Early 2011, I stopped in Noble Ale Works before the Super Bowl. With my foam cheese-head hat stinking up my car, I grabbed a growler of their IPA for a party. Bag of chips and pint of Noble IPA on my lap, I proceeded to watch Christina Aguilera fuck up the lyrics to the national anthem. I promptly dusted the growler then probably grilled some meat and pee’d on a tree (you know, manly things) before passing out in a quiet corner…all before halftime.
I watched Noble grow. Eleven months later, their in-house brewery was mostly operational. Their lineup of a few bold hoppy beers and a Russian Imperial Stout were good, but recipes were all over the place. I had my doubts after their 1st anniversary regarding quality; getting an IPA that was undrinkably sweet. I showed a sample of my settled hydrometer reading (1.038) to their brewer at the time and he said, “We’re trying out a new yeast”. I was expecting an “Oh shit, let me fix that for you”. To those that don’t brew, 1.038 is an unfinished beer. Either the yeast crapped out or it was cold-crashed to serve faster. Everyone has a bad beer from time to time, the point is to fix it and move on.
On April 11th, 2012, Owner Jerry Kolbly dropped a bomb on my lap: “We’re letting our brewer go and we’re trying to hire Evan Price from TAPS”. Talk about fixing an issue! Knowing the quality TAPS Fish House & Brewery kicks out, Noble Ale Works was back on the map.
It didn’t take long for Evan to learn the new brewhouse and tinker with IPA recipes. His first batch of Nobility DIPA (I think its fourth incarnation) I sampled was a hop-bomb at its finest. Pungent Citra on the nose with a crisp dry malt backbone. It seemed like new beers were coming out ever week. ESB, a new Pale Ale, the true “Evan’s Lager” (collaboration with Cismontane’s Evan Weinberg), and a bright hoppy Pilsner were proof enough Evan Price is a hell of a brewer. He gave names to his beers that are quirky and unique (see flyer below). Inventive beers like Naughty Sauce confused the hell out me…a blonde stout? Who the hell brews that stuff? It’s good too! One thing is for sure, I don’t miss the old recipes, well, Dark Sybian will always hold a special place in my heart.
As Noble Ale Works turns two, I can honestly say they’re one of my favorite breweries. Not just in OC or SoCal, I friggen love what they have going on. With a solid lineup of tasty beers, inventive one-off batches, cask beers every Friday, and the fact they flush growlers with CO2 before a fill, I’m sure they’ll be a favorite for some time to come. Join the celebration on Jan 26 from Noon to 4! Check their site for details! I’ll see you there!