Six years ago this Superbowl weekend, I stepped foot into a brand new Noble Ale Works and got my first growler fill. Noble’s IPA. Slightly stinky foam cheesehead on my dome, I remember the tasting room was just a few glass-topped whiskey barrels, eight or so taps of beer, and an autographed Jean-Sebastian Giguere goalie stick mounted firmly on the wall. At the time, their beer was made a half hour away at Dale Brothers in Upland (now called “Last Name Brewing,” seriously, look it up) and trucked in via kegs for local accounts and their Anaheim tasting room. Their first year was an exciting time for beer in Orange County, so much so that I started writing about it.
During year two, Evan Price took over as head brewer with Brad Kominek and Matt Fantz his loyal assistants (aka The Giants). It didn’t take long for the duo to come up with classics. Beers like Naughty Sauce and Tongue Tickles Double IPA made a huge impression on the SoCal beer scene and competitions for years to come. The last two years, the team took home some impressive awards at the local, national, and global level.
- LA IPA Fest 2014 Winner: Tongue Tickles Double IPA
- LA IPA Fest 2015 Winner: I Love It! IPA
- LA IPA Fest 2016 2nd Place: Unpossible IPA
- Great American Beer Festival 2015 Bronze: Nose Candy Session IPA
- Great American Beer Festival 2016 Silver: Nobility Double IPA
- World Beer Cup 2016 Silver: Gosebusters German-style sour
- World Beer Cup 2016 Bronze: Nobility Double IPA
- World Beer Cup 2016 Gold: I Love It! IPA
- World Beer Cup 2016 Champion Brewery and Brewmaster, Small Brewing Company
What’s unique about the brewing industry is non-business partner brewers aren’t anchored to the business. With a brewery like Noble with over twenty-something voting owners and investors, growth can stall and profits spread thin. This is perhaps the reason why founding president Jerry Kolbly departed in 2015, then CEO Brian Rausso after the big World Beer Cup win. With two brand-new twin baby boys, head brewer Evan Price also announced his departure to start his own thing. Despite the crowded ownership, the six-year old brewery is steadfast at continuing to make great beer.
“Moving forward for Noble Ale Works, we are excited to announce that our very own Brad Kominek will be promoted to Head Brewer.” After some initial shock, this move is sort of like when your stock splits. We get a bigger Noble AND we get to see Evan Price open his own thing. My wife kind of freaked out hearing the news, “NO MORE NAUGHTY SAUCE?!?” Brad quickly put that question to bed, “We are going to continue making the same beers as well as new stuff.”
Brad has had his hands in all of Noble’s award-winning beers, including his recent successful IPA creations such as 24K Juice, Crowler Phil, and Cloud Strife, all of which are above a four-star rating on Untappd, which is excellent. If there are any concerns over waiting in line for their next juicy cloud bomb IPA, I’d say you’re in good hands with mop-coiffed Brad.
As excited as I am to see what Evan Price’s new brewing project brings, I’m eager to see Noble Ale Works expansion this year under Brad’s direction.