This past Saturday was the 4th Anniversary celebration at Hangar 24 Craft Brewery in Redlands, California. It had been three years since I had been to the brewery, so I just in the car with a couple of my roommates and we headed east.
We arrived in Redlands shortly after the official start time (noon) and found a spot about a 1/2 mile from the brewery. I grabbed my growler and started the trek. As luck would have it we made it to a shuffle stop just as the bus pulled up, so we jumped on and made it to the gate a heck of a lot quicker.
Several short minutes later and we were under the tent and in search of a table. While my friends found a table I found a way to buy some drink tickets. With four tickets in my hand and a commemorative glass I walked over to the Special Releases booth.
For my first beer I decided to go with a hoppy brew. I saw the name ESSENCE and I figured that that was an ambiguous enough name and I should give it a shot.
Mid way through my beer I realized that I was getting pretty damn hungry. Luckily (or maybe unluckily) for me there was a booth selling deep dish pizza about 30 feet from my table. I sauntered over there a grabbed a slice that my rumbling tummy ended up thanking me for.
With my hunger satiated I went into the brewery and had a look around. While there I grabbed a glass of their COLUMBUS IPA. This is one of their year round beers and I can see why they might want to rebrew this.
After taking a quick tour of the brewery and their brewing process, I decided to pick to grab another beer. The Special Release beers were being released on a staggered schedule, so I headed over to the booth to see what was new. The new beer was one of their seasonal beers and it sounded pretty intriguing. VINACEOUS is an ale made with fresh Mourvedre grapes. This was a really good beer and raised my hopes for the rest of the day.
I took a break from reviewing to enjoy their 3rd Anniversary Ale. It was a decent enough tart Belgian Ale and it held me over as I waited for the clock to strike 3:20pm.
While I sipped my 3rd Anniversary I got in line for the release of their big barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. There were a couple guys standing near us who had had PUGACHEV’S COBRA before and were claiming it to be either the best Hangar 24 beer or the best beer ever, depending on who you asked. Needless this to say this really piqued my interest. After a few slow minutes I was finally the proud owner of a 6 ounce pour of Pugachev’s Cobra. All I can say is wow…Due yourself a favor and first read my review and then get your hands on a taste as soon as possible.
I had no idea how big this beer was before I ordered it, so I figured that some more food was in order. So back I went to the pizza stand. The girl working there gave me grief, because she suggested that I buy two the first time and I declined. I guess she was correct.
With two slices of pizza down and three bottles of water I saw that it we were about 30 minutes away from departure time (I wanted to get home in time to watch the Heat vs. Celtics game 7), so I should use my last drink ticket. I decided to go with the 2010 PRO-AM IPA. I started the day with hops and ended it the same. Things came full circle.
All in all the day was a success. The beer was good, the event was a lot larger than I expected, and well put together to boot. I’m now waiting patiently for the announcement of when they’re going to release the 2012 Pugachev’s Cobra. Hopefully I’ll see you in line!