First Year of Beer: Valiant Turns One

It’s hard to believe it’s been one year since we, at Valiant Brewing Company, first opened our doors to the public. When Brian (head brewer and owner) first started brewing delicious craft beer, he did it as a hobby from a Mr. Beer kit at home. His first priority, at the time, was drag racing and working on hot rods. Well, that’s since changed. In 2007 we started to make the transition from hobby home brewers to commercial brewers. Brian completed the Master Brewers program from the American Brewers Guild in 2010 and on February 9th of last year we officially opened for business as Valiant Brewing Company in Orange, California. Hot rods are now on the back burner and craft beer has become our passion and our priority. It’s been a journey unlike any other and we are so glad we chose to take this ride.

Brian commented on our evolution from home brewers to a commercial brewing operation saying, “It’s been a long road,” but he added, “It’s very rewarding.”

As a brand new brewery, we were so pleased to be named Orange County’s Best Local Brewery in the 2013 Orange County Hotlist. We were also happy to see the list of friends and fans of Valiant Brewing Company continue to grow over the last year. We’re adding “regulars” to the Valiant tasting room everyday.

“Word keeps spreading,” Brian noted. “That’s the direction we need to continue to go.”

As demand for the unique craft beer of Valiant increases, our team is also expanding. While our staff grows, we continue to work to make Valiant Brewing Company a fun place to work, and a brand that each employee believes in and supports as much as we do.

“The biggest thing is making sure the employees are happy,” Brian said. “If they are happy, then we’re a better team and we do better.”

After all the learning and growing we’ve done in the last year, we’re ready kick our feet up and celebrate! We want to celebrate the new craft beer recipes we’ve developed at Valiant Brewing Company, we want to celebrate our amazing and helpful staff, we want to celebrate the fulfilment of our dream to brew great craft beer and most importantly we want to celebrate you – each and every one of you who has supported us and believed in us over the last twelve months. To do that we’re planning a shindig of epic proportions.

“I’m really excited,” Brian bursted.”We have a lot planned.”

Our Valiant Brewing Company One Year Anniversary party is set for Saturday, March 1st from 12 noon until 11:00 p.m. that night. We’ve got so many fun things planned, including a tribute to Brian’s hot rod days with more than 50 hot rods showing up for our very own Valiant Brewing Company car show in the Valiant parking lot. We’re partnering with several local car clubs to make this happen and we couldn’t be more excited. Of course, we could never have too many hot rods in front of the brewery. If you’ve got one to show off, bring it by and add it to our show. We’re expecting cars will be coming in and out all day.

We’ve also got a great photo slideshow planned that visually depicts Brian’s evolution from a home brewer to the head brewer of Valiant Brewing Company. The slideshow will play in the tasting room throughout the event. Catering the event is none other than world-renowned Chef Cody Storts of Hopscotch Tavern in Fullerton. We’re really fortunate that Chef Cody has graciously agreed to supply our anniversary guests with some of the finest food Orange County has to offer.

Most importantly, though, we couldn’t throw a craft beer party without some awesome craft beer. Brian has been brewing non-stop and is going all out for our anniversary festivities! We will have 26 beers on tap during the event. That’s right – 26. These recipes will include several barrel-aged versions of some of your favorites. We’ll have a barrel-aged First Flight on tap. This American Strong Ale has an alcohol content of nearly 14% (it’s a big one) and has a slight herbal aroma that we combined with light coconut, vanilla and mild caramel highlights. Among the list of other barrel-aged goodies you’ll find on tap will be a barrel-aged version of our Axiom Trappist Ale. This 10.5% ABV Ale has a Graham cracker aroma with malty highlights and notes of cherry, raisin and spice! We’ll also have all our regular beers on tap for those who’ve already chosen their favorites, as well as some beers that have disappeared from our list – those beers will be making a comeback for our special event. Brian is also working on some special new recipes he’ll unveil on March 1st. You won’t want to miss out on these rare and exciting concoctions. For those who can’t decide, we’ll have different packages and flights available so you can taste them all!

We just want to thank everyone who has supported us over the last year and who have helped us become Valiant Brewing Company. Without your support we wouldn’t be where we are today. We hope you’ll stop in on March 1st between noon and 11:00 p.m. and celebrate with us at Valiant Brewing Company. We’d love to see you!

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!

Hot Times at the BrewGrass Festival

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!

 

Fields Ablaze Takes Silver

Last week we got the news: our Fields Ablaze Saison won Silver in the Los Angeles Commercial Beer Competition!

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!).

The Valiant Lineup: Pathos

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!

Valiant’s Brew Crew: Jack Thomas

You’ve probably seen Jack Thomas hustling around the brewery, pouring Jack Thomas Profile Picturebehind the bar, or working one of the kajillion festivals we’ve attended recently. In addition to being Kelly’s brother, he’s Valiant’s (and Brian’s) assistant brewing technician. He’s our sales rep. And he may just be our number one fan. But he is so much more than that! Check him out.

Previous job?

Harvest Intern at Owen Roe, a winery in St Paul, Ore.

“I worked on the sorting line for the grapes. Punch-down crew. I took wine samples almost every morning to determine sugar levels and if any byproducts like EA or oxidation were occurring. I pitched yeast into new fermenters, and basically helped to take care of all fermenting red wines.”

Beer or wine?

“I like brewing better than I like wine-making, but both sciences are very wonderful and I loved every minute up at the winery.”

Favorite part of brewing?

“The ability to make a product however you want. You can make the beer to whatever specification you like, super hoppy, really strong, very delicate, or extremely strange. You can make something very different or very traditional. If you do a good job, people will love your beer. This is one of the few arenas where you can let your mind and artistry shine through in your creation. It’s very personal.

“The other great thing about beer is that there is a quick turnaround and this allows you to quickly find out what the people love or dislike. Very few industries can get such quick feedback.”

Most interesting part of working at Valiant?

“The most interesting is whatever I am doing that day, but I always have a great time picking names and writing stories for the beers we make.”

How important is taste-testing?

“Taste testing is VERY important. If you don’t know what sort of flavors or aromas your beer has, you won’t know if something goes wrong or if you have made a mistake. Also beer tastes great, and why not taste-test what is good? You are allowing your taste buds some exercise.”

Valiant’s secret weapon?

“All of our beers have three layers that work together. I find that most beers lack in balance and instead focus on gimmicks or one outstanding feature. Our beers have a fantastic aroma, a strong flavor, and a delightful finish. All three of these levels lead you from one to the other, none trying to outperform the other.”

Besides brewing…

“I play soccer, take pictures, read lots of science fiction, fantasy, and classics.  I love camping and long walks on the beach.”

Famous last words?

“Try as many beers as you can, support the locals, and puns are a valid form of humor.”

The Valiant Lineup: Axiom

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.

The Valiant Lineup: Mighty Maximus

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.

The Valiant Lineup: Fields Ablaze

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?).

Valiant Times Five

We thought we were busy when we were doing the buildout on the brewery. We thought we were busy gearing up for our Grand Opening. After we opened to the public, we thought we were busy juggling brewing, customer service, and sales calls to local restaurants and bars.

We just about drained 22 gallons of beer at Taste of Orange, an event that offered incredible food, wine, and--of course!--beer.

We just about drained 22 gallons of beer at Taste of Orange, an event that offered incredible food, wine, and–of course!–beer.

Okay, it’s true: we were busy during all those phases. But this weekend took our schedule to a new level of craziness. In addition to running the tasting room, we had two beer festivals and a kickoff party on Saturday—and then on our day of rest we headed out to the Taste of Orange in Valiant’s hometown.
With a schedule like that, we had to turn to our cadre of beer ambassadors to help us out. Thanks to Brian’s friends from his days in aerospace, as well as trusty Valiant staffer Alison, we managed to pour Veranda Biere de Garde and 31 Kings IPA at the TAPS First Annual Craft Beer Festival; Veranda, 31 Kings, Fields Ablaze Saison, and our new

Our Kickoff Party Saturday afternoon was—ahem—a total kick. So excited to have Valiant beers on tap in this gorgeous Corona del Mar location! (Check Find Our Beer for details.)

Our Kickoff Party Saturday afternoon was—ahem—a total kick. So excited to have Valiant beers on tap in this gorgeous Corona del Mar location! (Check Find Our Beer for details.)

Axiom Trappist ale at the Pasadena Beerfest; Fields Ablaze and 31 Kings at the Taste of Orange;  and six Valiant beers at the Kickoff Party. (Those six are still on tap, too—check out Find Our Beer for details.)

It’s so cool to see our Valiant team growing, and it’s indescribable when our pals report to us after an event how enthusiastic people were about Valiant beers, and how many plan to swing by the tasting room to enjoy an even bigger selection of brews.
But this weekend had another level of awesome going for it. Three of the four events we participated in were put together to benefit other organizations.

 Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 12:04 PM 12:04 PM Message starred FROM Elisabeth Deffner TO You captions Hide Details From         Elisabeth Deffner To         edeffner@yahoo.com We just about drained 22 gallons of beer at Taste of Orange, an event that offered incredible food, wine, and--of course!--beer.   It was no surprise to see what an ultra-classy event TAPS put on. Each brewery had assigned volunteers to pour their beer, allowing brewery representatives to really interact with attendees.   The First Annual Pasadena Beerfest was totally laid back—a super way to while away a Saturday afternoon (for guests and for brewery ambassadors as well!).   Our Kickoff Party Saturday afternoon was—ahem—a total kick. So excited to have Valiant beers on tap in this gorgeous Corona del Mar location! (Check Find Our Beer for details.)

It was no surprise to see what an ultra-classy event TAPS put on. Each brewery had assigned volunteers to pour their beer, allowing brewery representatives to really interact with attendees.

The First Annual Pasadena Beerfest was organized by the After Hours Rotary Club. About 150 people attended the event at T.Boyle’s Tavern to raise money for the Rotarians to open an eye clinic in India. The TAPS Berfest drew a few hundred people to enjoy great beer, awesome TAPS food, and raise money for the Brea Boys & Girls Club. And Taste of Orange is a food-, beer-, and wine-tasting event hosted by the Assistance League of Orange’s Orange Blossoms Auxiliary to raise money for the auxiliary’s various philanthropic outreaches in the Orange area.
As if that’s not enough, our beer ambassadors had such a good time that they actually thanked us for putting them to work!

The First Annual Pasadena Beerfest was totally laid back—a super way to while away a Saturday afternoon (for guests and for brewery ambassadors as well!).

The First Annual Pasadena Beerfest was totally laid back—a super way to while away a Saturday afternoon (for guests and for brewery ambassadors as well!).

“Beerfests are always fun,” Brian’s friend Ingmar told us, “but moreso now for me since I can help out a buddy, talk with lots of people about Valiant, enjoy the vibe…. It really is an easy way to spend an afternoon!”

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