Just as soil, topography, and climate are the terroir of fermented grapes, so are water profile, brewing technique, ingredients, and culture in the brewing world. At Cismontane, culture plays a large part of the flavors yielded. Love it or hate it, the company’s nonchalant style makes for some really great beer. These brewers are, after all, renaissance men. Allowing the use of controlled open fermenters, as they do here, is a rarity in America. It might even be described as gutsy since it can subject the beer to unwanted yeast or spoiling bacteria. Late last year, this Rancho Santa Margarita wallflower finally joined the North Orange County brewery dance by opening a second tasting room in Santa Ana. Where the RSM location has a surfboard and mountain bikes on display, the new location is destined to become a distillery. Notable beers are Black’s Dawn, a strong coffee stout made with Portola coffee; Holy Jim Falls XPA; and Dos Con Es, a ridiculously hopped, oaked barleywine.
Hop Tip Watch for brewery-led mountain-bike rides, nature walks, and other outdoorsy events from Cismontane.
29851 Aventure, Rancho Santa Margarita
1409 E. Warner Ave., Santa Ana
949-888-2739 for both