Ironfire Brewing Company- Temecula
Crossing the county line and dropping down into Temecula Valley to taste craft beer felt weird. Up till now I had always made this trek to taste wine. As soon as I walked into Ironfire Brewing, however, it didn’t feel strange at all.
According to the Temecula Valley Breweries website, there are eight craft breweries and three brew pubs in Temecula Valley. Starting with Ironfire, I’m now on a quest to visit them all. In a few months I will have burned through the list of all San Diego County craft breweries, so what’s a beer tripper to do? Answer: cross the county line!
Walking into Ironfire I was immediately greeted with a “Welcome!” and a smile by the bartender. She was knowledgable about all the beers, explained how some were made, and gave me tastes of beers that seemed interesting. Although the tasting room was crowded, every patron was happy and well-served by this multi-tasking bartender.
By the way, have you noticed the difference in attitude and service between friendly craft breweries and stuffy wineries? Craft breweries are about cultivating community. Wineries not so much. They are disparate and seem lonely to me now. And boring.
Ironfire recently won medals at the 2015 Los Angeles International Beer Competition for two of their beers. I’ll taste them next time. On this trip I wanted to taste one of their other flagships: 51/50 IPA (6.5% ABV/95 IBUs). I like it from the bottle, but I wanted to taste it fresh. My tasting notes:
Attractive copper color, clear with good head, then dense lace work on the glass. Floral, piney, fruity (grapefruit? papaya?) and sulfur-like aromas. Aggressive hop bitterness with grapefruit, pine, and resin-like flavors. Mildly astringent. Appetizingly long bitter finish; crisp and dry. Overall, a very nice American-style IPA, and worth the long drive (64 miles) to taste it. I would enjoy having another someday.