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Château de Brézé has a long and storied history, first being mentioned in texts in 1068, lauded by King René of Anjou in the 15th century and served at all the royal courts. In 1957, when the AOC of Saumur Champigny was established, the owner of Château de Brézé refused to be part of the appellation, saying that his estate's vineyards were the best and deserved an appellation all their own. And he was probably right. Unfortunately, the wines from those exceptional vineyards were terrible. Lucky for us, the winery sold in 2009 to Le Comte de Colbert, who recruited Arnaud Lambert from nearby Domaine de Saint Just to make the wine. He changed the vineyards over to organic farming and began producing truly stellar wines worthy of their source. The 2012 Château de Brézé Clos David is all estate-grown Chenin Blanc raised in stainless steel to preserve freshness. It has the slightly-oxidized note of a great White Burgundy and a lovely richness that allows it to pair with a variety of foods.

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Thursday
Jul292010

Meet Tyler King of The Bruery

Patrick Rue loves beer. Belgian beer, to be specific. He started brewing it while he was in law school as a diversion. And it worked. These days everything else is a diversion from beer at Rue’s two-year-old, rapidly-growing brewery in Orange County, California, punnily named The Bruery. Tucked into a non-descript industrial park right off the 57 freeway, the Bruery team works around the clock crafting some of the most innovative beers on the domestic market, Belgian-style or otherwise, in a deft waltz between three 15-barrel, one 30-barrel and three 45-barrel gleaming stainless steel fermenters.

"There's nothing bland about our beer," head brewer Tyler King told Steve Greer and me on a recent visit to the Bruery (see our interview with Tyler above), and that is for certain. Where most West Coast breweries seem content to one-up each other in the "my beer is hoppier than yours" game, the boys at the Bruery are yeast fanatics. They have their own proprietary Belgian yeast strain (the Filthy Blonde we tasted was a yeast propogation batch) and play around a lot with brettanomyces and lactobaccilus. And they infuse their beers with David Chang-like creativity. Right now they’re working on a 100% brettanomyces black Thai beer infused with galangal root and keffir lime that has the savoriness of Tom Ka and the richness of a stout, while never falling out of balance.

We currently have four Bruery beers in stock (and are working on getting the Hottenroth, which Tyler mentions in the video). The "Tradewinds Tripel" (750ml $9.99) is a Belgian-style Golden Ale with another Southeast Asian spin, this time adding Thai basil and rice to the mash. The rice subs for Candi sugar, increasing the beer’s alcohol without weighing it down. Light on the palate, with plenty of spice, this beer loves spicy foods, but is also at home with Sunday’s roast chicken and panzanella.

The "Saison de Lente" (750ml $9.99) is just what you want during the heat of summer. Lighter in alcohol than the Tradewinds, there’s a hint of bretty sourness to the beer that really makes this beer stand out from the average six-pack. While a seasonal beer that’s delicious fresh, King suggests holding on to a bottle or two for a year, when the citrus tones from the hops recede a little bit and the awesome bretty funk comes to the fore.

The "Orchard White" Belgian Witbier (750ml $7.99) is notable for its distinctive lavender-kissed twist. But before you think that this is all floral and girly, spicy coriander and bitter orange kicky in. Fruity and yeasty and wonderfully complex on the palate. This is one of my favorites with food.

Finally, we have the "Rugbrød" Rye Ale (750ml $9.99). Made with three different kinds of rye, this dense beer derives its name from the Danish word for rye bread. Dense and bready, with just the right amount of roasted malt character, you'll love this beer even if you can't pronounce it. And while it's something that immediately makes me think winter, it'll also warm you up on a cool summer night, which seem to be the norm as of late.

Note: Beer cannot be shipped outside California.

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