From the Beer Writer: The gamers behind Vista’s BattleMage Brewing exist in a fantasy land of their own making. They’ve been known to craft out-there brews that dare to go beyond classic style guidelines, but a standout on their current beer board is firmly rooted in tradition. That purely German number is Molten Core, BattleMage’s 6.1% alcohol-by-volume rendition on a Düsseldorf-style altbier, an amber ale fermented at a temperature coming in lower than standard ale fermentation temps and above lager temps. There’s a lot going on in this beer; German malts, Tettnanger hops and Kölsch yeast combine to offer notes of citrus pith, herbal tea, dark fruit, spicy peppercorn and toasted pumpernickel. Even with all that, it drinks smooth and finishes extra crisp. It’s a lovely take on a style seldom seen in San Diego County. In that respect, it fits into BattleMage’s unapologetic otherworldliness, but make no mistake, this is a down to (Middle) Earth and delicious take on the pride of Düsseldorf…and, more recently, the City of Vista.
From the Brewer: “I originally brewed a Dusseldorf altbier because I was a fan of the balance of malt character and hops in some American amber ales, mainly the one my business partner Ryan Sather brewed. I always enjoyed the toasted-malt character with minimal sweetness. Realizing there was a traditional German style that had similar balance, I had to try to brew it. It was also intriguing to me because I hadn’t really seen that style anywhere. The use of all traditional German ingredients is what makes this beer taste like it should—German malts, German hops, German yeast. After the first batch I was super happy with how it turned out. I entered the first batch into the America’s Finest City Homebrew Competition. It took gold and, funny enough, the judge wrote in the notes that he wanted me to send him the recipe. Ever since then it’s been a regular rotation in my homebrewing lineup.”—Chris Barry, Brewer & Owner, Battlemage Brewing