Beer of the Week: Tea Time

I attended Morse High School, where the student population was 60% Filipino, and my first real job after graduating was at a company where roughly 60% of its employees were Filipino. Over that combined 11-year span, I had the privilege of learning a lot about Filipino culture through the kindness of fellow students and coworkers who took me under their wings. I found their customs, celebrations and food (chocolate meat…IYKYK) fascinating, and their gracious hospitality beyond compare. I counted myself quite fortunate to be afforded such a close-up view of a people who, despite making up a significant percentage of our city’s population, remain somewhat enigmatic to the average San Diegan. It’s one of the reasons I was so excited to discover that Harland Brewing was going all out in celebration of Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. (May, in case you weren’t aware.) Earlier this year, brewers at the Scripps Ranch-based company reached out to a quintet of AAPI-owned brewing companies asking them to brew collaboration beers with them to raise the visibility of those businesses while celebrating ingredients and flavor profiles hailing from various Asian and Pacific Island nations. That included Japanese brewpubs Craftrock and Repubrew, whose staffers flew out for their collab, as well as California ops Ambitious Ales (Long Beach), Common Corners Brewing (Walnut) and North Park’s very own GOAL. Brewing. It wasn’t the latter’s first time partnering up with Harland. GOAL. Head Brewer Derek Gallanosa brewed a smoked pale lager, Smoke Wheat Every Day, with two of Harland’s R&D brewers last summer. In addition to brewing together, the trio regularly hits the local links, leading to the punny name of this week’s featured beer, Tea Time. Another pale lager, this one is infused with a variety of Chinese tea called Bai Mu Dan (AKA: white peony), which imparts jasmine-like aromas, with similarly floral notes on the palate accompanied by subdued earthiness and the slightest hint of rehydrated red berries. Tasty and easy-drinking, it accomplishes its multifaceted mission of being quaffable, compelling, culturally representative and thought-provoking. Cheers to that, AAPI Heritage Month and this ambitious, meaningful initiative.

We’ve known Derek for quite some time now, from being at Abnormal to Moksa and, now. GOAL. He’s an excellent and knowledgeable brewer of all styles. Brewing a pale lager takes a lot of attention to detail, and when adjuncting a beer you want balance between being able to taste the beer and the adjunct at the same time. We went with Derek’s pale lager recipe, which uses flaked rice, Weyermann Extra Pale, CaraHell and Munich malts to create a lager that is easily crushable but still flavorful. It’s really hard to find an ingredient that complements a crushable lager. When deciding on tea, we realized it was easy to control the exact characteristic it would give the beer. It’s just like making a cup of tea at home; you start with base water and, as you steep the tea, that’s when the flavors start to show. This lager is bright and clear like any you would typically see from GOAL. or Harland. It’s light-bodied with aromas of tropical fruits, fresh strawberries and fresh-cut hay, and when you drink it, you’re greeted by classic lager characteristics of biscuit and herbal hop character, followed by the refreshing taste of bai mu dan tea.”

Jacob Hillier, Head Brewer, Harland Brewing
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