Two seconds after getting my red-wristband strapped and tasting glass, the sign for Royalty beams me in like the Death Star. Sampling Orange County’s first Triple IPA is my primary directive on this red letter day. Looking like a Barleywine and smelling like a stadium filled with fruity hops, Royalty is highly aristocratic on my palate. Fierce notes of exotic tropical fruits tar-and-feather my taste buds. “I think I stubbed my tongue” I say to the milfy volunteer pouring the stuff. She raises an eyebrow and smirks. The boozy 11% ABV peeps it’s head out to say “hi!”, then sucker punches me in the face repeatedly with its long 125 IBU finish. I quickly get a second pour to be sure…don’t hate! The second drink grabs my tongue in a figure-four leg lock, forcing me to succumb to its behemoth hop load. I dip my pinkie in the glass and rub some behind my ears, you know…for good luck, and to keep bears away. Glad that I survived the big hill of this roller coaster, I can coast along and enjoy myself.
The fenced in area in front of Noble Ale Works hosts a diverse set of food trucks, guests and delicious craft beer. The always delicious Rolling Sushi Van, GarlicScapes, Short Stop BBQ, the Viking Truck (among others) serve up beer-friendly lunch and snacks. Old people, young people, parents, toddlers, hot girls, dweebs, pliny shirts, and local pro brewers are showing their support for Noble today. I spotted (a thinning) Patrick Rue and Jonas Nemura of The Bruery, Julian Shrago owner/brewer/crooner of Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Brian Avery of Bravery Brewing (Lancaster, CA), Chef Greg Daniels and Wil Dee of the Haven Collective, Jarred Dooley of The Playground, Kyle Manns of TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Kenny and Mike Hollingshead, as well as Anaheim’s Mayor Tom Tait.
Along with the diversity of food and people, Noble’s Jerry Kolbly, Evan Price and Brad Kominek lined up a diverse array of beers for the day. Four casks (served every hour) kept a constant flow of people in the tasting room and brewhouse. I tasted three, Knight Changer with toasted coconut being one of my favorites of the day. Dank, oily, tropical, thick and decadent; I wish I had a wooden tiki cup to sip this out of!
Royalty on cask is also a game changer; the hops have an entirely different fruity flavor mixed with a catty finish compared to the draft version. Keeping with the tropical island cask flavors, the IPA with grapefruit makes me wish I had a grass hula-skirt and a coconut bra. I’ve made a beer version of a tropical cocktail called ‘Meihana’ (Anaheim backwards) in the past, and this beer would make a great base for it. I missed the fourth cask, sadly. Boohoo. So sad.
On tap in the tasting room comes another facet of flavor from Noble: Pepper, coffee and tea beers. Pistol Whip’d with Serrano (Pistola), Imperial Stout with Morita Chiles & Yellow Curry (Good Time), Triple IPA with Habanero (Shotgun) all knocked my socks off Kurt Cobain style. Other rarities of the day: Barrel “1” First Dip was coming along nicely. Then it hit me; India Black Ale with Simcoe. I share a glass of this with Anaheim’s Mayor, Tom Tait, and we both agree this is pure silliness. Cascadian dark in theory, yet not piney. I hope this makes it into the regular lineup of beers so I can sample it with a fresh palate. Moby Dick and Naughty Sauce didn’t make it in my mouth today, sadly. Go ahead, make the joke…done laughing yet? Great, let’s move on, cochino.
I don’t normally comment on the bands, but damn…Lady Gaga covers? Eminem covers? Crazy. I’m not ashamed to say I danced in the porta-potty, and the mess on the seat is not mine.
At this point my palate is wrecked. My tongue is deflated and numb. I ask beertender Samantha (pictured above) for a Pistol Whip’d Pils to nurse my wounds, but it came out like I got back from the dentist. While she pours, I say “she can pistol whip me any time” to a guy next to me at the bar. He gets up and leaves without saying anything. It’s probably time to go home. I’m such an awkward social butterfly.
Overall, this was a great anniversary party that showcased new-brewer Evan Price’s abilities. His flavor mashups in cask are a fun way to experiment with some bold flavors. I can tell by the amount of support from other pro-brewers that they’re also excited to see where Noble Ale Works is going!
Special thanks to Jerry Kolbly, Evan Price, Brad and Bridget Kominek, Danielle Madsen, Mother Nature, Bobby Navarro of 100 Eats 100 Days, new Tasting Room Manager Lauren St. Paul(!), and a few hundred of my closest friends. Cheers!