks,