When Four Sons Brewing in Huntington Beach was conceived by its Partridge Family founders back in 2013, Bloomberg estimated that 80 percent of new businesses opened at that time would fail within the first 18 months. Defying the odds, they opened a year later, a few miles from the beach, as a totally family run business.
In the craft beer world, this is nothing new. Cheap family labor is arguably the best way to make ends meet the first few years. But Four Sons is more than just a 70’s musical sitcom. Mom and Dad with four adult sons run the main show; girlfriends, daughter-in-laws, and grandkids make up the supporting cast. This brewery is like Thanksgiving dinner…every…single…day!
Adding to the family fun, all of their names start with the letter D. Duke (dad) is president, Daune (mom) is the head bean counter, Deven (son 1) is the COO, Derek (son 2) is the brewer, Drew (son 3) is the artist, and Dustin (son 4) is the assistant brewer.
One measuring stick on how well a new brewery is doing is the speed (or lack) of expansion, and Four Sons is currently knee-deep in building a bigger and better brew house. Although it’s taking longer than expected, their target brew on the new equipment is sometime in January.
As they just turned two, the sons created a Second Anniversary Special Edition Imperial Sour with passion fruit and hibiscus at 13.9 percent ABV. When I saw the stats, I was more than skeptical. Normally, sour beer doesn’t come with that much heft. Adding passion fruit and hibiscus to the mix, I chocked it up to a dare. Experienced brewers have a hard enough time pulling off something of this magnitude, and let’s just say I’ve drain-poured my dad-bod weight of poorly done kettle sours from other breweries over the last year. The technique is increasingly popular among breweries who want to make acidic beers in a quick timeframe, but a major drawback is that, to a trained nose, they can have very noticeable off-aromas.
With much anticipation, I poured the cotton-candy pink anniversary beer into a mini-Teku glass and let it sit a few minutes to open up. My first sniff was all tropical fruit, jammy and bright. I sniffed again, hunting for tell-tale kettle sour off-notes. Incredibly, just a noseful of passion fruit and a kiss of hibiscus. Whoa! The sweet fruity flavor and wine-like acidity of this beer has a total sangria vibe, zingy and quaffable. The booze is extremely well hidden at the high ABV, I would have guessed the beer was in the 7-to-8 percent range. Being a kettle sour, there aren’t many angles of complexity, but overall, it’s a fun fruity beer that’s hard to pull off, and I think the “D” family did a double great job.
With only 1,222 bottles made, be sure to grab one for the holidays!
18421 Gothard St., Huntington Beach // foursonsbrewing.com