Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company Showcase
Buellton, California’s Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company opened in 2010, and it’s reach was extended this past Labor Day weekend, when they opened a brew pub 50 miles south down the coast in the Urban Wine Trail section of the South State area of downtown Santa Barbara. I had the pleasure of visiting Figueroa Mountain, Santa Barbara the week following their massively successful haul at the 2013 GABF. At this year’s festival the brewery took home gold medals for American Style Brown Ale (Davy Brown) and Oatmeal Stout (Stagecoach Stout), and silver medals for Kellerbier/Zwickelbier (Surfliner Helles), Dortmunder or German-Style Octoberfest (Oktoberfest) and Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout (Sterns Stout). I threw back a few tasters with my good friend, Mike, who lives up the road from the production brewery in Buellton (and who had been singing the praises of Fig Mountain) back on October 14th. I had a few pints at the pub in Santa Barbara last night (November 12th), as well.
My 2 flights of 4oz. tasters contained Surfliner Helles, Hoppy Poppy IPA, Davy Brown Ale, Stagecoach Oatmeal Stout, Wrangler Wheat, Figueroa Mountain Pale Ale, Danish Red Lager and Hurricane Deck Double IPA .
Silver Medal, GABF 2013, Kellerbier/Zwickelbier.
Slightly cloudy light yellow color. Unmistakable pilsner malt aroma. Very light and creamy mouthfeel with a crisp finish. Hay-like, sweet malty taste with delicate hop finish. Very perfect example of the style.
Bronze Medal, GABF 2012, American-Style Wheat Beer with Yeast.
4.5% ABV, 30 IBUs.
Very hazy light yellow-orange color. Almost no aroma. Dry mouthfeel and finish. Light Orange peel flavor. Very refreshing.
Figueroa Mountain Pale Ale:
4.6% ABV, 26 IBUs.
Light orange color. Very dry finish. Crisp and light mouthfeel. The cascade hop is featured very well in this beer, which is surprising for this session-style pale. This closely resembles what they call the XPA (extra pale ale) style in California; a session style pale that does a great job with showcasing hop profile.
Danish Red Lager: Bronze Medal, GABF 2012, Vienna-Style Lager
6% ABV. 20 IBUs.
Amber/almost copper color. Sweet malt aroma and even sweeter biscuit malt flavor. Very European tasting beer, as they note in the description. This was an extremely unique beer, and for someone who is an admitted hop-head, one of the finest malt-heavy beers I have ever head; not to say this is a “malty” beer per say. It has the perfect amount of sweet malt flavor without the heaviness. This was probably the beer that I was most excited to order upon my return to the pub in November.
Hoppy Poppy IPA:
6.5% ABV, 50 IBUs.
Seemingly, the most ordered beer at the bar. Classic IPA orange look. Crisp mouthfeel. Surprisingly sweet hop aroma. Very “clean” and citrusy hop flavor dominates. I expected some more spicy and “dirty” hop profile from the Centennials, but the Columbus, and primarily the Cascades rule this IPA. By this point in the flight, it is becoming very clear to me that the styles are a great mix of the Oregon and California variety .
Hurricane Deck Double IPA:
8% ABV, 82 IBUs.
Dark orange color. Reeks like hops. Soft, bourbon-esq mouthfeel and sticky finish. Centennial, Chinook, Cascade and Colmbus hops blend to produce the common peppery and piney Imperial IPA hop profile. Alcohol definitely present in the flavor. I rather enjoy the sweeter/citrusy Double IPAs, and this is not one of them, but the recipe balances the intense hops, malts and booze well and I think it is a solid Double IPA, though I would bill it as Imperial.
Davy Brown Ale: Gold Medal, GABF 2013, American Style Brown Ale
6% ABV, 29 IBUs.
Light brown color. Deep chocolate and mocha notes. Same difference in the taste. Wow! This is a Brown Ale?! It packs the wollup of an imperial porter. It has the perfect amount of hops to balance the malty profile. This is hands down the best brown ale that I have ever had. A Porter in Brown Ale clothing!
Stagecoach Oatmeal Stout: Gold Medal, GABF 2013, Oatmeal Stout
5.6% ABV, 33 IBUs.
I am a sucker for a good oatmeal stout and this one is deserving of the gold. Black viscous color. Espresso and chocolate notes with a hint of alcohol. Prefect creamy mouthfeel that lingers on the back of the tongue. Perfect amount of bitterness in a sea of oat-heavy milk-chocolate and roasted espresso flavor. An amazing 5.6% ABV for a beer that delivers this much flavor. Well-done!
Overall, Fig Mountain won me over in a big way with their ability to create extremely well balanced brews. The quality of their beers can be seen by the fact that they don’t have to hide any impurities behind hop bombs or high ABV and malt brews. A friend of mine who is a brewer in Portland who was raised in the Midwest and I have talked at length about how those types of breweries are more rare on the Left Coast than one would presume. I can’t wait to tell him all about Figueroa Mountain; my new So-Cal staple.