This year marks Green Flash Brewing Co.‘s first under Brewmaster Erik Jensen’s leadership, and with great brewing power comes great brewing responsibility. That’s why Jensen has stacked the beer deck in Green Flash’s favor with offerings such as the inaugural debut of Passion Fruit Kicker, an American Wheat Ale with Passion Fruit, and Tangerine Soul Style, a Tangerine India Pale Ale. With it’s 2016 lineup, Green Flash is walking the tightrope between go-to favorites and exciting experimental offerings from Jensen’s deliciously demented brewing mind.
“We’re really proud of our experimental beer program. It allows our team members to innovate and collaborate to develop new beers,” explained Green Flash Brewmaster Erik Jensen. “It complements our longstanding philosophy of not brewing necessarily to style, to develop something unique and delicious.”
Kicking-off the year is Tangerine Soul Style, an IPA that delivers a punch of tangerine citrus flavor and will be available nationwide for the first time this month. Brewed with American malts and a blend of Citra and Cascade hops — plus the addition of real tangerine puree added post-fermentation — it’s a variation on Green Flash’s Soul Style released in 2014. Also available this month is Passion Fruit Kicker, Green Flash’s take on the American Wheat Beer style. This drinkable wheat ale has a sweet, tart, fruity flavor via cold steeped passion fruit tea from local San Diego Tea Gallerie and real passion fruit concentrate.
In keeping with Green Flash’s reputation for craft beer innovation Cosmic Ristretto Baltic Porter with Espresso, the first graduate of the Genius Lab pilot brewing program, will be released this February. The bold, complex, java-centric (a “ristretto” is a concentrated shot of espresso) brew was originally brewed by Brewers Kevin Barnes and Ron Angelo Jr., and has previously only been available in Green Flash’s San Diego tasting room. Cosmic Ristretto has an intense coffee flavor via the addition of espresso extract, plus caramel characteristics derived from Candico, a caramelized Belgian candy sugar that is added directly to the kettle and fermented out.
The Genius Lab program, launched in 2013, offers everyone at Green Flash an opportunity to brew original, small-batch brews under the guidance of Brewmaster Erik Jensen. The 5-barrel pilot system was designed to be one-tenth the size of the Green Flash’s production brewery (50 barrels). The scaled down system allows team members to explore different styles and techniques with relatively good confidence that it can be repeated on the full-size system. The first Genius Lab brew to be scaled up was Jensen’s inaugural recipe for Green Flash, Golden Naked Promise, bottled for the 2015 National Homebrewers Conference in San Diego.
Also previously available in Green Flash’s San Diego tasting room is Dia de los Serranos, a Double Stout with Serrano Chiles that has been likened to Mexican hot chocolate. Due to its popularity, it will debut in 22-ounce bottles in February. The rich brew features a caliente kick of fresh Serrano Chiles which are processed by hand to remove the stems and then steeped at a high temperature for one hour, the solution is later added to the fermented beer. Dia de los Serranos was first poured as a cask creation by Brewer Joe Lisica.
Sea to Sea Session Lager, a tribute to Green Flash’s Virginia Beach, Va., brewery slated to open later this year, will arrive in May — just in time for summer. A take on the traditional all-American lager, Sea to Sea is a hybrid European-American Pilsner crafted with German and domestic malts. Lightly dry hopped and naturally carbonated, the drinkable lager has a fresh hop aroma and is full of flavor (unlike the ubiquitous fizzy, yellow beer).