Though Societe Brewing Company (8262 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Kearny Mesa) is a young business (its two-day, four-session first anniversary celebration takes place this weekend), owners and brewers Douglas Constantiner and Travis Smith possess a deep-seated respect for the craft beer industry that goes well beyond their years. They respect those who do things the right way and abhor those who behave unethically or in any way that tarnishes craft beer’s reputation or the good names of those who produce it. For the most part, they keep their personal beefs within the industry, but when it comes to giving props to those they appreciate, it’s a public affair.
Case in point was a single-hop beer called 10/19 O’Brien’s Anniversary Ale, which was brewed specifically to honor Tom and Lindsey Nickel the owners of Kearny Mesa beer bastion, O’Brien’s Pub. Constantiner and Smith often say that they selected their Kearny Mesa brewery site based on its closeness to O’Brien’s. That’s an obvious joke, but what isn’t is their high opinion of that watering hole. 10/19 O’Brien’s Anniversary Ale was released exclusively at its namesake pub and was such a hit that it inspired Constantiner and Smith to head back in the brewhouse to create a second tribute beer, Societe The Publican.
Unlike its predecessor, The Publican is made using a blend of American hops—Cascade, Chinook, Simcoe—to create a multi-layered bouquet of pine and citrus. Described simply as a “hoppy ale,” it is of the new breed of low-alcohol, big flavor West Coast-style beers becoming extremely en vogue in San Diego. Despite coming in at a relatively tame 5.5% alcohol-by-volume, it exhibits complex layers of flavor that will appeal to fans of high-IBU IPAs—the Pliny sect, if you will (fun fact, Smith apprenticed under brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo at Russian River Brewing Company, the makers of Plinys both Elder and Younger).
The tap handle for The Publican is a metal silhouette of Tom Nickel, but unlike 10/19, this beer is being distributed to multiple accounts. I found it this week at Churchill’s Pub & Grille and was told they have secured several kegs. So, whether you get it from the publican it was brewed for or any other quality beer bar owner, this ale ode to a job well done is out there for and ripe for the drinking.
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