Green Flash Brewing Company’s beer-aging started off as a fun side project with a single barrel in 2006. Nearly a decade later, the Mira Mesa-based business has grown its oak program to the point where it now has a facility all its own. Dubbed Cellar 3 to match the barrel-aged line of beers that will spring forth from it, the Poway-based tasting room is manned by barrelmaster Pat Korn. A local brewing industry veteran who has been with Green Flash since 2010, Korn is ecstatic over the opportunity to go from working on wood-aged beers with little more than a mobile cart and whatever space he could manage at Green Flash’s production brewery, to having 12,000 square feet of space devoted to his artisanal bailiwick.
Korn and company opened the doors to Cellar 3 for a sneak preview event last night, offering visitors the opportunity to sample nearly 20 oak-tinged beers, many of which had never before seen the light of day. Among the rookie class was Blanc Tarte Barrique, a sour blond ale aged in red wine barrels, part of the Le Freak Barrique family of beers taking Green Flash’s Belgian-style IPA in interesting directions by incorporating extra character care of black currants, apricots and Brettanomyces. Also new is a slew of Brett beers including a white IPA aged in Chardonnay barrels called Protege Sauvage and a trippel aged in red wine barrels called Divine Sauvage.
Making triumphant returns from the company’s more storied barrel-aging annals are Flemish-style red ale Flanders Drive (a cherry-infused version of which is also offered) and bourbon barrel-aged black ale, Silva Stout. A dosing of beans from Rancho Bernardo-based roasters, Mostra Coffee, is also on tap, and was well received by pre-open attendees. Also back on a regular basis is last year’s annual breast cancer charity beer, Treasure Chest, a plum-infused saison aged in red wine barrels that now goes by the name Natura Morta with Plum, and has a trio of siblings infused with blueberries, strawberries and cranberries respectively.
Right now, Cellar 3’s offerings consist exclusively of existing Green Flash beers that have been aged in different types of barrels. Some are rested on fruit, others are inoculated with Brett, but all have familiar bases such as Double Stout, Le Freak or Linchpin White IPA. Part of Korn’s excitement about having a facility devoted to barrels and foudres is that he will be able to develop beers crafted specifically for siphoning into oak. It represents the next level within this beery medium and, given how well he has done utilizing beers produced for everyday enjoyment, it should be interesting to see what he’s able to accomplish when he’s calling all the shots.
Though bourbon and wine barrels were used to house Cellar 3’s initial offerings, Korn also has a variety of spirit barrels at his disposal including brandy and tequila. In all, Green Flash’s barrel stock comes in at well over 1,000, and that’s not counting four 50-barrel foudres. Much of that oaken inventory is visible from the 2,500-square-foot tasting room, which is low lit in order to show off a brilliant art deco starburst design behind the bar as well as a thoughtfully curated collection of local art, much of which is available for purchase. Adding visual appeal is a collection of multi-colored Cellar 3 bottles hanging from the south wall, which offer previews of some beers that will eventually be corked, caged and made available for off-site consumption.
Cellar 3 is located at 12260 Crosthwaite Circle and its hours of operation are 12 to 8 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. The tasting room will officially open to the public at 12 p.m. on Saturday, May 16 during a celebratory event that will include brewery tours and live music by Dead Feather Moon and The Midnight Pine. Food will also be available via the venue’s full-time, on-site food truck.