Microbreweries lightly dot Orange County, each brewing with their own style and character. Two of these breweries have become staples in the “OC.” Tustin Brewery has been serving up some of the best award-winning beers in Orange County since 1996. Resembling a French château, Tustin brewery is just as pretty outside as it is inside. When visiting a few weeks ago we were somewhat limited on time. But, we did sample some of the “good stuff.”
Being a fan of wheat beers, I enjoyed the Lemon Heights Hefeweizen. Unfiltered and spicy with hints of lemon, this light hefeweizen would go great with any meal. You will definitely want to forgo the lemon it is served with. This flavorful beer doesn’t need it. The American Pale Ale had a great hoppy aroma and flavor. Grapefruit and lemon gave this pale ale a great kick and clean finish. Lastly, we enjoyed Jackson’s Double IPA. For you “hop heads” out there, this beer is for you. Hardcore hops and citrus aroma hit you as soon as you raise you glass. The taste? Grapefruit and pine pulverize the palate. This beer is not for wimps.
Located directly across the street from the Honda Center in Anaheim, JT Schmid’s Restaurant and Brewery has become a permanent fixture in the “OC.” The restaurant is large, contemporary and chic. The beer isn’t bad either. I ordered the taster and started off with the JT Light. Very light yellow in color, it looked more like lemonade than beer. But the flavor was anything but. JT Light has a sweet, straw flavor, a soft wheat aroma, and a crisp finish and would go great with a meal or on its own.
JT’s California Hefeweizen is another great “anytime” beer. The floral, spicy aroma grabs you and the banana clove and citrus flavor seals the deal. Yummy! Next up was the Anaheim India Pale Ale. This medium bodied ale is a bit on the hoppy side with flavors of grapefruit, caramel and orange. It’s an easy pale ale to drink so at 6.9 % ABV I had to watch my intake. Emil’s Amber has a deep, pretty red color. German hops are used to give a nutty, caramel flavor to this lightly hopped, malty brew.
JT Schmid’s Extra Stout is ink-black and has a thick, tan head. I caught a whiff of brown sugar and roasted coffee. The flavor was every girls dream…dark chocolate! This was a full-bodied beer that should be sipped on its own. Lastly on my taster tray was the America Brown. This full-bodied brown ale was toasty, smooth and slightly bitter. Hints of molasses and brown sugar sweetened it up, but almost to the point of sickening sweet. Not bad, but a bit over the top on the sweetness.
When beginning the Best of Orange County I originally planned on a three-part series. But, there are still a few more hot spots worth mentioning so, being a female, I changed my mind. The fourth and final entry on my week in Orange County is coming soon!