CVIndependent

Wed11222017

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Foodies from around Southern California and beyond have descended on Palm Desert this weekend for the 2014 Palm Desert Food and Wine Festival.

At the Saturday, March 22, grand tasting, attendees dealt with sweltering heat inside of the giant white tent on Larkspur Lane, just off of El Paseo. Despite the toasty temps, however, people seemed to have a great time, enjoying bites of food from various local restaurants, as well as sips of wine and cocktails from various vendors.

The Food and Wine Festival also spawned various food-related satellite events, such as the Taste of the Saguaro. Jose Garces—the Iron Chef and head of the Garces Group, which operates Tinto and El Jefe at the Saguaro—came to town for the weekend, and attended a special dinner at the Saguaro on Friday, as well as an event called Taste of the Saguaro on Saturday.

The Independent attended the Palm Desert Food and Wine Festival's grand tasting on Saturday afternoon, and the Taste of the Saguaro on Saturday evening. Scroll down to enjoy some photos from the events.

Published in Snapshot

Our big April Music Issue will start hitting newsstands next week—and to celebrate, we're releasing April's Coachella-themed FRESH Sessions mix a bit early!

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has been around since 1999, and has grown—massively—ever since. This year’s lineup features a diverse collection of performers from all over the world. To celebrate the festival, for this month’s FRESH Sessions, I've compiled a set of tracks that includes some music by up-and-coming artists at the festival, as well as songs by some more well-known acts.

I like Coachella because it showcases a wide variety of performers and genres. Everything from indie rock to trance is represented under various tents, all with an atmosphere that is electric. While the festival has lost a bit of its local element, unfortunately, it still seems to carry a strong sense of culture and creativity.

As for my appearances in April: Watch my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ansofficial) for an updated list of gigs—but make sure you don’t miss the Pre-Coachella Warehouse Party, at Coachella Valley Brewing Co. (30640 Gunther St., Thousand Palms), starting at 3 p.m., Saturday, April 5. Tickets are $35, and that includes four CV Brewing Co. beers, lots of music, live art and tons more. Get your tickets now at brownpapertickets.com!

In the meantime, here’s the April FRESH Sessions. Enjoy—and watch out for a surprise!

  • Chromeo featuring Toro Y Moi, “Come Alive”
  • Duck Sauce, “Barbara Streisand”
  • Anna Lunoe and Touch Sensitive, “Real Talk”
  • Flight Facilities featuring Elizabeth Rose, “I Didn't Believe”
  • Chromeo, “Bonafied Lovin’”
  • DJ Topsider, “Mast (Yale x Classixx)”
  • Anna Lunoe “Up and Down”
  • Alf Alpha x All Night Shoes, “Deep End”
  • Justin Timberlake, “Suit and Tie” (Aeroplane Remix)
  • Flume featuring Chet Faker, “Left Alone”

The Southern California Homebrewers Festival is held every year in early May.

The festival, hosted by the California Homebrewers Association (CHA), is held at Lake Casitas, in Ventura County—about a three-hour drive from Palm Springs. Commercial breweries and homebrewers pour their beers; award winning homebrewers and brewmasters speak at the wildlife recreation area. With more than 40 homebrew clubs in attendance, and unlimited tastings, it’s a beer and camping extravaganza that attracts a couple thousand beer-lovers every year.

However, its future was temporarily thrown into doubt, thanks to a potentially damaging piece of legislation.

On Oct. 1, 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1425. The bill was supposed to do good things—namely, make home-brewed beer and wine easier to share. However, it included this phrase: “A nonprofit organization established for the purpose of promoting home production of beer or wine, or whose membership is composed primarily of home brewers or home winemakers, shall not be eligible to sell beer or wine pursuant to this subdivision.”

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control initially interpreted that phrase as prohibiting homebrew festivals—such as the Southern California Homebrewers Festival.

The California Homebrewers Association put pressure on the ABC for a more favorable interpretation of the law—and they had help from some powerful people. On Jan. 23, the top two members of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization—chair Isadore Hall III, a Los Angeles Democrat, and vice-chair Brian Nestande, a Palm Desert Republican—issued a press release announcing they’d sent a letter to the director of the ABC in an effort to ensure the festival can continue.

“It appears that there is a misinterpretation of the committee’s intent with this bill,” Nestande said in the news release. “These small local festivals attract thousands of people. They are a vital part of our economy and promote small-business growth. I’m committed to working with director (Timothy) Gorsuch to ensure the festival can carry on as planned.”

David Humphrey is the CEO of the Coachella Valley Brewing Company, as well as an attorney. He said that the provision in question was intended “to keep commercial breweries from using the expansive language as an end around from obtaining a proper license.

“Under no good-faith reading was the provision meant to limit a homebrewer or home wine-maker from showcasing his hobby at a festival,” Humphrey said.

Brett Newman is the Coachella Valley Homebrew Club president and has been helping the other Southern California homebrew clubs fight the ABC interpretation. Newman has attended the festival twice. He said he loves getting ideas, and tasting rare beers.

“Serving and pouring at your booth is just amazing,” he said. “I actually love doing that almost more than anything else. It’s like instant feedback. … You can’t trust your own senses with your own homebrew sometimes.”

California Homebrewers Association president Christy Elshof wants to make it clear that it’s the Southern California Homebrewers Festival. Note that the word “beer” is not included.

“We want to make that clear, because it seems that there’s a lot of misunderstanding that it’s all about the beer,” she said in early February. “We want to make it very clear it’s all about the homebrewer. It’s the homebrewers’ rights that are in jeopardy with the law as it stands.”

Elshof started homebrewing 17 years ago. She started going to the event as a volunteer in the 1990s and was later asked to join the board. Elshof feels that the ABC was looking at the event as a beer festival; she looks at it as a place for homebrewers to get together and talk about what they make.

“We are enthusiastic hobbyists. Over the years, we’ve grown from … three or four clubs that started it. … We had over 2,000 people last year. If they could actually hear how brewers talk to each other—talk about technique, you know. As a brewer, you’re always looking for that little intangible. You want to know what it is that added that little back flavor. What did you add? What was your temperature? You gather more information by sharing with others.”

Things came down to the wire, but in mid-February, Elshof learned that the event could go on: Thanks to a loophole and the involvement of a nonprofit group, the early May festival is safe. Tickets should go on sale around the first of March. Meanwhile, the group will keep fighting to make sure the law is fixed.

“This is where we grow our future craft brewers, in the homebrewing industry,” Elshof said.

For more information, visit www1.calhomebrewers.org.

Published in The Beer Goddess

I like my beer like I like my men: tall, dark and handsome. And what is the darkest beer of them all?

Well, hello, stout!

Stout originally meant “proud” or “brave,” but morphed into “strong” after the 14th century—and this handsome, brave and strong beer now has its own day of celebration.

International Stout Day will be celebrated for the third year on Friday, Nov. 8. How did this boozy holiday come to be? I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of celebrating a beer style or locale. Just like vineyards and the resulting wines tell the story of the people, the weather and the land behind them, beer also tells a story about its creation. In 2011, I reached out to other beer bloggers and breweries—and the day was born.

The first stouts were produced in the 1730s. The Russian imperial stout was inspired by brewers in the 1800s to win over the czar. “Imperial porter” came before “imperial stout”; the earliest noted use of “imperial” to describe a beer comes from the Caledonian Mercury of February 1821, when a coffeehouse in Edinburgh was advertising “Edinburgh Ales, London Double Brown Stout and Imperial Porter, well worth the attention of Families.”

Guinness has been brewing porters since about 1780 and is famous for its dry or Irish stout. Oatmeal stout beer is one of the sweeter and smoother stouts—and the fact that we today have oyster stout and chocolate stout is proof that society is ever-evolving. (The first known use of oysters as part of the stout-brewing process actually happened way back in 1929, in New Zealand.)

Thanks to today’s craft-beer revolution, you’ll find an amazing array of stouts—perfect not only for a chilly day, but for pairing with gourmet meals. Thankfully, Coachella Valley breweries and bars are celebrating on Nov. 8 with a variety of special beers and special events.

Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse (71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; 760-346-8738) will have two specialty stouts on tap: Anderson Valley’s Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout, and AleSmith Speedway Stout

To make the Bourbon Barrel Stout, the folks at Anderson Valley take their Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout and age it in Wild Turkey bourbon barrels for three months. Anderson Valley has an exclusive deal to get the barrels fresh from Wild Turkey’s “dumping room.” This ensures consistency and freshness in the barrel—and eventually, the beer. Despite the use of liquor barrels, the beer is on the lower side of the alcohol scale.

Alternatively, weighing in with an impressive 12 percent alcohol volume, the San Diego-born Speedway Stout starts with strong coffee and dark-chocolate sensations. Alongside sweet notes of molasses are alcohol heat and dark fruit undertones; this is a delicious beer.

Coachella Valley Brewing Co. (30640 Gunther St., Thousand Palms; 760-343-5973) will have Condition Black on tap. The black IPA is a marriage of stout and IPA styles—featuring the malt complexity of a stout, and the hop bitterness of an IPA. Using multiple dark-roasted malts like midnight wheat, barley, two dark crystal malts and chocolate malts, this Cascadian dark beer is a new style in and of itself. It’s not technically a stout—these beers typically lacks the roasted taste and body of a strong stout, but are much maltier than a typical IPA.

While Eureka! Burger (74985 Highway 111, Indian Wells; 760-834-7700) may be the new kid on the local restaurant block, the Indian Wells location of the Southern California chain is no stranger to craft beer and will join the festivities with stouts and barrel-aged stouts from breweries throughout the U.S. Stouts are always a tasty accompaniment to a juicy burger!

Stouts also make for a decadent pairing with a fine cigar, so visit Mel and the rest of the gang at Fame Lounge (155 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-320-2752) for a stout and cigar; they almost always have at least one on tap.

The craft-beer advocates over at Schmidy’s Tavern (72286 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-837-3800) in Palm Desert will be offering some savory stouts as well; their selection had yet to be announced as of our deadline.

While visiting these fine establishments, make sure you share your stout with your friends! Are you a member of Untappd? Log in and post what beer you’re drinking—and get the 2013 specialty Stout Day badge!

What other stouts should you look for and enjoy?

Brewery Ommegang’s Game of Thrones Take the Black Stout was released at the end of September and is available on draft and in 750-milliliter bottles. This stout is full of midnight wheat, roasted barley, Northern Brewer hops and chocolate malt. Check out the Ommegang website and click “find a beer” to see where it’s available.

• Founders Brewing can do no wrong. The world-class Kentucky Breakfast Stout is an imperial brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for a year. The alcohol volume is 11.2 percent, so take your time, and savor this big beer. Smell the succulent scent of rich dark chocolate, plums, vanilla-cream, cherry, coffee and bourbon. The more you sip it, the more this perfectly aged beer will warm and reveal notes of bourbon and oak.

Firestone Walker Brewing’s Parabola is a whopping 13-percent-alcohol Russian imperial stout. Pouring a dark caramel-brown color, this delicately smooth stout has flavors of sweet malts, charred barrel notes, coconut, vanilla, bourbon spiciness and chocolate. The immense complexity is nothing short of artful. Watch for their “bottled on” dates—located on the necks or bottom left corner of the label. Buy a couple, and age one in a dark place to drink on next year’s Stout Day. It will take a little edge off the bourbon and round off the flavors. You won’t be disappointed.

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is brewed every winter, and the imperial stout has won numerous awards. What makes it special? The addition of wheat and specialty malts, and the use of three mashes. Beginning with cocoa, caramel malt and dark fruit, the beer features roasted bitterness, and finishes with pleasing alcohol warmth—as the chocolate continues to send ribbons of its bouquet to the palate. This is a wonderful stout.

Southern Tier Crème Brulee is an imperial stout brewed with vanilla coffee beans. Yes, please! You’ll find vanilla, custard and brown sugar in the nose. Serve this in a tulip glass, snifter or oversized wine glass. Want to really dive into dreamy decadence? Enjoy this with bananas foster or over vanilla ice cream.

Foothills Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout gets the Beer Goddess award for the coolest name. The famed imperial stout has been brewed since 2007; the original Sexual Chocolate contains nine different malts and four different hop varietals, in addition to its “chocolate”—organic Peruvian cocoa nibs. Foothills Brewing has been awarded seven Great American Beer Fest medals since 2006; three of those went to Sexual Chocolate, as did a World Beer Cup medal in 2010. Because this is a limited release, you may not find it in time for this year’s Stout Day—so keep an eye out for the new version that will become available for next Stout Day!

• The 2013 Stone Espresso Imperial Russian Stout is part of Stone’s “Odd Beers for Odd Years” program, which began in 2011; the series introduces new, or “odd,” versions of Stone Imperial Russian Stout in tandem with the classic version during odd-numbered years. Stone Imperial Russian Stout is one of the highest-rated Stone beers and has a “world class” score on BeerAdvocate.com. The beer features espresso beans from San Diego’s Ryan Bros. Coffee; Stone brewmaster Mitch Steele notes that the coffee enhances the perception of the chocolate. The taste is substantial, yet balanced. The 11 percent alcohol volume is just slightly noticeable. Pair it with a flavored cigar like Java Robusto or Camacho Triple Maduro.

• Deschutes’ The Abyss American Imperial Stout pours an obsidian black, after being aged in bourbon barrels and brewed with licorice and molasses. The 11-percent-alcohol beer has barrel-aged character, but it’s never overpowering. Light nuances of oak, vanilla and bourbon give it great complexity. It’s definitely on par with a fine dark rum or bourbon as a mature sipper.

• The 2013 version of Allagash Fluxus has citrus notes. The beer is brewed differently every year to commemorate Allagash’s anniversary, and this year’s Fluxus is a porter brewed with a blend of 2-row, coffee and chocolate malts, as well as blood-orange pulp and zest. Yes, I’m including a porter on the list. I won’t go off on a craft-beer-style lecture, but I will say that “stout” has typically meant a stronger version of porter. So, close enough.

Three Floyds Brewing’s Dark Lord Imperial Stout is like chocolate mousse in a glass. Wonderful for aging, Dark Lord boasts an alcohol volume of 15 percent. Sweet molasses, coffee bitterness, caramel notes and dark fruit come in waves, all while offering a nice sweetness and a velvety mouth feel. All bow before the Dark Lord! This is a phenomenal beer.

Ten Barrel/Bluejacket/Stone Suede Imperial Porter is a chocolaty, higher-alcohol porter that’s a perfect collaboration beer for Stout Day. Tonya Cornett from Bend, Ore.’s 10 Barrel Brewing Company wanted a beer she could put in the cellar and enjoy for years to come. So, pick up a couple of bottles; enjoy one on Nov. 8; and tuck one away for Stout Day 2014. The sturdy yet velvety base of imperial porter holds up beautifully with the addition of the avocado honey, jasmine and calendula flowers.

Cheers!

Published in The Beer Goddess

The soon-to-open La Quinta Brewing Company is part of a deliciously welcome trend.

According to the national Brewers Association, as of June 2013, 2,483 craft breweries were operating in the United States. That number is up 6 percent over just a year—and it’s the most craft breweries the U.S. has ever seen.

Whether the craft-beer boom is due to new beer-friendly state laws, or the fact that more Americans are realizing that beer can have a variety of flavors that are perfect for food-pairings, the boom means there’s more choice for all of us.

The Coachella Valley has taken part in the recent craft-beer boom. Coachella Valley Brewing Co. opened in August in Thousand Palms, and the folks at Palm Desert’s La Quinta Brewing Co. are busy getting ready for production.

The County of Riverside approved La Quinta Brewing’s conditional-use permit in August. By the end of September, the owners hope the brewery will be fully operational.

Palm Springs native and former real-estate developer Scott Stokes started making the plans for LQBC in December 2012. After retiring in 2005 and taking up home-brewing a few years ago, Scott wanted to start something new, and make something that the Coachella Valley could use more of—great craft beer.

Green Flash Brewing alum Ryan Pearson will be brewing 2,000 barrels per year to start. La Quinta Brewing has a 15-barrel Premier Stainless system. Currently, the brewery holds two 30-barrel fermenters, with one more arriving soon. The facility has room for four additional fermenters, which would allow Stokes and Pearson to expand to 5,000 barrels annually.

“Considering it is 100-plus degrees nearly half the year, and craft beer is in its infancy in the desert, our focus for the beers we distribute to local accounts will be on ‘drinkable’ beers,” said Stokes.

Initially, La Quinta Brewing will have three flagship beers: One Eleven Pale Ale, Windy Point Wheat and Poolside Blonde, with a West Coast-style IPA likely joining the group soon thereafter.

The IPA (which has yet to be named) is a dry, crisp beer, using at least three hops: Columbus, Cascade and Chinook. High on the bittering scale, Columbus is typically regarded as having a nice herbal character that offers an interesting dichotomy of sharp and herbal. It can be used to flavor everything from IPAs and lagers to all types of stouts. Cascade is often used in highly hopped West Coast ales that have citrus-floral and spice accents. Hailing from Washington, Chinook is a bittering variety with aroma characteristics of a dank, piney forest.

The addition of the IPA to La Quinta’s initial three offerings is a smart move; it’s sure to be a hit in hot weather. Ryan Pearson is no stranger to West Coast-style IPAs; after all, he came directly from one of the most highly regarded brewers of the West Coast-style IPA, Green Flash Brewing, in San Diego.

In addition to the four staple beer styles, Pearson plans on brewing small batches using their pilot system, specifically for their tasting room. From there, they will see what’s popular and possibly expand those brews to a larger scale.

At first, La Quinta Brewing plans to offer their beers by draft, in bars and restaurants throughout the valley. The director of sales, Derek Lloyd, was formerly the Coachella Valley division sales manager with Young’s Market Company and is reportedly getting a great reception from potential accounts.

Stokes’ next undertaking will be bottling and canning the beers for pools, golf courses and various hotels. The guys at La Quinta Brewing have a mobile bar, and they plan on using it to distribute their product at events and various venues. The mobile bar holds 25 kegs and has multiple taps on one side—so they can serve beer, food-truck style.

Eventually, they would like to open additional tasting rooms in the desert, and distribute the beer outside of the desert to neighboring cities.

Part of the draw of craft beer is offering people new suds to sample, and it’s great to see Coachella Valley residents working hard to increase crafty offerings to tourists and locals alike. Camaraderie and collaboration are common in the craft-beer industry; considering the burgeoning scene in the desert, it will be interesting to see if these breweries will work together—and to watch how they will grow.

For more information on La Quinta Brewing Company, visit www.facebook.com/LaQuintaBrewingCo. The Beer Goddess’ column appears every month at CVIndependent.com and in the print version of the Independent. Read more by Erin Peters at www.thebeergoddess.com. Below: The folks at La Quinta Brewing Company plan on taking their beer on the road, food-truck style.

Published in The Beer Goddess

Update: CV Brewing Co. Is Open for Business

Coachella Valley Brewing Co.—the brand-new brewery whose taps graced the cover of the Independent’s summer print issue—has finally opened its doors to the public, at least for special events.

The taproom, at 30640 Gunther St. in Thousand Palms, was the site of an Animal Samaritans special event this week.

However, as they always say (OK, not really, but play along), it’s not official until there’s a cheesy ribbon-cutting event—and that cheesy ribbon-cutting event will take place at noon on Friday, Aug. 30.

Everyone’s welcome, and if you want to try some of the beer, bring $10, and you can get tastes of four of ’em. Master brewer Chris Anderson will be on hand to answer questions, and a good time will be had by all.

Stay in the loop by calling (760) 343-5973, or visiting www.cvbco.com.

A Frickleburgers Comeback Is Not to Be

Frickleburgers, the Cathedral City restaurant that closed in May despite several “Best Of” wins, will not be making a comeback.

When the restaurant, which was located at 68375 E. Palm Canyon Drive, closed its doors, owner Michael Zoll vowed to do everything he could to fix his business plan, get new investors and reopen the restaurant.

However, his efforts did not pan out: He announced via Facebook on Aug. 19 that he and his family would be relocating to Chicago.

“I did everything I possibly could and followed every lead, path and inquiry to try and find a company or investor to reopen my dream which was Frickleburgers, all which ended with plenty on interest, but no capital,” he wrote.

We wish Zoll nothing but success in his future endeavors. He’s a damn fine burger-maker.

Fatburger Returning to the Coachella Valley

In happier burger news: Fatburger will be returning to the Coachella Valley.

The Palm Springs location on Ramon Road closed in 2011, but the chain restaurant, which touts itself as “The Last Great Hamburger Stand,” will open up shop in Palm Desert in November or December, according to the company’s website. (However, that website disconcertingly calls the city “Palm Dessert.”)

The Fatburger, at Highway 111 and Fred Waring Drive, will be joined by a corporate sister restaurant: Buffalo’s Café, which serves chicken wings.

In Brief

The Twin Palms Bistro and Lounge, 1201 E. Palm Canyon Drive, which closed after a fire on April 9, remains in limbo. “Still no word from the insurance or landlord attorneys,” said a Facebook post from the restaurant on Aug. 13. “Wish we had some news to share, but it is out of our hands at this point. The construction has started (which is a good sign) and pretty much everything is still the same. Thank you everyone for the kind words and support.” … Word is that Dhat Island—a Caribbean Creole restaurant in Redlands—is slated to open a second location at the old Marie Callender’s location at 69830 Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage. Keep your fingers crossed for an October opening. … Speaking of beer: La Quinta Brewing Co., in Palm Desert, is getting close to an opening date. Watch the pages (online and in print) of the Independent for more details soon, and follow the progress at www.facebook.com/LaQuintaBrewingCo.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

The internationally famous desert resort destination that we call home, as of this moment, has never had a larger-scale commercial brewery that focused on one thing, and one thing only: beer.

Who knows why? Blame the caviar crowd, or maybe the midcentury martini surroundings. In any case, this omission will soon be no longer, thanks to Coachella Valley Brewing Co.

Every craft-beer drinker knows that good beer isn’t possible without competent brewers, proper equipment and a vision. CV Brewing’s chief operating officer and brewmaster, Chris Anderson, started home-brewing in college with an extract kit nearly 20 years ago, and has been brewing his way through competitions and breweries ever since.

He, his colleagues and beer-lovers across the Coachella Valley are all keeping their fingers crossed for a mid-July opening.

Before joining forces with other beer-lovers to start his own brewery in the Coachella Valley, Anderson was part of some incredible commercial craft-brewing teams. Those teams grabbed a bronze at the World Cup of Beer, gold at the Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival, and gold at the Toronado Barleywine Festival (peoples’ choice), among other honors.

His first medal was Best of Ales and Best of Show at the Alaska State Fair for raspberry/cranberry lambic-style ale, a brew that he will be making seasonally at CVB called “Cranboise.”

An extensive brewing resume isn’t the only thing Anderson brings to the new brewery: CV Brewing is employing a high-efficiency brewing system (or H.E.B.S.). It brews with less malt than other breweries. The system uses 60 percent less water, and produces 65 percent less spent grain solids. It takes only two hours to produce 527 gallons, or 17 barrels, of wort, thus keeping energy costs low. Anderson and company also chose to employ a 50-horsepower Miura steam generator, which is one of the most efficient boilers in existence: It can boil 1,054 gallons of water in less than 40 minutes, while still heating all of the other brewhouse vessels.

So, just how much craft beer can this system produce? Initially, the brewery will have a capacity of 4,500 barrels, or 139,500 gallons, per year, with the ability to quadruple that within the next few years.

“I gravitate to anything beer-related and always have been attracted by the craft-brewing industry and its people,” Anderson says. “Craft brewers are so friendly and welcoming, and many of my fellow brewers are like family to me.”

 

While the Coachella Valley has been home to several breweries—most notably the highly regarded Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse, as well as defunct operations by Indio Brewing Co. and Palm Springs Brewing Co.—none of them have produced beer on the scale planned by CV Brewery.

Anderson blames the relative lack of breweries, in part, on the heat.

“It creates a totally different vibe,” he says. “The valley is tough because of our peaks during season and valleys during the hot months.” That’s why CV Brewing is employing warm-weather brewing techniques which will make brewing in the desert more affordable.

David Humphrey is the CEO, and his wife, Jamie Humphrey, is the director of special events; she’s involved in all aspects of the operation. Gary Grotsky is the director of sales, and Dana Crosby is Coachella Valley Brewing’s CFO.

Chris AndersonAnderson (pictured) previously ran the “Beer School” at Schmidy’s Tavern, and he and Jamie Humphrey both served on the advisory council of The Living Desert’s popular The Brew at the Zoo event. Less than one year ago, Crosby, Jamie Humphrey and Chris Anderson started discussing their shared vision of opening a large scale brewery in the Coachella Valley. David and Chris married their two separate business plans together, and pitched it to a select group of potential investors.

Incorporating local ingredients into the beer is important to Humphrey and Anderson. Coachella Valley Brewing is working with several farms in the area, such as Hadley Fruit Orchards, Seaview and Golden State Herbs.

“We feel like many who visit or live in the valley seasonally don’t even know how important the east valley agriculture is to the state as well as America. Hell, some don’t even know it exists,” Anderson says. “The valley sets the pricing for the year, because our products are first to hit the market (due to the warm climate). I have always wanted to integrate a popular culinary trend, farm-to-table, into beer-brewing, and we thought it would be an incredible way to promote the efforts of the east valley’s farmers while providing our customers with a distinctly desert offering.”

The brewery will be using citrus, kumquats, tangelo, mandarin and various oranges. They will also be incorporating spices like coriander, sage, Thai basil, jasmine, lavender, rosemary, bergamot, paradise seed and thyme. They plan to use berries, Oak Glen apples and—of course—the Coachella Valley’s famous dates. To top it all off, they have a small farm that yields approximately 100 pounds of hops annually. The brewery will use these in a wet-hop or green-hop India pale ale.

The facilities will keep 14 taps flowing at all times. Anderson loves all of his beers, of course, but one of his favorites is the Big Cat Saison, which is made with local sage, paradise seed, rosemary and thyme. This will be brewed for The Living Desert, and a percentage of the profits will go to the zoo and botanical garden.

Other favorites: Monumentous IPA is a West Coast IPA made with New Zealand hops. Dubbel Date is a Belgian abbey-style dubbel made with Medjool dates. Desert Swarm is a honey-double witbier made with local Africanized killer-bee honey, east valley citrus, and coriander. Oasis is an apple ale made with Oak Glen Spartan apples.

Palms to Pines Imperial India Pale Ale is named after the historic California State Route 74, aka the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway. The CV Brewing founders felt that a seasonal release was in order to commemorate the topography changes when driving from the desert floor to the Idyllwild forest. Only American hops are employed in this beer: Warrior, Chinook, Simcoe, Cascade, Citra and Centennial. To tie the pines in, they added freshly picked spruce tips from the mountains of Idyllwild; for the palms, they incorporated a palm sugar.

CV Brewing will also be making Belgian-inspired ales, hoppy West Coast-style ales and sour ales. The Belgians and hopped-up brews will be released immediately, while the sours will likely not make an appearance until 2015. CVB’s barrel-aged offerings will make appearances in late 2013 and early 2014.

The craft-brewer ethos embodies kindness toward fellow brewers, and many craft brewers are taking that inspiration to the bottle—by creating special, limited-edition beers, usually with special ingredients, and with both breweries getting top billing. CV Brewing plans on collaborating with Black Market Brewing Co., Ritual, Hangar 24, Rip Current, Anchorage Brewing, Broken Tooth Brewing, and Gilgamesh.

Anderson wants to collaborate with more breweries beyond those, too.

“I would love to work with Alpine. I love their beers, and they are bar none my favorite brewery,” he says. “I am a fan of Mikkeller. His beers are so imaginative and innovative. … Also I would love to work with Russian River. I love everything they do, and I am also a sour-ale maniac. I love Societe as well. Everything they do is stellar.”

 

CV Brewing has some fans in high places who are eagerly anticipating the opening. One such fan is Steve Pougnet, the mayor of Palm Springs.

“The fact that Coachella Valley Brewing Co. is partnering with local farms is fantastic and definitely affects our local economy,” he says in an email. “This is a strategy that any new business in the Coachella Valley that is in the food and beverage industry should emulate. We hear from the farmers at our local farmers’ market about the quality of the food and how much it benefits them to work with the local community. From a sustainability standpoint, you are looking at less vehicle miles traveled, reductions in emissions, support of local pollinators and biodiversity, and most definitely support of our local farmers and their families. … This will be a wonderful new attraction for our residents and visitors from all over the world!”

Currently, CV Brewing has approximately 30 commercial customers awaiting their brews, which will be available in bars, restaurants and stores. Special releases will only be available at the tasting room or at special venues, like the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, Schmidy’s Tavern, Mic and Moe’s, and LQ Wine.

CV Brewing’s operators plan to saturate the valley first, using self-distribution. Then, they plan to take on outside distribution, working first in Southern California and later moving north. Hawaii is slated to be the second state where the beers will be available, followed by Nevada, Oregon, Idaho and the Southwest. Anderson and Humphrey want to stay in areas not totally saturated with craft beer—and desert areas that can identify with their branding.

As part of their ambitious five-year plan, they hope to open a second tasting room on El Paseo in Palm Desert. In 10 years, the brewery hopes to acquire a still and create small-batch spirits and honey wine.

They know that to reach these lofty goals, they’ll need to maintain passion, creativity and commitment.

“I love that it’s an outlet for my creative and artistic side. … I am passionate about it, and I truly enjoy doing it,” Anderson says.

Coachella Valley Brewing Co. is located at 30640 Gunther St., in Thousand Palms. Its owners are hoping for a mid-July opening. For more information, call 760-343-5973; visit www.cvbco.com; or track down the brewery on Facebook.

Published in Features & Profiles

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