Valiant Brewing Co. is located in Orange, CA where they recently celebrated their second anniversary with a bang. By closing down the brewery for 2 days and turning it into a party, powered by 43 taps all pouring Valiant beer, they created one hell of a way to remember the occasion for some of their biggest supporters and fans. I decided to attend the VIP Night, held the evening before the anniversary party.
With 43 taps, the brewery was easily broken down to 6 filling stations including the taproom. Most stations offered a cask, you could find; Alpha Drive with Pineapple, Coffee IPA, Anniversary Ale w/ Tequila, Anniversary Ale w/ Habanero, and Foamosa w/ Kiwi. In all honesty, the original Foamosa was designed perfectly for brunch with it’s light, citrus flavor and dry finish, something that would pair well with an omelette. Both were available, not the omelette.
Beer also pairs well with chocolate and coffee. And so The Aussie Bean, an Australian Coffee Roaster, was on hand serving up single serving cups of coffee like the S'mores Mocha. This creation starts off with a rim of caramel, Graham crackers, topped with chocolate, marshmallows, and fused into a deliciously sweet coffee with a light body and a medium roast. A quick sip took me back to simpler times of making S’mores at camp as a kid, I took my cup to a table where I could savor at my own pace.
To follow this up, I met up with Johna Nilson, the confectioner at So Rich Chocolates. She put together a chocolate and beer pairing. Pitting her original flavors to the test with Valiant’s. My favorite was a Carrot Cake Truffle meant to be paired with a Triple IPA, so I took the test. She wasn’t kidding, the fresh carrot really brings out the spices in the Maple Red IPA and compliment the other perfectly. She tells me, “my goal is to sell craft beer to women,” and she can easily do that through these amazing flavors.
When Valiant Brewing Company first opened it’s doors in 2013, I wonder if owner/brewer Brian Schroepfer envisioned his brewery as it stands today. In the corner of the brewery tucked just to the side of the brewing system, you’ll find new 60BBL fermenters that are so large, they tower over the original fermenters that stand a mere 7 feet off the ground. He told me, “the last expansion allows us to produce our core beers while increasing production on new flavors and styles. Allowing us to include more bottles among our brewery’s offerings.”
When Schroepfer talks about his beer, he is incredibly humble about the high quality brew he produces. Take their Second Anniversary Ale, it’s best described as a Barley Wine but this 15% beast is infused with loads of coffee, combined with a strong robust flavor similar to a bold brown or porter. But within, there is a lingering coffee and vanilla aftertaste canvassing the tip of your tongue, you’re left with only a subtle chocolate flavor and a welcomed bitterness wrapped in a full body and topped off with an irresponsible amount of alcohol. I loved it, it’s just one of the many big beers Schroepfer quietly prides himself with.
I found myself surrounded by high abv beers most of the night and ended up needing to take a break, enter Cody Storts of Grits Fullerton who paired several Valiant brews with his unique eats. I paired the Tickle My Dickel, a Belgian Porter aged for 3 weeks in George Dickel barrels and one of the lower 8% beers among the selection, with a Smoked Pork Butt Taco garnished with pickled red onion, Craisins, red cabbage slaw, and Cotija cheese. The pairing was spot-on and the food offered great textures, the meat was moist with perfectly charred ends. Incredibly flavorful.
Schroepfer and his team make some quality beer. In the first two years I have seen them produce some great beers; from last years Quad IPA known as Alpha Overdrive, or the recent collaboration with Black Market Brewing on the Chernyy Medved Imperial Stout for the OC Brew HoHo, and now their incredible Anniversary Ale. These guys have the recipe for success, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.