Today, The Bruery consistently produces some of the most sought after beers in the nation. However, this Orange County based brewery has a storied past. In 2008, Patrick Rue (owner and head brewer at the Bruery) had just completed law school but failed the California bar exam shortly after graduation. Despite this setback, Rue had picked up home brewing as a hobby in school and had already medaled in several homebrew competitions. So, opting to turn the proverbial lemons into lemonade, he made the decision to open a brewery. The Bruery opened in Placentia, California as a boutique craft brewery specializing in Belgian-style, barrel-aged and experimental beers. Since its inception, the Bruery has become one of the most elite experimental breweries in the nation and Patrick Rue has become one of only thirteen Master Cicerones in the world (the beer equivalent of a Master Sommelier). Although more than 75,000 individuals have obtained the entry level Cicerone certification of ‘Certified Beer Server,’ the top-most ‘Master’ level of certification requires rigorous written and oral examination regarding beer styles & evaluation, draft systems, brewing technology and food pairings.
Although several of the limited release and one-off beers the Bruery produces annually are only available to California residents through a paid subscription service, one particular world-class beer does get sent to retailers in limited quantities every year: the barrel-aged anniversary ale. Originally released as Papier in 2009, each annual release of the anniversary ale is brewed to roughly the same recipe but is released under a different name corresponding to the list of traditional anniversary gifts. The production of each anniversary beer also relies on the Solera method- a brewing technique in which a portion of every anniversary ale is stored in oak barrels to be blended in with the next year’s production. This process makes for a unique, yet highly nuanced ale with every release featuring a robust flavor profile with notes of bourbon, vanilla, oak tannin, date, fig, raisin, chocolate, pipe tobacco, caramel and toffee. These ales are also built to last- when properly cellared, these ales will develop favorably for 5-10 years as the alcohol heat subsides and the oxidation of the beer brings forth sherry and port wine characteristics. The most recent release of this ale is Saule, and commemorates the Bruery’s ninth anniversary. Whether you’re looking for a special drink to celebrate with or a holiday sipper to share with friends and family, this one should definitely be on your radar.