Dedicated craft beer fans are no strangers to parking lots in drab industrial parks -- that’s where the craft breweries usually are hidden. On Saturday one such parking lot was the destination when more than 1,000 craft beer fans from across Southern California congregated at, in front of and around Anaheim's Noble Ale Works to celebrate the popular craft brewery’s third anniversary.
Noble Ale Works had a big year in 2013; from the launch of its hugely popular golden milk stout with coffee known as Naughty Sauce to its win at the first L.A. IPA Fest, the brewery has become one of Orange County’s most exciting breweries.
A band played near the tasting room’s entrance, and food trucks and samples from Slater’s 50/50 Burgers were available to balance the unlimited samples flowing from the tasting room’s 20 taps and the island of ice-cooled jockey-boxes arranged in the center of the cordoned-off parking lot.
The brewers began stockpiling kegs of specialty brews and one-off beers months ago to keep all the taps stocked, and they tweaked their production schedule to ensure there would be plenty of fresh hoppy beers available as well.
More than 30 different beers were tapped, from the brewery’s core lineup (Big Whig IPA, Pistol Whip’d Pils) to experimental brews (the chile-infused Pistola Pils and Too Darn Hot ale) and collaboration beers (Everything but the Stick with the Bruery, the Messenger with Three Weavers Brewing).
Some of the most popular brews at the party were variants of fan-favorite Naughty Sauce, including the self-explanatory Cinnamon Roast Crunch and Lebowski’s White Russian versions, and an imperial Naughty Sauce (the 12% ABV Bean Bump). Several casks of the stout were tapped throughout the day.
Brewmaster Evan Price, known nearly as much for his mirthful demeanor as for his creative, award-winning brews, was plainly excited to share the day with so many fans and colleagues, and at the end of hours of posing for pictures and getting hugs and high-fives from fans, he closed the party by joining the band for a rousing rendition of Iggy Pop’s "Lust for Life" -- a song that encapsulates Price’s -- and all of the Noble Ale Works’ crew’s -- philosophy of craft beer.
The Noble Ale Works tasting room, at 1621 S. Sinclair St., Suite B, in Anaheim, opens at 4 p.m. during the week and noon on weekends. The brewery's beers are available on draught across Southern California, and the newest bottle release -- Gone to Plaid, a wee heavy Scotch ale -- is in bottle shops now.