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.
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.”
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.
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!
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!
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.
Part 14 in our ongoing series of posts introducing you to the Valiant family of beers. Today’s installment: Stonewall Jackson 5.
Okay, the name probably gives it away—but we’ll go ahead and just say it: this is a really fun beer. It was fun to brew, and it’s darn fun to drink!
This Double Red Wheat was the first beer we brewed on our new Pico system (more on that in an upcoming post!). But that’s not the only reason it’s a landmark of sorts. Brian pushed the Hef yeast strain almost into the 9% range, which makes Stonewall Jackson 5 come across almost as though it’s been oaked.
The aroma alone will knock your socks off: mild sweet cherry, hints of clove, caramel maltiness, and deep notes of raisin and prune make you eager for that first sip—and it doesn’t disappoint: malty caramel richness combines with bold bitterness, leading to a dry finish.
Not too heavy at 8.7% ABV and 50 IBU, Stonewall Jackson 5 was a sort of experiment for Valiant (hey, when have you ever seen a Double Red Wheat?), and we were excited that it came out so great. With a classic Hef malt bill (and 50% wheat to add a velvety, creamy texture), it has exciting esters that go well with the Golding and Vanguard noble hops added at the end.
So easy to drink, you’ll probably think it’s just a 4% beer—but Stonewall Jackson 5 is more like an aged port: rich with wheat and notes of cherry and raisin, it offers a bit of bitterness to round out the palate and finishes with classic Hef tartness.
The newest addition to our brewery… also represents the history of Valiant.
Way back when we realized we wanted to go pro with craft beer, there was still one big unknown: would we be a contract brewery? A nano brewery? A micro brewery?
Brian designed a system, the manufacturer’s price was right, and we took the plunge. The day we went out to pick up the equipment was huge! We were hauling a trailer of all this brewery equipment down the freeway, with people honking at us and waving.
That was when we started to feel really official!
Next step: Brian had to figure out how to hook up all the equipment. He started searching for parts on eBay, and even got a huge heat exchanger (since the Blichmann he had for his original homebrewing equipment was too inefficient for this 80-gallon system).
We set up in the garage. As we fine-tuned the business plan for our brewery, Brian got very familiar with his new system. And eventually, the business plan took a turn and we realized we were going to go big—very big!—with our brewery.
Back to the drawing board: Brian designed a new system (the one you see in the tasting room today), incorporating many of the parts we’d already gathered. And the rest is history!
Now that history has come full circle. Our smaller system is part of the big picture, allowing us to brew small batches of experimental beers (and—just as important, though slightly less exciting—to propagate yeast for our brews). Stonewall Jackson 5 was brewed on this system.
Before we set up the Pico system last month, it had been two years since Brian had brewed on it! It might be going overboard to say it felt like a homecoming… but we will admit that it’s awesome to have the flexibility to make sure our beer is the absolute best it can be, going out the door.
So next time you’re in the tasting room, admiring all the shiny equipment, make sure you spare a glance for our Pico. After all, it’s where Valiant got its start.
Part 13 in our ongoing series of posts introducing you to the Valiant family of beers. Today’s installment: Tilt Shift.
As the name indicates, Tilt Shift is a departure for Valiant—and something new for craft beer fans, too. This Belgian IPA was a real challenge to brew, balancing Belgian characteristics with the hops (not just in the flavor, but in the aroma).
Brian studied up on hops and different IPA styles before cooking up this recipe. A Belgian golden strong yeast provides a lot of esters, giving Tilt Shift a fun aroma combining citrus and tropical fruits… and bubble gum.
The clean malty flavor expresses hop flavors of sweet spices and pineapple, with a refreshing bitterness (from Cascade, Zythos, and Opal hops) to balance everything out.
Small beer batches like Tilt Shift give us a chance to do some yeast propagation, too. So in the near future, watch for news about Valiant brewing a a Belgian golden strong . (Now that’s multi-tasking—brewing a cool, fun beer with a side of functionality!)
Easy-drinking at 7.1% ABV and 66 IBU, Tilt Shift is on tap until our four kegs run out. (At least, unless demand pushes us to keep it on year-round!)
Part 12 in our ongoing series of posts introducing you to the Valiant family of beers. Today’s installment: Stentorian.
It’s a craft beer for the Coors crowd. As Brian says, we wanted to give Bud Light guys a chance to taste what it’s like on the craft beer side, where flavor and decent ABVs (6.5%, in this case) happily coexist.
Light in color, with the clean, malty backbone of lager yeast, Crescendo gets its flavor from three different hops. A thirst-quencher on a hot day, it’s light enough to pair successfully with chicken, salads, even a juicy cheeseburger. Or give it a try alongside a citrus tart or even an oatmeal raisin cookie with vanilla ice cream. (We know, we know—we give amazing food pairing suggestions!)
While Crescendo is going to be a mainstay of the Valiant beer list, it’s also the base of an exciting short-run beer that Brian brewed up. He took seven barrels of it and made an India Pale Lager out of this blonde lager—the same wort, but a different hop schedule from Crescendo. (In all modesty, we have to say it’s incredibly awesome.) He added seven types of hops, and came up with a 6.66% ABV beer with 62 IBU. It’s not on tap yet… but don’t worry: we’ll let you know as soon as it’s available in the tasting room!
Behold: a Jericho BOTTLE LABEL.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: does this mean that Valiant is bottling beer??
Short answer: Not yet–but soon! We have to run the label by the TTB and the ABC and then we get to play with our beautiful BOTTLING MACHINE. (Seriously, take a look at these pix and tell us it’s not beautiful! We double-dog dare ya!)
And don’t worry–you’ll be the first to know when Valiant bottled beer is available!
Part 11 in our ongoing series of posts introducing you to the Valiant family of beers. Today’s installment: Stentorian.
It’s the beer you’ve all been waiting for: STENTORIAN, Valiant’s English barleywine!
Considered the strongest ale offered by breweries, our English barleywine is all about sophistication.
Deep copper and bronze, Stentorian is hazy enough that you can’t see through it. The aroma offers immediate hints of dried fruit, like plum, date, and rich raisin. The overtone of caramel sweetness combines with a deep malty aroma, while a slight presence of oak helps balance out the complex floral notes from the late-addition Goldings hops.
This full-bodied beer is fairly high on alcohol (13% ABV), but your first impression will be the intense caramel and toffee flavors that result from the multi-layered complexity of our selection of malts (and long kettle caramelizing). Moderately sweet, Stentorian’s hop bitterness is perfectly balanced; the flavor is quite fruity. (Oak-aged versions yield even more depth of character with a slight hint of vanilla obtained during the aging process.)
Mark your calendars: STENTORIAN Release Party August 31 in the tasting room!
In fact, Stentorian’s intense character can make it challenging to pair with main dishes. It’s the ideal partner for desserts (try it with hazlenut torte or caramel cheesecake) or strong cheeses, like Stilton.
Though we pour Stentorian when it’s ready to drink, it can get even better with age. Given the right storage conditions (upright, in a dry dark area no warmer than 50°F), it’s possible that you could age Stentorian for more than 10 years—and at that point, it will have picked up sherry-like qualities. The biggest challenge will be waiting that long to enjoy drinking it!