(San Marcos, CA) – BeerPulse was on hand for a beer dinner last night at Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey.
On the media tour, we learned that the brewery produced just under 10,000 barrels of beer last year and has a goal of producing 15,000 in 2012. Despite such a rapid rate of growth, there are no plans in place for expanding the brewery in a way similar to recent reports we’ve seen from the likes of Ithaca, Ninkasi or Oskar Blues.
Media Liaison, Sage Osterfeld, explained that Director of Brewery Operations, Tomme Arthur, wants to keep the operation small so that he can continue to keep focusing on his many pet projects, most of which take place in the 1,000 wooden barrels they currently house. He has no desire to run a big automated system.
With that in mind, the brewery is not looking to expand into any new markets in 2012. They entered New Jersey, their ninth market, in January and that will be it for all of this year.
Guests at the dinner were able to sample an upcoming release out of some of the aforementioned barrels, Track 5: Shout at the Devil. The beer, whose name is inspired by Mötley Crüe, is largely a blend of Red Poppy and Framboise de Amorosa, another that was available at the event. Carbonation-level on this one was high and opening of the bottles had to be treated like opening Champagne. Arthur joked that people are in disbelief that they can carbonate beer, a reference to past carbonation issues that had the entire room laughing.
Lost Abbey brought in Flying Dog’s Gwen Conley to be its Quality Assurance Director last year and made one of its biggest single investments yet with a new $200k lab. The brewery also brought in a new bottling line that is still ‘peacemeal’ in some places but capable of producing 60 bottles a minute. Since those changes, they’ve solved some of the quality concerns like carbonation.
One last note: also coming to bottles at some point will be Ad Lib. The 2011 blend comprised of Rye Barrel Serpent’s Stout, Bourbon Midnight Expression and Bourbon Judgment Day.
A few photos from the night below.
A photo of the menu: