Poway’s Lightning Brewery is mostly known for its lagers and other true-to-form Germanic offerings such as Elemental Pilsner, Thunderweizen, and Ionizer Lager. Even brewmaster Jim Crute’s Black Lightning Porter is a Baltic variety of this stout style — the only one brewed with lager yeast. But there’s more to Lightning than beers from das Mutterland. Take for instance, Lightning Electrostatic Ale, an imperial New World take on a French biere de garde that bursts with phenolic floral and citrus appeal that’s worlds away from the typical flavors of Eastern European lagers.
First brewed in 2008, this beer has remained a favorite black sheep among fans of this science-based brewing company. At 11.5% alcohol-by-volume, its brawniness is certainly viewed as an attribute, but without good flavor, one might as well opt for hard liquor if inebriation’s the goal. With a big bouquet of fruity aromas and a slightly spicy, orangey character on the palate, scent and taste are the keys to the amour felt by its fans.
Though best consumed in moderation on hot days, the beer’s taste profile pairs well with summer sunshine. Electrostatic Ale also marries with a variety of edibles, including grilled salmon, Thai-style papaya salad, and Chinese sweet-and-sour dishes, as well as citrus and tropical fruit desserts. Even greater depth of flavor comes from a special chardonnay barrel-aged version of the beer that’s currently on-tap at Lightning’s tasting room. It's perfect for sipping as one contemplates added complexity from vino-soaked oak.