Beer of the Week: Hermit’s Graff

Arcana Brewing asks "how do ya' like them apples?" and patrons' responses is overwhelming positive

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From the beginning, brewer-entrepreneur Daniel Guy wanted his business, Arcana Brewing, to be different. Actually, if we’re going back to the very beginning, he wanted his then-named Fezziwig’s Brewing to be different. Guy had – and maintains – a penchant for well-made English-style ales, beers that, much to my chagrin, are increasingly harder to come by in San Diego, where drinkers’ palates are more attuned to fruity, tropical, dank and piney American and Southern Hemisphere hops versus the herbal, earthy, tea-like varietals used in the U.K. He’s also enamored with low-alcohol creations and fruited beers. And not just kettle-sours, but braggots. What’s a braggot, you ask? A beer-mead (AKA: honey wine) hybrid that’s often – but not always – fruited. Then there’s this week’s featured beer, Hermit’s Graff. Described in the simplest of terms as an “apple ale”, it’s a beer-and-cider hybrid that’s redolent of its core fruit (see what I did there?), plenty tasty and abundantly refreshing. I remember coming across this beer early in Arcana’s lifespan. I was at Escondido nanobrewery Plan 9 Alehouse (RIP to that splendid establishment), where Hermit’s Graff was flowing from one of the guest taps. Intrigued, I ordered it, and while I enjoyed it, I feared for its brewery of origin, wondering how many people would take the time to appreciate this outlandish creation given its lack of alcohol, hops and big-name appeal (a peel…are you loving this homonymic humor?). To my surprise, this mash-up has proven a favorite of Arcana’s clientele and endured for more than a decade. So, on a weekend when we celebrate America, in lieu of apple pie, I wanted to take a moment to present another apple-infused delight; a true and unique slice of San Diego County’s suds scene.

Hermit’s Graff is a house-favorite brew, blending aspects of an American wheat ale with a bright, appley cider. At 5% alcohol-by-volume, it’s super sessionable, especially in our warm weather. We use Ceylon cinnamon sticks to add a subtle layer to the depth of flavors, while keeping the focus on the bright apple notes. Something fun from our ‘secret menu’ is what we call the Magic Apple, a 50/50 blend of the apple ale with our Dark Magician black currant braggot. Enjoy!”

Daniel Guy, Owner & Head Brewer, Arcana Brewing
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