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edible Monterey Bay Summer 2016

www.ediblemontereybay.com 33 CORRALITOS BREWING CO. Corralitos Brewing Co. draws beer fans to its South Santa Cruz County location from near and far, thanks in part to Taylor’s mad scientist level barrel program, which started in December of 2014. According to Taylor, these barrels provide the fifth element to his aging process, a “spice cabinet” so to speak, as the barrels impart various qualities to the beer from the wines aged in them during their prior lives. He also takes advantage of his agricultural surroundings, adding local fruits, such as peaches, apricots, blackberries and raspberries, to select barrels. “Our beer that has been aging in oak has a very deep, complex Old World flavor going on,” says Taylor. “It might be funky; it might be tart; it might be sour. “And when you add local fruit, it kind of makes those Old World flavors come to life again. You’re tasting the barrel, the funkiness, and you’re tasting the base beer, which might be dry or soft on your palate, and then you’re getting that fruit-forward finish. It just makes for a much more enjoyable experience.” In addition to getting set up for bottling these beers soon, Taylor and his business partner Mike Smith have installed an open fermentation room and a large glass window for viewing from the bar area. “is brings our patrons a little closer to something that’s really fun—it gets them involved with what we’re doing,” Taylor says. e room is dedicated solely to the barrel program, meaning each beer will see oak barrels, and the space is wall-to-wall unfinished American white oak. e brewery’s goal is to bring in the night air, and with it, wild local yeasts that the brewery will eventually be able to use for spontaneous fermentation. ere doesn’t seem to be a secretive bone in Taylor’s body; he’s all about sharing his passion for growing hops and brewing beer with others. He teaches a hops growing class every spring that focuses on these wondrous climbers from planting to harvest. e brewery also releases beers under the Roots Brewing Project, an idea Taylor came up with to teach his employees how to craft their own beer with his original home-brewing system. Almost all beers make it onto the board in the taproom. Of note to date have been the Smoked Chile Porter with chiles from Fire Tongue Farm in Hollister; the Oreo Cookie Stout, a Belgian triple with roses and lavender; and the Woodsman, an American pale ale. So whenever I find the time to slow down and enjoy a refreshing beer or two, I stop by Corralitos Brewing Co. I can never resist trying an Out of the Barrel, a varying selection of single-barrel brews that Taylor found to be standalone specimens. ere’s just something about the people, the beer and the way that the evening sun glows golden in my glass from across the surrounding fields that feels like home and keeps me going back for more. Corralitos Brewing Co. 2536 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville • www.corralitosbrewingco.com Luke Taylor at Corralitos Brewing Co. Hops growing at the brewery Photos p. 30 and 31, Michael Santaella; this page, Michelle Magdalena


edible Monterey Bay Summer 2016
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