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!
On July 20, our man Jack took our barrel-aged OCTAVE Belgian pale ale and our FIELDS ABLAZE Saison out to Corona to pour at TAPS Craft Beer Festival. We knew it would be a good time because, back in April, we poured our VERANDA Biere de Garde and 31 KINGS IPA at the first annual TAPS Craft Beer Festival in Brea.
And we were we right: this was a blast.
About 500 people flooded the Corona TAPS to sample beers from about three dozen SoCal craft breweries. The crowd was friendly, and Jack had a great time connecting with brewers from and owners of Valiant’s neighboring breweries. (A few of them were newer breweries, so it was exciting to talk about what they’re bringing to the local craft beer scene.) Lots of them were from outside OC, of course, but Noble, Tustin Brewing Co., and Old Orange were pouring at the beer festival, too.
Out in the Inland Empire, the name Valiant is not too familiar to too many people–so we were excited to get the word out! (After all, it’s not THAT long a craft beer commute to Orange!) Plus Jack blew a few minds with our OCTAVE. A lot of the guests had never encountered a low-alcohol barrel-aged beer before, so when they tasted OCTAVE… and then learned that it’s only 6.7% ABV… they were absolutely amazed.
Another highlight–for Jack, as well as for the guests–was the delicious (and free) food TAPS served. (Jack’s fave: the deep-fried cheese sticks. “I would fight anyone to the death for another one,” he says. You’ve been warned.)
Put it all together, and this was one awesome event. In fact, Jack ranks it in the Top 3 Most Fun Beerfests we’ve attended so far. (Guess we know who we’re sending to pour next year!)
Valiant helped represent OC craft beer June 29 at the Packinghouse Brewing Co. BrewGrass Festival in Riverside. Our man Jack and Mike Swinnerton sweated it out (it was 107 degrees out in the Inland Empire), pouring Fields Ablaze, 31 Kings, Jericho, and Mounds of Grounds to a very thirsty, very big crowd.
We were excited to participate in this event to support our colleagues at Packinghouse (and the California Riverside Ballet, which benefited from the festival)–and to help spread the word about Valiant among our neighbors to the east. We met a lot of craft beer fans from Orange County as well as from the Inland Empire, and also got to connect with some breweries out in the IE.
Hot weather, hotter music, and ice-cold beer. It was definitely an event to remember!
What made this honor even more exciting was discovering who our fellow French- and Belgian-Style Saison award-winners are: San Diego’s Green Flash (for their Saison Diego) and Goose Island in Chicago (for Sofie). Receiving an award alongside these established and respected breweries is so exciting for us—and it’s a real affirmation of everything Valiant has been striving to do.
Deciding what to submit to a competition can be tough—especially when we’re so proud of all of our beers! But we can’t just enter our whole list, so a lot of thought goes into our submissions for competitions. We have to admit, though, deciding on Fields Ablaze was darn easy. Our fans have made it very clear that it’s top of the charts!
Entering competitions is especially fun for Brian: as a certified beer judge, it’s a kick for him to enter beers into a competition for other judges to taste and talk about!
After completing the Beer Judge Certification Program, Brian began judging beer competitions—so he knows exactly what the judges are up against. So many great beers, so many interesting styles and recipes! (It’s a tough job… but someone’s gotta do it!)
But back to Fields Ablaze: it’s a seasonal beer, so come to the tasting room to get it while you can. At an easy-drinking 7.2% ABV, it offers a refreshing tartness thanks to the lemongrass-seckel pear tea that infuses it. Even if we do say so ourselves, it’s the perfect summer beer (and let’s not forget—it’s an award-winner, too!).
Part 9 in our ongoing series of posts introducing you to the Valiant family of beers. Today’s installment: Pathos.
When we set out to make a chocolate porter, we kept a few things in mind.
First, there are a number of great chocolate porters already out there. We’re not competing with them—we’re doing something different.
Next: there’s a fine line between a porter and a stout—and we wanted to push that line. Hard. But without crossing it.
On top of that, we wanted to emphasize the chocolate in our chocolate porter… but without adding any chocolate to it.
The result? Pathos, our 9.2%ABV Imperial Chocolate Porter.
Pathos may remind you of a Baltic porter (a lager). The rich complexity of the malt bill means you won’t pick up any acidic kick from dark grains. In fact, Pathos uses more than double the typical amount of chocolate malts to infuse a deep chocolaty flavor (other chocolate porters may include actual chocolate in the recipe). That’s the Valiant way: brewing barley, yeast, and hops in order to pull all the wonderful flavors and aromas out of them—before adding other ingredients.
Classic noble bittering hops were added later in the boil to add aroma (but not bitterness; Pathos comes in at a smooth 38 IBU).
We’re excited to add Pathos to the Valiant lineup—and not only because it’s a great beer on its own. It’s also a great constitution for other new beers. Brian will be bringing some of his Cornelius keg collection to the brewery to finish 5-gallon batches of Pathos with some exciting flavors—like caramel, vanilla, coffee, chai, orange, hazelnut, and chipotle (maybe even curry!). One bourbon barrel is already filled with Pathos. Stay tuned for release dates!
In celebration of craft beer week, we are hosting a Beer and Cheese Tasting in addition to our Strong Ale Release Party! Friday May17th 6pm at the Tasting room.
Friday May 17th
6pm at the Tasting room.
Includes a flight of samples including a pre-taste of our Strong Ale. Finger Foods and one pour of your choice.
Tickets Available Online and At the Door
Celebrate American Craft Beer Week!
Part 8 in our ongoing series of posts introducing you to the Valiant family of beers. Today’s installment: Axiom.
Malty highlights hint at graham cracker sweetness, spiced with dark sweet cherry and raisin, all swirled within rich caramel. We admit it: just writing about Axiom, our new Trappist ale, makes our mouths water!
Our friends at St. Michael’s Norbertine Abbey in Silverado Canyon inspired us to brew this beer, and it was quite an undertaking. With seven different malts, Axiom hits the profile of many different grains—plus flaked oats (5% of the grain mix), which give the brew a silky texture.
Dextrose thinned out the body to perfect drinkability, plus gave it a push on the ABV (10.5%). We added golding hops for just 60 minutes to balance out that rich malty profile (Axiom has an IBU of 28). But the thing that ties it all together is the yeast, blending all those different ingredients into one exceptional beer. The flavors hit you first, leading you right into the warm, cozy sensation you can expect from a higher ABV beer, and concluding with a mildly dry, slightly sweet finish.
We’re pouring half our first batch of Axiom in the tasting room right now, while the other half is safe in our bourbon barrels. When we tap the aged Axiom in a few months, we expect it’ll be up around 12% ABV.
Part 7 in our ongoing series of posts introducing you to the Valiant family of beers. Today’s installment: Mighty Maximus.
Don’t let the name fool you: while Mighty Maximus has a robust mouthfeel and a flavor as big as its name leads you to expect, it also has a rich toffee and roasty malt character. At 3.6% ABV it’s definitely a sessionable beer, but true to Valiant’s roots, it makes a big beer impression. And though the beer style is called bitter, bitterness is not its strongest characteristic.
Like all Valiant beers, the key to Mighty Maximus’s drinkability is balance.
The grain bill is rather simple, with classic British pale ale and a unique selection of roasted malts combining to give Mighty Maximus a little more character than beers that rely on the classic 2-row malt. Noble hops are added at different points on the late side of the boil, imparting the flavor—but with only 56 IBUs, the bitterness level is at a level even the biggest malt fan can appreciate!
With a bready-roasty-toasty aroma and just a hint of chocolate, Mighty Maximus is a totally approachable, totally drinkable beer. Watch for MM on nitro to go on tap in the tasting room soon.
Part 6 in our ongoing series of posts introducing you to the Valiant family of beers. Today’s installment: Fields Ablaze.
Traditionally brewed during the cooler months in the French-speaking region of Belgium, Saisons were stored for drinking during the summer months. In SoCal you never know when summery weather will hit, so just to stay ahead of the curve, Valiant released Fields Ablaze (6.8% ABV), a refreshing summer Saison, in the super early spring.
This light beer is perfect for people who enjoy classic American lagers; yeast provides a classic spiciness, but there’s no malt complexity weighing down the resulting brew.
What it does have is a tangy kick from a lemongrass-speckled pear “tea” that was added in the brite tank. A series of tests quickly showed which was the ideal beer-tea ratio to create a light, clean-tasting beer. For this Saison, that’s where the balance lies: it’s beer, after all, not lemongrass beer!
Relying on classic noble hops, pilsner malt and wheat, Fields Ablaze will be a comfortable fit for many beer drinkers—but the surprise addition of opal hops adds a flowery aroma, and a unique fermentation process adds more complex characteristics to the classic Saison yeast.
A big hit in the Valiant tasting room, it’s also the top-selling Valiant keg… something to keep in mind as the round of warm-weather holidays approaches (Cinco de Mayo, anyone?).
Reduce, reuse, recycle—nowadays, that’s a concept just about everyone can agree on. And one of the major behind-the-scenes benefits of operating a brewery is the opportunity it gives us to do just that: reuse and recycle our materials in unique ways.
Since the start of this year, we’ve created 24 tons—that’s no typo, guys: tons—of spent grain. For every brewery, it’s a challenge to figure out what to do with all tonnage. After all, it’s not really waste: there are still plenty of natural uses for spent grain. We know some breweries that partner with local farmers who use the grain to fertilize their crops. Other brewers use spent grain as a base for products including candles, soap, and dog biscuits.
Right now, we’re transporting our spent grain back to the homestead in Silverado. It starts with Brian and Jack sliding a series of 55-gallon drums beneath the mash tun. With the push of a button, the grain pours out into each drum. Then the guys load the drums onto the forklift and fill the trailer.
That’s the easy part.
Once Brian gets home, he has to get the grain out of the drums and into our compost piles. He backs the trailer into the compost area, shoves over the drums—each can hold about 230 pounds of grain, but remember: wet grain weighs more than dry!—and builds up the mounds of compost. (The real danger is getting splashed with some of that wet grain. The odor is intense.)
With the tractor, Brian transports about 1000 pounds of the grain into our poultry pen. We have 5 turkeys, 18 ducks, 17 chickens (including one rooster), and a mere three geese. All that grain feeds all those birds for about four days.
The rest of the grain stays in the compost pile, slowly decomposing to a state where we can use it to fertilize our vegetable beds, fruit trees, and rose bushes. We’ve always been fans of compost—so cool to put kitchen scraps and garden waste to good use!—but it took us three years to actually get our first compost pile going. (Those of you who also compost know how long it can take for all those eggshells, vegetable peelings, and grass clippings to decompose into nutrient-rich compost!)
Now that the compost pile is up and running, so to speak, decomposition happens much more quickly. When Brian first began depositing Valiant’s spent grains, he created a 20-foot swath of 4-foot-tall piles. All that grain has now decomposed into a single pile.
We’ll always take advantage of Valiant’s spent grains for our little farm—but as we continue brewing, and the number of spent-grain-tons climbs, we also hope to build relationships with local farmers. Reduce, reuse, recycle—and reach out to others. It’s the
composter’s brewer’s way.