From the Beer Writer: In the beer industry, it is so easy to follow trends. Many would argue it’s a necessity if a brewery wants to be successful or even remain in business. So when I come across an operation that sticks to its guns and brews what it wants even when that includes less-popular styles, I appreciate that passion and, when possible, reward that effort. That’s what this week’s featured beer is all about. Entering the tasting room at Bay Park’s Deft Brewing and perusing the beer board is an experience unlike any other in San Diego. Their beers are classic interpretations of English, Belgian and German styles. That’s right…no American beers. So no West Coast, Northeast, brut or fruited IPAs (although they have a nice English version for those who dare drink outside the box), but if you’re in the market for a Monastic Belgo ale, a British pub beer or weiss beer, they’ve got you covered. And if it’s a niche subclass of German altbier that’s not being produced at any of San Diego’s other 160-plus operating breweries, they have that in DoubleDeft Secret. This 8.8%, Sticke alt pours ruby-red and greets taste buds with flavors of dried fruit (plum, currant, raisin, fig) delivered via a smooth quaff far lighter in body than one would expect from a dark, high-gravity beer. This authentic brew is of one of the better altbiers in the county, making a case for more local interests to take on the style.
From the Brewer: “Sticke altbier is a special form of an altbier, with bigger character and higher alcohol-by-volume (ABV) than the traditional version. As the story goes, under strict regulation and taxation that limited the ABV of their beers, some clever (i.e., ‘deft’) brewers in Dusseldorf, Germany, would produce an amped-up version of their altbier and would stash away that secret brew (‘sticke’ means secret or stash in the local dialect) to share with their friends, family and at special occasions. A few breweries in Dusseldorf still brew this rare style seasonally and for festivals, but we’ve decided to provide a Sticke altbier to our guests year-around at our tasting room. We are particularly proud of this unique brew we call DoubleDeft Secret, as it is such a nice example of our overall point of view as a brewery—always striving to provide our guests with a menu of traditional European styles, yet ‘local-fresh,’ that are particularly smooth and flavorful, including a few beers that are unique and otherwise difficult to find. DoubleDeft Secret, which earned a silver medal at the LA International Beer Competition in the Historical Beer category, sports a ‘doppel sticke’-level, 8.8% ABV, 43 IBUs (international bittering units) and a complex, malty and slightly fruity character that is remarkably drinkable for a bigger beer. Much like our tasting room, this beer is fun, friendly, inviting and, unfortunately, too much of a secret. We hope that others around San Diego finally discover the secret and come visit our centrally-located brewery and tasting room in Bay Park to experience this one-of-a-kind brew.”—Morris Nupsl, Head Brewer & Co-founder, Deft Brewing