A common aroma descriptor produced by the beer yeast Brett Brux is “sweaty horse blanket.” Irony sets in after you learn what the building originally was. “It was a livery back in the 1880s; the second floor stored hay,” says owner-brewer Brandon Fender. Now it’s set up like a 1900s brothel, with ample working space on top and a saloon below. With angelic rays pouring in from the third-floor skylight, there’s something ethereal about sipping an Old World-style beer amongst the oak barrels and mason-chiseled bricks. Belgian-inspired saisons are produced with wild yeast strains that Fender and brewer Dave Larsen have wrangled over the years. Aging their beer in used wine barrels adds another layer of oak, funk, and complexity. The barrels can then be blended to fine-tune the final product. Their new-school West Coast IPAs are hoppy, bitter, and tropical, bursting with the latest juicy, fad hops.
Hop Tip Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market has great beer- and food-crawl potential. Start or end at Native Son Alehouse or Good Beer Company.
309 W. 4th St., Santa Ana