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Last week, I noted the trend of local breweries developing anniversary ales for popular craft beer bars. In doing so, I cited the pair of beers Alpine Beer Co. and Societe Brewing Company brewed to celebrate O’Brien’s Pub’s nineteenth anniversary. The first of those, Societe 10/19 O’Brien’s Anniversary IPA, was served last night.

I headed out to get a taste and found it to be easy-drinking and an eye-opening display of the base flavors of Chinook hops. A homebrewer friend of mine who accompanied me remarked at how much brewers Travis Smith and Doug Constantiner were able to extract from that understated hop, which makes up 100% of the bill for the beer and comes through tasting like lemon peel mixed with early-season grapefruit.

No sooner had I returned to the homestead, than did I find myself staring down the specifics on yet another anniversary ale, this one a barleywine celebrating the fifth year in business for Phileas Foggs (11385 Poway Road, #100, Poway). The owner of the Sabre Springs suds standout approached Karl Strauss Brewing Company with the request that they produce a beer they could both release at their anniversary celebration and store in a pair of barrels they had in their storeroom. Brewmaster Paul Segura decided a British-style barleywine best fit that bill.


The beer registers at 12.5% alcohol-by-volume and 60 IBUs (international bittering units), which is higher than most barleywines and brought on by Bravo and Willamette hops. Brown sugar and blackstrap molasses were incorporated to help level out the hoppiness. Right now, it should taste good, albeit mighty powerful, but should express expanded flavors after soaking up the wine from those barrels—one chardonnay, one cabernet sauvignon.

The anniversary beer will debut February 8 at Phileas Foggs. It will also be made available at Karl Strauss’ Carlsbad location (where it was brewed) as well as the copmany's new 4S Commons Town Center brewery restaurant. A small seven-barrel batch was brewed, so supplies are limited. The barrel-aged versions should debut during San Diego Beer Week and, next year, when Phileas Foggs turns six. Word around the bar is that they may sour the chardonnay barrel with a mixture of brettanomyces and lactobacillus.

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