Valiant Brewing Company takes home several local and national awards

BRIAN SCHROEPFERWe at Valiant Brewing Company are beyond excited to announce the addition of several new awards for our Orange County-based beer. Since we first opened our doors in March of 2013, Head Brewer, Brian Schroepfer has put his engineering background, as well as his Master Brewers certification from the American Brewers Guild, to good use in designing beer with complex, multi-layered flavors and aromas. Now a few of those beers are being recognized as some of the best in the region, and even the country.

“It’s really rewarding to receive recognition for our hard work on a local, national and international level,” Brian said. “It truly is an honor and validates all the hard work and effort I put into each brew.”

Our Belgian-Style Dark Ale, Axiom, won a Gold medal this summer at the San Diego International Beer Festival (SDIBF). We also took home another Gold medal for our Scottish-Style Ale, The Bruce. More than 12,000 beer lovers attend SDIBF every year, and more than 400 different international beers are represented. We were so thrilled to stand out in such a prestigious crowd.

This summer Valiant Brewing Company also earned three awards from the Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition, including two gold medals for The Bruce and Axiom. We were also awarded a bronze medal for our Barrel-Aged version of Axiom. This international competition has been around for nearly 15 years and boasts the highest standards of excellence in judging and beer tasting, so these awards were also quite an honor.

Lastly, but not least, this year’s United States Open Beer Competition named us one of the top ten breweries in the country. We also won a Gold medal in the competition for Stentorian, our Barley Wine, a silver medal for our Belgian Pale Ale, Criterion, and another silver for Crescendo in the American Premium Lager category. We were also excited to win a bronze medal for Axiom in the Belgian Quadrupel category.

Submitting your own beer to a international, national or even local beer competition can be a daunting experience. Each competition brings with it it’s own set of requirements for packaging, transporting and categorizing beer submissions.

Brian said, “It’s takes a lot of detail to make sure your beers arrive how they should, and in the right categories, to put your best foot forward.”

Already we’re getting great responses about the awards from our customers in the tasting room. Now, we’re hoping the awards will have a positive effect on our efforts to get the word out about our beer to people all over Southern California.

Brian added, “It highlights the beer again to everyone. Sometimes it needs a little push to get going.”

We hope you’ll come in, meet the gang, and try some of our award winning beer soon!

 

The Valiant Brewing family is growing!

Growth is a word every small business likes to hear – and that’s definitely true for us at Valiant Brewing Company. The Valiant Brewing family is evolving and new employment opportunities are being created for a few of our loyal staffers.

“It’s definitely exciting, said Head Brewer and Owner Brian Schroepfer.

Steven Hicks: Assistant Brewer at Valiant Brewing Company

Steven Hicks: Assistant Brewer at Valiant Brewing Company

We’ve given promotions to two of our very talented and dedicated tasting room employees. Steven Hicks had been serving Valiant Brewing Company as a Serving Specialist in our tasting room but in March, he started in his new position as Assistant Brewer. This change showcases Steven’s passion for craft beer and his thirst to learn more about the brewing process. Steven has a very technical mind, just like Brian, which makes them a perfect team in the brewery. Steven is an avid home brewer and has goals toward a brewing degree. Right now, in the Valiant brewery, he’s doing everything from cleaning and maintenance to filtering. He’s also mastered the pilot batches and is now brewing all the pilot batches by himself. Steven has already been a great help to Brian with the brewing side of Valiant Brewing Company.

“We’re getting busier and coming out with a lot more beers,” Brian explained, adding that he’s glad to have Steven’s help in the brewery. “He’s a really good fit.”

Sales Representative for Valiant Brewing Company

Andre Stojka: Sales Representative for Valiant Brewing Company

On the other side, we have an employee who is so full of life that it’s likely you’ve talked to him at length about great beer if you’ve ever visited the Valiant tasting room. Andre Stojka is bubbly, fun and loves interacting with people. Unlike Steven, Andre is less interested in the technical side of craft beer, but loves the community craft beer creates. Several months ago he approached us with a well thought out plan of why he should take on a new position as one of our Sales Representatives. He put a lot of thought into the idea and for us it was a no brainer. His social personality and knowledge of (and passion for) craft beer made him a perfect choice for the job. Andre made the leap from Serving Specialist in the tasting room to Sales Rep for the San Diego area in January. Already he’s beating all of our other sales reps in terms of numbers.”He’s opening the brand to another county and infiltrating one of the most difficult and competitive areas in the state for craft beer,” Brian said.

Tasting Room Manager for Valiant Brewing Company

Nate Moretz: Tasting Room Manager for Valiant Brewing Company

We also brought in Nate Moretz as our new Tasting Room Manager. Nate will be in charge of all of Valiant’s tasting room events from movie nights, trivia and game nights, cask nights, food pairing events and even our Summer Festival in July where we’ll roll out six new beers. He’ll also do social media work for us and will be responsible for making sure the overall atmosphere of the Valiant Brewing tasting room is fun and enjoyable for all our guests.

“It’s good to bring fresh blood into the tasting room,” Brian noted. “We’ve finally got to a point to get myself out of the tasting room,” he added, “It’s nice to know I have help.”

We are so pleased to be able to help launch the careers of the next generation of craft beer brewers, managers and sales reps. It’s also rewarding to know that we’re keeping our employees happy and fulfilled. That’s just one reason Valiant Brewing Company is a great place to work.

“We’re a very small and dedicated team,” Brian explained. “This is a family. It’s pretty strong.”

In total, we now have five full time employees and one part time employee. That includes our three sales reps to Orange County and San Diego.

“These are all good signs that we’ve achieved the next step. It’s very nice and we needed the extra help,” Brian said.

When we started Valiant Brewing Company, we had the mindset to begin by creating a strong product – expertly crafted beer. Once we accomplished that, we could focus on serving our customers to the best of our ability. The additional staff will help us even more in making the tasting room at Valiant Brewing Company somewhere beer lovers can feel welcome and relaxed. After all, the customers are the reason we work so hard to brew great beer.

“Our customers are very loyal and we know that they’ll be there for us,” Brian said.

Just like our staff, our customers are part of the Valiant family. We hope that this part of our family will continue to grow and as it grows, we are committed to listening to the needs of our customers to make Valiant’s tasting room a place they’ll want to be. Come down anytime and join our big, crazy, fun, Valiant Brewing Company family!

 

Double Gold at San Diego Fair

AXIOM and BRUCE Have won GOLD medals at the San Diego International Fair!

SDIBF-Medallion-Gold

C4 Deli Beer Dinner

The Legacy of Alpha Drive

Brewing a double IPA can be tricky. First of all, it’s easy to throw in too many hops or to go overboard with different malt styles when creating the foundation of the beer. The goal of a really great DIPA is to showcase the hops, elevating the aromatic properties, flavor and preserved bitterness. It’s a tough balancing act, even for a skilled brewer.

Our head brewer at Valiant, Brian Schroepfer, weighed in on the process. He said, “Anyone can simply throw gobs and gobs of hops into a beer and call it a double IPA but it takes skill to make the beer balance out and provide the consumer an enjoyment factor that only comes from selecting the right ingredients and executing the brewing process well.”

The amount of skill it takes to perfect a DIPA is already an impressive feat, but Brian went a step further when he brewed up the idea for Valiant’s DIPA, Alpha Drive. While most DIPAs end up punishing your mouth and tongue with bitterness, Alpha Drive actually has a very sophisticated flavor profile. Our Alpha Drive DIPA has all the characteristics of a classic double IPA (color, bitterness, flavor and aroma), but it’s extremely balanced for a 90 IBU range beer. The aftertaste actually leaves you wanting another sip! This means you get the perfect balance of hops resin on your palate – a rare treat for a DIPA but an attribute we at Valiant Brewing take very seriously.

“We pay attention to our hops selection and timing of when those hops are added to the wort or finished beer,” Brian added. “Remember, we have been brewing for over 11 years and after that amount of time, you start to understand what hops work and don’t work.”

The idea for Alpha Drive came when we realized that our Imperial IPA, Jericho, was simply too much beer for most beer drinkers to make it a year round release. Jericho has an alcohol content of 10.8% and an International Bittering Unit of more than 100. So, we went back to the drawing board. We analyzed the market for double IPAs and also took a hard look at aroma, flavor, bitterness, special hops and the DIPA brewing process in considering adding a new DIPA to our lineup.

“We know we wanted a DIPA that would stand up to the San Diego scene and at the same time, provide the OC with a beer that they can be proud of and claim their ground in this war of hoppy goodness,” Brian noted. “It is amazing to think that just after a month of bottling Jericho that Alpha Drive was born and was slated to be the new year round core beer.”

 Valiant’s Alpha Drive DIPA was first introduced on January 9th, 2014. It has an 8.8% alcohol content, so it’s not too light but it also won’t knock you on your back like Jericho could. The Aroma of Alpha Drive grips your senses from our use of Simcoe and Amarillo hops and gives off notes of tropical and citrus flavors like passion fruit and grapefruit. The actual flavor, however, is a whole other story. When you try Alpha Drive, you’ll enjoy the flavors of toasty and bready malt, intermixed with the sticky resin quality of Centennial hops. Alpha Drive finishes dry, crisp and clean with a strong hop forward and rolling bitterness that leads into even more hops! We knew Alpha Drive would be big with our customers, we just didn’t know how big. Right off the bat, we sold an entire 40 bbl batch in just about a month. No one was more thrilled than Brian.

“For us, still growing, that set a new record,” he said. “And rightfully so, it’s a solid DIPA!”

 As if sales weren’t enough to show us that we created an awesome DIPA, our customers in the Valiant tasting room have made sure to let us know how much they love Alpha Drive.

“‘Wow,’ ‘amazing’ and ‘tasty’ are usually the first words out of people’s mouths,” Brian commented. “The best one though is this statement which we hear a lot: ‘I really like this beer and I’m not even an IPA fan,’ or ‘I dislike bitter beers but the way Alpha Drive rolls on and off with its bitterness is really refreshing and tasty.’”

Those comments mean more to us at Valiant Brewing Company than even the sales themselves. We work very hard to provide a comfortable environment, excellent service and of course impeccably delicious craft beers that speak to our customers. We want them to feel at home when they stop by the Valiant tasting room and when they sip on our brews. Brian especially is so touched when our Valiant customers enjoy the beer he put his whole heart into creating.

“Words cannot express what it feels like when customers compliment Alpha Drive,” Brian said. “What some people don’t realize is that every ounce of beer produced by Valiant is an extension of my personality. So having people enjoy our product hits me right in the heart and I truly enjoy hearing positive comments about our products. We only wish we could get more people to take a little time and go online to review our products. Online reviews mean so much to a tiny brewery like us. Having all these great comments posted online helps us develop a ranking system and helps us promote our brands.”

If you have some time, please share your experiences with our beer on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Foursquare. We’re also on Google + and Pinterest.

But of course you’ve got to try Alpha Drive before you can post about it. Well, you’re in luck! Alpha Drive is always available on tap in the Valiant tasting room and you can also take home the great Alpha Drive flavor in a 22 oz. boomer bottle. Alpha Drive is also available at selected locations around Orange County and San Diego.

“We plan on having continuous packaging of both draft and bottles throughout the year,” Brian added.

We’re so excited that Alpha Drive has been such a huge hit with our existing customers. We hope you’ll come into Valiant soon and try it for yourself. After all, we think it’s one of the best DIPAs money can buy. But hey, we’re biased.

“We feel we absolutely nailed this style,” Brian said modestly. “In fact what we accomplished is what takes breweries years to obtain, yes the years of homebrewing did pay off! The level of hop flavors combined with the aroma characteristics and almost perfect rolling bitterness places this beer high on our walls. We have to agree that Alpha Drive is one of our favorites, just ask all our employees – I’ve never seen so many growlers purchased by them before!”

Alpha Drive Bottle OnlyDon’t take our word for it, come down to the Valiant tasting room and try Alpha Drive for yourself. We’ll save a pint glass for you.

 

Thousands turn out (despite the rain) to help celebrate Valiant Brewing’s One Year Anniversary

A little rain didn’t stop more than 2,000 people from pouring into the Valiant Brewing Company tasting room for Valiant One, Valiant Brewing Company’s first anniversary party. Doors opened at noon and until 11 p.m. that night, hundreds of people cycled through the tasting room and brewery every hour. With at least four Valiant staff members behind the bar at any given moment, we tried to keep the lines moving as quickly as possible. Even so, the line to try our 26 beers on tap just never seemed to get shorter. But hey, we’re not complaining! With the stormy forecast, we all assumed we’d be lucky to get even a few hundred people to show up.
“The actual attendance for the day completely took us off guard,” Owner/Head Brewer Brian Schroepfer said. “The turnout was so far beyond our expectations and Valiant is truly blessed to have so many supporters, it really makes us proud to know our hard work and dedication is well received.”

One of those in attendance was world-renowned Chef Cody Storts of Hopscotch Tavern in Fullerton, California. The weather deterred Chef Cody’s original plan to bring an outdoor grill to the party, but it didn’t stop him from whipping up all sorts gourmet treats for our hundreds of guests. The famous chef simply moved his operation indoors and prepared homemade potato chips, seasoned corn nuts and top of the line Mexican tacos with either pork, chicken or shrimp instead. Just like the line for beer, the line to try some of Chef Cody’s delicious creations was consistently full of eager and excited people.

TJ’s Woodfire Pizza also brought their food truck and plenty of people enjoyed huge, cheesy personal pizzas with their Valiant Brewing anniversary beer. Speaking of the beer, our 26 brews turned out to be the life of the party. The beer list included all the old favorites like Axiom (Trappist Style Ale, 10.5% abv), Crescendo (American Lager, 6.5% abv), Alpha Drive (Double IPA, 8.8% abv) and our Belgian Honey Ale, Criterion (5.6% abv), but the list didn’t stop there. We also offered five seasonal beers including one of our heaviest, the 13.7% American Strong Ale we call First Flight, Pathos, our Imperial Chocolate Porter at 9.3% and the first Valiant Brewing Company beer to be bottled, Jericho. Jericho is our 10.8% Imperial IPA. The list also included two rotating seasonal beers: an Imperial Black Espresso Saison and our Persimmon Saison. We had three additional beers we offered which were the Veranda (Amber Belgian, 8.5% abv) and the Mighty Maximus Premium Ale (3.8%) served on nitro, as well as with regular carbonation. Some of the most popular beers we offered were our barrel aged favorites including Axiom, First Flight and Stentorian. We also had a new Scotch Ale we call The Bruce and a dry hopped version of one of our crowd pleasers, Crescendo. Of course, Brian wouldn’t leave it at just that. He also made an Anniversary brew – a Belgian Barleywine at 12.3% abv, an American Strong Ale (13.2% abv) and a Valiant Brewing beer blend at 12.1%. After that, he just kept going. Never before seen (or tasted) ultra small batches made their debut at the Valiant Anniversary party, including a Guava Cream Ale (4.5%), a Lacto Cherry Stout (7%), a Wheat Beer (6%) and a Lager Barleywine (8.8%).

“The first beer to go was actually our Guava Cream Ale then our Lacto Cherry Stout next,” Brian noted. “By the end of the night we almost blew through all our kegs so our planning was good. Some of the beers like Crescendo and Alpha Drive actually went through two ½ bbl kegs each. We added two handles for these beers, so that was a good move on our part.”

For those of you who missed Valiant One, we do still have some of our special anniversary beers on tap. However, we only kegged about three weeks worth, so it’ll go quick. If you want to try the anniversary beers you’ll have to get to Valiant’s tasting room fast. But if you do miss out on a taste of our anniversary beers, rest assured we’ll always have something new to try at the Valiant Brewing tap room.

“Don’t worry,” Brian added. “We have big plans for this year since now I have an assistant brewer helping me out.”

The storm did keep one feature from the party on Saturday, and that was the hot rod show we planned to have in the parking lot. As you can imagine, hot rod owners work very hard on their babies and do not want to bring them out in inclement weather. We all understood why the hot rods couldn’t be there, especially Brian.

“Since I’m a hot rodder, it made perfect sense that I didn’t see any hot rods,” Brian explained. “People who own hot rods really don’t like taking them out in the rain unless they are daily drivers.”

Brian added that he was almost glad the hot rods didn’t show up. First of all, with the enormous turnout there was no extra parking for the hot rods. Moreover though, Brian was so busy behind the bar he would’ve had to miss the show anyway. Still, several hot rod owners ended up coming without their cars and we were glad to have their company.

Looking back, we were all thrilled that our Valiant Brewing Company anniversary party went off without a hitch. We had a very small team planning and organizing the event, but our goal was to wow our customers and make them happy. After talking with several customers in person and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we feel like that goal was accomplished. For Brian, the best part was handing the customer their last beer of the night and getting their feedback after a long day’s work.

“I would shake their hand and ask if they enjoyed themselves and or liked the beer. Everyone responded overwhelmingly positive about their experience and I could see that they meant it,” Brian said.

All in all it was a very successful event and a successful first year in business as your neighborhood brewing company. We at Valiant Brewing Company more than appreciate all of the love and support we felt throughout the day and hope to see some of the new friends we made at the brewery more often. Who knows, maybe we’ll make our anniversary party an annual event!

“It’s a TON of work but rewarding and allows us to kind of “˜show off’ to everyone, letting them know that we do mean business and that we aren’t shy of making different beer styles,” Brian added.

“Our biggest problem is simply trying to figure out how we are going to pull it off,” he laughed. “But that’s why there is planning!”

Everyone at Valiant Brewing Company would just like to extend a HUGE thank you to all the friends, locals and loyal customers that have made our first year as a brewing company a success – not to mention our anniversary party! You guys are why we work so hard to brew great beer to begin with. So, having your support and positive feedback really means the world to us. We appreciate you and hope to see you very often at the Valiant Brewing tasting room.

Check out some photos below and a full photo album of the event on our Facebook page and be sure to tag yourself and your friends! See you next time, at Valiant Brewing Company.
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First Year of Beer: Valiant Turns One

I am a Craft Brewer

Holiday Barrel Aged Porter Pathos: Available Now for a Limited Time

The holidays come with a variety of traditions like decorating the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah and ringing in the New Year with a kiss. However, there’s a new holiday tradition we invite you to take part of before it’s too late! That tradition is coming down to Valiant Brewing Company to sample our newest seasonal release. This year we’ve got one barrel of our Barrel Aged Pathos Porter available for the holidays.

Our Barrel Aged Pathos is an Imperial Chocolate Porter with a forward flavor of chocolate, hints of toffee and caramel and minor burnt, roasty malt characters while also bringing out notes of oak, crème brûlée, vanilla and coconut on the aroma side. At 9.3% alcohol content, Pathos is the perfect beer for the holidays!

“It’s a good holiday beer,” said Owner Brian Schroepfer. “People kind of associate relaxing with a darker beer by the fire, as opposed to having a lager. [Pathos] has a little bit more complexity, a little bit more depth to stay around in your pallet and that’s what people are kind of looking for when they want to relax, they want to have a nice beer that they can sip on.”

But our Pathos Porter is only available as long as we’ve got it. Once the barrel is gone, it’s gone! So grab your jacket and keys and head to Valiant for a taste. You’ll have to hurry though, our holiday hours may limit your ability to get your hands on this tasty little porter.

We’ll be closed Thursday, December 26th but we will reopen on Friday, December 27 6-9pm and Saturday, December 28th from noon to 9 p.m. We will also be open on Monday, December 30th from 6 – 9 p.m. for growler fills only.

We hope to see you soon. Happy Holidays!

Behind the Scenes: Valiant’s Bottling Process for Jericho IIPA

We at Valiant Brewing Company are thrilled to offer one of our flagship beers, our Jericho Imperial IPA, in bottles! We are thrilled because Jericho is a terrific seasonal brew – it’s an Imperial IPA, full of hops with an aroma of orange, tangerine and a citrus flower bouquet that heightens the senses, allowing the sweet malty bitterness to develop slowly and linger for a few minutes. At a 10.8% alcohol content, it’s a great craft brew for the winter months.

But that’s not the only reason we’re so excited to offer this gem in 750ml bottles! We’re also excited because it almost didn’t happen. At least not on schedule. We had a deadline of November 16th to release our Jericho Imperial IPA bottles, but like Murphy’s Law dictates, “What can go wrong, will go wrong.” That was almost the case for Jericho’s bottling process. Luckily, with some help from all of our staff, a few of our neighboring breweries and the support of all of our patrons – our Jericho IPA has been bottled and is currently in distribution!

Brian, Valiant’s owner and founder, said of the whole experience, “It was cutting it really close.”

The mayhem began with a call from the company that manufactures our labeling machine. It turns out our brand new machine, which we were expecting to be shipped to us well in advance of our impending November 16th release date, would be at least two months late to arrive. Brian flew into action, calling around to find any brewery that would let him borrow a labeler. Evan Weinberg, of Cismontane Brewing Company, stepped up to the plate and offered to help out. Evan offered us Cismontane’s labeling machine and before Brian could take it over to Valiant to label our bottles, he spent several hours working with the crew at Cismontane.

“I appreciate their friendship, their openness,” Brian said. “I definitely thank them so much for their hospitality and their time to show us their process, and I could learn from their mistakes.”

Hurdle number one was successfully jumped, but then came the challenge of actually filling the bottles with Valiant’s new Maheen bottling machine, which had been purchased but never used. It was Friday, November 15th, the day before the bottles were going to be released. Brian arrived at Valiant bright and early, around 4:30 in the morning. A small crew of Valiant’s brewery and tasting room staff arrived around 6:30 A.M. to get the bottling underway.

“We were like five of us, we all had our stations,” Brian said. “We didn’t know what we were getting into but I kind of remembered from going back to Cismontane, their set up and how they got in a groove over there. So, I was somewhat prepared for the outcome but what I wasn’t prepared for the learning curve of the Maheen system and bottling machine.”

Right away Brian could tell the parameter settings on the machine were off because the bottles were only being filled halfway, or were coming out half full of foam. Hours of adjusting and readjusting the ratio, dealing with bottles crashing on the ground and making frustrated calls to the manufacturer and other breweries seemed to have gotten them nowhere. Finally, Brian got through to Eagle Rock Brewery and was able to get some help. But it was another call to the manufacturer that triggered the lightbulb in Brian’s head and allowed his engineering background to kick in and save the day.

“Once I started understanding the units, which weren’t published anywhere, then I understood exactly what those functions were doing,” Brian explained. “So, I got off the phone with him and I said, ‘Oh, OK. I understand now. I believe this is our situation.’ I adjusted the parameters, fired the machine up and guess what? We were bottling.”

Once he solved the problem, they were back in business. Unfortunately, by that time it was already 3 O’Clock in the afternoon. We only had two hours until the tasting room opened. Frantically they brainstormed ideas for what to do, because the bottling set up was smack dab in the center of the Valiant tasting room. They didn’t have enough time to alert everyone on social media that the brewery was going to be closed and frankly, we couldn’t afford the losses from a day’s closure. Finally they decided to section the bottling station off from the rest of the tasting room, using chairs. We were able to open at our normal business hours. For those of you who were at Valiant that day, you’ll remember that the staff juggled bottling with taking turns serving behind the bar. In the end, it actually ended up offering everyone who came to Valiant that day a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes of the Valiant Brewing Company.

“It was kind of neat in a way, because we were like the show and people were taking pictures,” Brian laughed. “But it was kind of rewarding because people could see ‘Oh! That’s my product you bottled.’”

The gang stayed late into the night until the job was done. Out of all that, we ended up bottling 320 cases, or nearly 4,000 bottles of Jericho Imperial IPA! These bottles are already in distribution in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. It never would have happened without all the help and support from our new friends at Cismontane Brewing Company, Eagle Rock Brewery and all of you! So yes, we are especially thrilled to offer our Jericho IPA in big bottles. Our next challenge will be getting the Jericho in 22 oz. bottles, which we promise we’ll tackle soon! After that, we plan to bottle four more core beers: Crescendo (our bold 6.5% Blonde Lager), Alpha Drive (an 8.8% Double IPA, great for hop heads), Axiom (a delicious graham cracker and malty Trappist Ale at 10.5%) and our Criterion Belgian Amber Ale (A floral but spicy Honey Rye at 5.6%). Keep checking in for updates on when those will be available in Valiant bottles.

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