The temperatures are absolutely scorching. Pool parties, mercifully, are everywhere.
Yep. Summer has arrived with full force in the Coachella Valley.
If you’re thirsty, you may want to check out what’s happening at Coachella Valley Brewing Co. We decided to check in with CVB—one of the three fantastic breweries that call the valley home—and we learned they’re brewing up a storm in Thousand Palms, with 25 to 30 rotating beers on tap. That’s a lot of great local beer.
I spoke with Chris Anderson, head brewmaster and part owner of CVB. He told me that the latest release is the return of Dubbel Date—this time, made with medjool dates. These larger dates are sweet and regarded by many as the “best” variety of dates.
“We used to make that year-round,” Anderson said. “It’s always been kind of a popular beer here (at the CVB taproom), but for whatever reason, from a distribution standpoint, it never really took off for us. But it sells really well here, so we serve it maybe once or twice a year.
“This is probably the most excellent batch ever made. We used 100 percent medjools this time. That’s the only thing we really changed, other than beefing up the malt.”
The popular Harvester IPA is coming back and is perfect for the hot weather. It’s big on grapefruit with sharp flavors and some citrus notes, and is very balanced.
Mayahuel (pronounced ma-jewel), the Aztec goddess of agave, is making a comeback, of sorts: That is also the name of a gorgeous beer brewed with agave nectar, and then aged in barrels. It’s sweet, funky and full of flavor.
“It’s a Belgian tripel with Fairchild tangerines and Persian limes, and then we’ll use 100 percent organic blue Weber’s agave nectar, as well as Belgian candy sugar,” Anderson said. “So it’s a real special beer. Then we age it in bourbon barrels—typically. But this year, we took a different spin on it and aged it in mescal barrels from Mexico. So it’s a little bit earthier and a little more smoky. … We’re pretty happy with it.”
Anderson added that the Mayahuel spent 16 months in those mescal barrels.
As for perfect-for-summer sours, Anderson said CVB is offering its Biere de Tarte, as well as its sour wheat beer Berlinerweisse. Also: The brewery’s 4 percent alcohol by volume Boys of Summer boysenberry sour is coming out in the middle of July.
Anderson recently took a trip down to San Diego, the Mecca of craft beer in Southern California. He visited Societe and Council breweries for their anniversary parties.
“It’s a labor of love. They have a little three-barrel system, roughly one-seventh the size of ours, right?” he said of Council. “And then they’re doing so much production. They had three little satellite spaces, and they’re loading each batch of beer into this little transport vessel that you have to clean and sanitize, and backing it down through this little industrial park over six different speed bumps to get into their facility.”
Back in the Coachella Valley, Anderson said that summer is one the best times of year for CVB, despite the heat.
“We’re one of those breweries where summer is our chance to have fun and show off,” he said. “Expect to see the tap list pretty well full, just like it is right now, with 20 or 30 beers on tap. We’ll keep releasing bottles every month.”
I noted that the brewery is offering some pretty heavy beers, too.
“Yeah, big beers that nobody’s releasing in the summer time—like 20 percenters,” Anderson said, referring to the alcohol by volume. “This year, Black Widow will be close to 20 percent.”
Coachella Valley Brewing brewed approximately 2,500 barrels in 2015 and is on pace to brew 4,000 to 5,000 barrels this year. The beers are currently selling in California, Arizona and Nevada. When I asked him whether CVB could expand to more states, Anderson said he’d instead like to grow more awareness in his own backyard—the Coachella Valley and Southern California, that is.
Stay cool, and drink local!