From the Beer Writer: Anybody making beer in the paradisiacal locale that is America’s Finest City could argue they are living the dream, but Jim Millea really is. He is a proud Obecian brewing beer one block from the Pacific in a three-story brewpub with an open-air rooftop on Newport Avenue that’s well patronized. As head brewer at OB Brewery, he can make whatever he wants and, though he could just brew IPAs, trendy styles, and entry-level stuff that would likely kill with his clientele, he bucks such convention and celebrates the world’s various styles based on his own preferences. His current tap list features a dunkelweizen, robust porter, and oatmeal stout. These are not your standard-issue beach beers, but they are delectable. And Millea’s answer to OB’s prevalent macro witbier Shock Top isn’t even a house wit. It’s a saison… and a damn good one at that. Rooftop Saison has a pronounced citrus character evocative of Valencia oranges, with accentuating floral notes but none of the sweeter, bubble-gum-like flavors that sometimes accompany this Belgian ale style. That fruitiness, coupled with a lifting effervescence, make for a beer that is right at home under the OB sun, especially on the rooftop deck it’s named after.
From the Brewer: “One of the things I love about my job is that I get to brew beers that I like and want to make. I definitely enjoy the staple San Diego-friendly beers such as IPAs and pale ales, but also value the opportunity to expand that to a wider range of styles with various flavors, aromas, and colors for people to enjoy, including myself. One such opportunity arose a few years ago when my good friends and mentors over at the former Benchmark Brewing had a saison brewing, and they asked me if I wanted to harvest some of the yeast to make my own… yes! Back in OB, we built our recipe using a pilsner-malt base with some Vienna malt and rolled oats to add some body, as well as a bit of acidulated malt to bring out some citrus notes and maybe a slight tartness. For fermentation, I had heard of using temperatures as high as 80 or even 90 degrees, and letting it ride. Apparently, this particular yeast liked a cooler and more standard ale fermentation schedule starting in the sixties, so I went with that. The beer came out very dry, light-bodied, and refreshing with a nice balance of fruity esters, peppery spice, and that unique Belgian character that is difficult for me to describe other than calling it just that. It’s great whenever we can say ‘the saison is on!'”—Jim Millea, Head Brewer, OB Brewery