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SAVOR 2014 Brewery Profile: KelSo Beer Company (@KelSoBeer)

Name: KelSo Beer Company

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Website: www.kelsobeer.com

Type: Production Brewery

Available in DC Market: No

What you need to know: KelSo brewmaster Kelly Taylor cut his teeth brewing up and down the West Coast, starting at Karl Strauss Brewing (San Diego, CA) in 1991 and them moving up the coast to found and brew at outfits across Washington State. In 1998, Taylor moved to New York and became the Head Brewer for the Heartland Brewery restaurant group, which operates a chain of brewpubs across NYC. In 2006, Taylor founded KelSo Beer Company along with his wife, Sonya Giacobbe (hence “KelSo”…get it?). Operating out of Heartland Brewery’s facilities and continuing to contract brew Heartland’s beers, KelSo Beer Company churns out a well-regarded set of classic styles, ranging from pale ale to pilsner to IPA, with a few experimental beers in their stable as well (a Flemish Red, for instance). Though currently only available in and around New York City, KelSo recently began canning their beers – the first brewery to can in Brooklyn since Rheingold – so perhaps we’ll see them expanding their distribution footprint sometime soon.

Beer #1:  Industrial IPA (Imperial IPA / 10% ABV)

In Their Own Words: “Hops, hops, and more hops. A true citrus blast. 100 IBUs. Bold citrus, warming malts, punchy. Malts: Floor malted English Maris Otter, Pale Crystal. Hops: Name one… Over a half dozen varieties.”

Food Pairing: Scallop Crudo with Citrus Fruits (Diver scallop crudo presented with orange, grapefruit and Meyer lemon segments, finished with a light peppercorn oil)

Our Thoughts: I think the brewery does a pretty solid job of letting you know what to expect from this beer – hops on hops on hops. Now, I’ve never tasted this beer, but given the description and malt bill, it’s fair to expect a solid malt backbone settled in beneath the alpha acids that are sure to assault your senses. I love me some DIPAs, so count me in. On the other hand, I’m not on board with this pairing. I see the logic of pairing citrus with citrus, but I fully expect this beer to overwhelm the delicate scallop crudo. I’d expect to see this dish paired with a lighter offering, both in terms of body and IBUs (light saison, pale ale, or even a low alcohol sour).

Beer #2:  Nut Brown Lager (Dark Lager / 5.75% ABV)

In Their Own Words: Full toasted malt flavor and a clean finish. Full malt flavor, spicy hop background, clean, crisp finish. Malts: Pilsner, Munich, Chocolate. Hops: Northern Brewer, Hallertau, Fuggle”

Food Pairing: Sticky Toffee Pudding (Classic English dessert of brown sugar cake, dates and rich toffee.)

Our Thoughts: I’ll immediately give props to a brewery that brings a lager to SAVOR, particularly one that is malt-driven. I’d expect this to fall somewhere in the realm of Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown, but with more malt-driven dark fruit (as opposed to yeast-driven), and a cleaner finish due to lagering. Given the aforementioned finish, I’m not sure if this is the right pairing for toffee pudding – I’d lean towards an English barleywine or at least something on the ale side of the house – but it’s certainly worth a shot. Like I said before – bringing an adventurous lager to SAVOR is reason enough to give this a try.

This profile is a part of the DCBeer.com SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2014 SAVOR participants.

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