CVIndependent

Sun08252019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

The land of martinis and honey is undergoing a seismic shift toward summery saisons, infused IPAs, savory stouts and bourbon-barreled beers.

So, where in the Coachella Valley can you go to find these intoxicating craft creations?

With locations in New York, Los Angeles, London, Seattle, Portland and, of course, Palm Springs, the Ace Hotel (701 E. Palm Canyon Drive) keeps up with trends in music, art, food and drink. The boutique hotel boasts a nice selection of craft beer in the Amigo Room. In fact, the ever-changing craft-beer variety gets its own chalkboard near the bar. Ace is also home to the popular “Craft Beer Weekend,” a pool party complete with music, grub and beer—perfect for craft connoisseurs and beer beginners alike.

Up Palm Canyon Drive to the north lies a restaurant offering a farm-to-concrete-table dining experience that’s industrial chic and progressive. While the menus at Workshop Kitchen + Bar (800 N. Palm Canyon Drive) are heavy with cocktails and duck fat, the spot also offers a nice selection of beers in their downtown-L.A.-esque bar.

As stated on Workshop’s liquid menu, this is a carefully chosen, opinionated mix of products. The beer bottles are sectioned by “crisp,” “yeasty,” “malty,” “strong or dark’ish” and “hoppy.” The tap list rotates, but offers a nice selection of lighter brews. Available as of this writing are Abita Lemon Wheat, hailing from Louisiana; Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils, from Colorado; Stiegl Goldbrau Märzen, all the way from Salzburg, Austria; and our own local brew, the Belgian-Style Vanilla Blonde Ale from Babe’s. The rotating menu calls attention to Southern California seasonal products, from lemon cucumber and dates to pattypan squash.

Located down the street several blocks is Bar (340 N. Palm Canyon Drive). I’m enamored with Bar’s beer cocktails, its dark and seductive surroundings, the DJ parties and the Picnic Eggs—deviled eggs with Sriracha and wasabi. Pair them with the War Gin (gin and lemon honey pale ale) beer cocktail. If you favor bourbon, order the Burning Bush, made with bourbon, lemon, house grenadine and pilsner. Not daring enough for the beer-and-cocktail blends? The small selection of craft beers will satisfy.

The Purple Room is the swanky new kid at 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive. In bottles, you can enjoy San Diego beers like Ballast Point Longfin Lager and Stone Pale Ale. On tap, enjoy what the Coachella Valley has to offer with brews from Coachella Valley Brewing Co. and Babe’s.

In the heart of downtown Palm Springs, Fame Lounge (155 S. Palm Canyon Drive) is an upscale cigar, wine and microbrew lounge. At the bar, you’ll find a rotation of beers on tap. Recent finds: Ommegang’s Hennepin, Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA, and New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Coconut Curry Hefeweizen.

Heading east, the aforementioned Coachella Valley Brewing Co. (30640 Gunther St., Thousand Palms) is brewing up some one-off specialty beers perfect for the cooler nights that have arrived. Their Fall Harvest Saison is a 7.3-percent-alcohol, Belgian ale brewed with pumpkin, sweet potatoes and Lance Davis’ 100 percent pure desert gourmet honey. Only two kegs were brewed, so if it’s not already gone, hurry! The Volstead India Pale Lager is a light yet flavorful 7 percent alcohol pre-Prohibition pilsner made with hops from the Czech Republic, as well as lively Motueka hops from New Zealand. Coming up in Coachella Valley’s brewing rotation is Oasis, a hard apple medley—brewed with fresh Julian apples. Look for this release around mid-December. The guys at CVB also just brewed a saison with Torulaspora delbrueckii, a strain of wild yeast isolated from an apple orchard on a deserted island in Denmark. Brewed with rye and spelt, the release is as of yet unnamed, but keep an eye out for this beauty.

Their first collaboration beer has been a tasting-room success. Coriolis is a 9.5-percent-alcohol, 120 IBU, wet-hop imperial IPA. Brewed along with Rocks Brewing in Sydney, Australia, with hops from New Zealand and Australia, this is a mouthwatering hop bomb. It’s down to the final keg, so visit their tasting room to check it out. Their brand new Framboysenberry is a raspberry and boysenberry sour wild ale made with Pedio, Brett and Lacto yeasts. This won the peoples’ choice award in Redlands recently and is now on tap for tasters and glasses. Crave more spice in your life? The Monument on Fire, just released, is a double IPA is infused with habañero and hatch chiles, papaya and mango. The Conquistador Quadruple ale will be available in early December, and watch for a special treat: They are stashing some in bourbon barrels.

The appropriately named Burgers and Beer (79815 Highway 111, La Quinta, and 72773 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage) has a list of more than 50 bottled beers, like Rogue Dead Guy Ale and Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA. On draft, you'll find local brews like Babe's Honey Blonde Ale and CV Brewing’s Monumentous, a West-Coast rye double IPA.

Neighboring Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse (71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage)—the granddaddy of local brewers—is Southern California-started chain Yard House. Each Yard House features 100 to 250 tap handles, depending on the location. The Rancho Mirage tap room has 155 beers on tap, ranging from Allagash White and Lost Coast Apricot Wheat to Bootlegger's Black Phoenix and Port Brewing Shark Attack Red. Also rotating in are seasonal drafts, which are displayed electronically above the bar. Currently tapped are IPAs like Firestone Wookey Jack and Green Flash Hop Head Red, joining Belgians like The Bruery Autumn Maple and Gulden Draak 9000 Quad. Of course, if you’re really thirsty, you can order a draft in 3-foot-tall glass container. Make it a yard!

Schmidy’s Tavern (72286 Highway 111) is a relaxed (unless there’s live music!) craft-beer bar in Palm Desert, with rotating selections like Stone Enjoy By 12-13-13, CV Brewing’s Volstead and Game of Thrones: Take the Black Stout. Enjoy learning more about the craft-beer revolution at their beer school, hosted the last Wednesday of most months. (Beer School is on hiatus during holidays, but the popular class will return on Jan. 29.)

The Beer Hunter (78483 Highway 111, La Quinta) offers a great choice and selection in their sports-themed “Hall of Foam.” Enjoy the game while drinking an Alaskan Amber Ale, Firestone Pale Ale or Ranger IPA from Fort Collins, and log your drinks in the Hall of Foam to eventually have your name emblazoned on the beer plaque. You’ll find local beers from brand-new La Quinta Brewing and CV Brewing.

So Cal chain Eureka! Burger (74985 Highway 111) is helping Indian Wells discover American craft, one burger, whiskey and beer at a time. The craft-beer selection is carefully selected by beverage director, sommelier and company ambassador Jonny Barr. Currently, the selection boasts 20 taps ranging from Drake’s Brewing Bavarian-Style Hefeweizen and Eagle Rock’s Manifesto Wit to Stone Brewing’s Smoked Porter and Great Divide’s Yeti Imperial Stout. All of their bartenders are certified beer servers, which is the first level of a cicerone—the craft-beer equivalent of a sommelier. Artisan recipes and fresh, organic ingredients accompany their signature hand-cut fries and gourmet salads.

Despite the gorgeous display of fermented grain mash available at Eureka!, the suds are not to be overlooked. Even a couple of the whiskeys on offer are made by—you guessed it—breweries. Check out what Anchor has to offer with their Anchor Distilling Old Potrero, single malt 19th-century straight rye whiskey. This is distilled with 100 percent rye malt mash and aged in new charred oak barrels—and is a silver medal winner!

It’s exciting to see restaurants and bars in the valley getting in on the craft-beer revolution, serving a varied choice of beer alongside aperitifs and main courses.

Choice matters. Taste matters. Check out what the Coachella Valley has to offer.

Below: The Coachella Valley Brewing Co.'s Fall Harvest Saison.

Published in Beer

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