Last summer, Santa Barbara Sentinel beer columnist and friend of Santa Barbara Beer Zach Rosen hosted a small festival in Santa Barbara’s Botanic Garden that celebrated local beer and California’s natural flora. The private event was a success, and he and the Botanic Garden have brought it back for another round.
On February 22, Zach, myself and about 250 Santa Barbara beerdoes (Zach’s word and my favorite descriptor for beer geeks) will tour through the Botanic Garden tasting eight beers from some terrific California Breweries. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased here.
I recently spoke with Zach for a piece that will run in Thursday’s News-Press, and you can check that out for more information. However, if you’d like to take a gander at the beers and tasting notes for them, I’ve copied them below. See you there.
Winter ’14 Beer Garden Tasting Notes
1. Pure Order Brewing Co Crooked Neck Hefeweizen
Help us welcome Santa Barbara’s newest brewery, Pure Order Brewing Co, in their first public appearance. The meadow is undergoing an extensive renovation that will revive it to an indigenous display of wildflowers and grasses. The young shoots emerging from the ground capture the delicate state of this fledgling brewery, that, with time, will become a fixture in our community as permanent as the Blaksley Boulder. Crooked Neck Hefeweizen is full of refreshing flavors of banana, clove, and honey bread that will prepare your palate for the path ahead.
2. Surf Brewery Imperial Red Ale
When you reach the top of the Meadow Section, make the short trip up the flight of stairs to reach the mesmerizing Meadow View. Fill your glass with Surf’s Imperial Red Ale then turn around to take in the expanse of the American Riviera. Mosaic hops create a rich tapestry of tropical, floral, and fruity flavors whose diverse character captures the sight of this unique blend of California coast and Mediterranean climate. Return here at dusk and watch the beer’s burgundy hues complement the violet sky, green landscapes, and deep blues of the breaking surf as Waters Risin’ plays a gentle but vivid meadow set to draw the festival to a close.
3. Santa Barbara Brewing Co King Saaz (unfiltered)
Take a seat and relax in this grove of coastal redwoods. Let the crisp, maltiness of this imperial Pilsner soothe you as you sit in this cool, shady section of the gardens. The extra dose of Saaz hops in this beer give it an enormous grassy, floral flavor that matches the size of these colossal trees while providing a green character that compliments the surrounding undergrowth. This special, unfiltered version, of King Saaz has a more substantial body and heartier flavor that helps it stand tall in the presence of these looming giants. Waters Risin’ will play a deep, bold canyon set that will draw you into the canyon and travel with you as you move down the ravine.
4. The Brewhouse Abbey Ale
Mission Dam & Aqueduct
The Mission Dam lies between The Brewhouse and Santa Barbara Brewing Co, the two foundations of our local beer scene. This State and County Historic Landmark was built in 1807 to supply the Santa Barbara Mission with water. This cornerstone of Santa Barbara is serving their Abbey Ale, a beer inspired by the monastic brews of Belgium. Its flavors of yeast, apricot and caramel apple, completed by a prickle of clove, provide sweet, bubbling notes to the swoosh of water and crackle of birdsong.
5. The Dudes Brewing Co Grinning Face Porter on Cask
What is a bridge but a smile that you can walk upon, bringing you from one pleasant spot to the next. The Grinning Face Porter will certainly put a smile on your face and take you to that happy place. Walk over the Campbell Bridge, and let the lush surroundings and swirling stream below give you an exotic mood that fits the tropical flavors coming from the coconut sugar, toasted coconut flakes and vanilla beans used in this decadent brew. This special edition cask has been aged on additional coconut flakes and vanilla beans.
6. Island Brewing Co Avocado Honey Ale
Grab a glass of Avocado Honey Ale and take a seat at this peaceful patio overlooking Mission Creek. A brisk flavor of sweet malts and floral hops spring out of the glass to bring a breathtaking freshness that accompanies the lovely views of the canyon below. Avocado honey is used in this beer to give it a crisp character that highlights the live honey bee hive in the nearby Manzanita section.
7. Telegraph Brewing Co Handlebar Abbey on Oak
The Discovery Garden is full of interactive exhibits and plants that inspire the senses. Explore this section as you sip on Handlebar Abbey Ale. This special edition of Abbey Ale is blended with an oak tincture and cold-pressed Salvadorian coffee from Handlebar Coffee Roasters. The lively coffee aromas give way to flavors of caramel and maraschino cherries that are softened by the woody notes of oak. This complex beer with layers of flavor will give you plenty to discover as you take in the different tree exhibits and surrounding coffeeberry plants.
8. Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co Davy Brown Ale
ShinKanAn Teahouse & Gardens
A Japanese tea garden is designed to connect man with nature and in California there was no man more connected to nature than Davy Brown. This bold but balanced American brown ale captures the wild spirit of the famed bear hunter and contrasts it with the delicate, structured nature of the chanoyu tea ceremony. This authentic teahouse is surrounded by local native plants in a traditional Japanese form to create an atmosphere that is uniquely Californian. Flavors of toffee and cocoa blend with a touch of piney hops in a sturdy but refreshing beer that embodies the enduring, harmonious nature of Japanese architecture.