Picasso, Matisse, and Monet worked at their craft for an entire lifetime. The result was the birth, development, and establishment of Modern Art as we know it. Their style of painting was so vibrant, so accessible, and so enduring that there are few people today who don’t recognize either the names or the styles of these great artists.
Craft beer is all about individual artistry. We are at a time in the history of craft beer in America that is comparable to the influential Armory show in New York 100 years ago that changed the face of art in America forever.
The VCBE has already introduced you to one of the up-and-coming artists in the area, David “Griff” Griffiths of Ladyface Alehouse. In this column and the next two, we will introduce you to another local beer artisan, Adam Ball of Anacapa Brewing Company in Ventura.
In the early 1900s, painters were flocking to Paris and encouraging each other in the development of their craft. In the early 2000s, the San Diego craft beer scene was where Adam Ball honed his craft, working both for Ballast Point and Karl Strauss. He also spent some time at the Seibel Institute in Chicago, home of the World Brewing Academy.
“I ran Karl Strauss’s downtown brewpub for about 2-1/2 years,” recalls Adam. “So I got to brew every specialty beer they put out. The experience of being in San Diego and learning from all the people making great beer down there – I can’t put a price on it.”
The Imperial Stout that Adam brewed at Karl Strauss won an award at the World Beer Championships sponsored by the Beverage Tasting Institute. It was, in part, this recognition of Adam’s skill that helped him get a gig of his own at Anacapa Brewing back in 2007, and he’s never looked back.
“We come out with about 35 different types of beer a year,” says Adam, adding that the brewpub has four mainstays that he tries to keep on tap year round. “That would be our Whitecap Wit, a Belgian-style wheat beer made with orange peel, a little bit of lemon peel, and coriander; Santa Rosa Red, an American red ale – not too hoppy, with a nice balance of carmel malts and Northwest Pacific hops; our IPA; and our Seaward Gold or Blonde, which is our ‘bridge’ beer – it’s kind of like a hybrid American blonde/kolsch-style.”
“Bridge beer” is a term craft brewers use to describe a beer which is similar to one of the recognizable commercial beers, “but with flavor,” as Adam puts it.
Next time we’ll talk about Adam’s IPA and the brewer’s palette (as opposed to his palate).
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: The VCBE and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) remind you to drink responsibly. Be smart and don’t get arrested for drinking and driving. This Labor Day, plan for a sober driver, take a taxi or use public transportation.