Heretic Brewing Taproom Review

heretic brewing logoBrewery Name: Heretic Brewing
Location: Fairfield, CA
Famous Beers: Evil Twin, Evil Cousin, Shallow Grave, Bovine Intervention

 

Overall Impression

Amazing versions of some “standard” beers, served at a place with an easy-going atmosphere. The running theme of all these beers is “well balanced”, and the the brewer/owner is a real magician with the recipes he’s created.

Getting There

It’s quite a bit out of the way. I’m not sure what else is going on in Fairfield, but I guess it’s close to the Bay Area. You can get there pretty easily from I5, but you aren’t going to just stumble upon it. It’s at the end of the road, and there’s plenty of parking. Once you get to Walters Rd and Air Base Parkway, you’re getting close.

Decor

The inside of the taproom itself is pretty small, but they have a larger section of outdoor seating. There’s not much to look at out there except some industrial buildings. Good thing the beer is worth the trip.

Beers

I’ve been listing to Jamil Zainasheff on The Brewing Network for almost a year now, just about every day, sometimes consuming 2-3 episodes in a day. Honestly, getting to Heretic’s Taproom was like coming to beer Mecca.

I wanted to drink as much as possible and still be able to drive home so had to go with the low ABV stuff. I wanted to try the bourbon barrel aged Russian imperial stout because I’ve been working on my own barrel-aged RIS for a few months now. At 12% however, it would have been my only beer. They also don’t allow growler takeouts of this beer (understandably), so I’ll have to try it next time.

Evil Twin: I heard so much about this beer but had no idea this was a red IPA, and I’m a huge fan of “red” beers. Something about the dark caramel malts really works well with hoppy bitterness I think.

This was very much on the darker side of what would be considered red. There dark caramel malts used must have been just on the border or “roasted”, because there was just a hint of roastiness in the malt profile. It’s hard to describe – basically, imagine you had some sugar, and cooked it til it caramelized to a yellow/orange, then kept cooking it til it turned deep red, and stopped cooking just before it started to burn.

Anyway, I’m still not very good at identifying hop aroma and flavors, but there were some citrus hops in there, and it was of course a pretty hop-forward beer, but very well balanced and didn’t overpower the delicious maltiness of this red IPA.

Gramayre: Had to look up what that meant – it means “occult learning”. I wonder what it has to do with the style of beer. For example, Evil Twin is red because red is evil. Bovine Intervention is the milk stout, i.e. cows = bovine, and it sounds like divine intervention. Gramayre is a rye pale ale. Let me know if you think of anything.

At 4.4% ABV, light, hoppy, and dry, this one went down pretty fast. The rye was quite spicy due to the dryness and bitterness of the hops, but not overpowering. Again, this beer was very well balanced and tasted exactly what it sounds like.

Petit Rouge: I’m not sure how this fits into the brewery theme, but whatever. It’s a Belgian style beer, with a slight tartness. I overheard that it was due to the hibiscus, but I’m not sure if Hibiscus is a tart tasting flour or if there was some kind of wild yeast on it that made the beer tart.

The bright pink color and beer clarity made this quite a unique looking beer. I didn’t have any expectations going in, but enjoyed this one as well.

Food

There was a food truck with some decent sandwiches, but I’m sure they change the truck frequently.

Service

Everyone was very casual, and quick to notice when my glass was empty or almost empty. With an amazing brewer like Jamil Zainasheff at the helm of this company, I’m sure all the staff are trained cicerones and know the beers quite well.

Other Comments

It’s crazy cheap here. I had three beers, plus bought two bottles, and it was only $29. Compare that to my trip to the rare barrel where I spent over $120 for 5 beers and 2 bottles. Yeah, different companies, different beers, but it’s awesome that they are ‘keepin in real’ and not overcharging for beers that they could probably charge way more for.

Final Word

I’d love to come back here with a DD and taste the rest of these higher ABV beers. I brought back a bottle of Shallow Grave and the Belgian dark strong. I’d love to have Evil Twin start showing up at the local Bevmo or Save Mart, and might even put it in my fantasy 6-pack.

About Nate

I created this website almost two years ago when I first started homebrewing. Like my brewing, it's been through many changes over the years.

I'm a full time online marketer and brewing beer is my hobby. You'll find a mix of all topics related to craft beer and homebrewing at xBREWx!

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