The Los Angeles craft beer scene is as big as it is diverse. Torrance is one of those places you hear about all your life but never visit. As part of the collective Los Angeles bubble, Torrance has been on the map in the craft beer scene recently, and the main reason could be Smog City Brewing Company which started as a side project for Tustin Brewing.
The taste from this beer is of a quality that you cannot find outside of the realm of craft beer. I am taking a trip to Torrance as soon as possible. Sabre-toothed squirrels are real in Los Angeles. They rip up lawn furniture and stare you down. I can attest to this, and this beer pays homage to the many times I have been face to face with a squirrel with an agenda.
This beer reminds me of the great outdoors, camping, and a warm fire. It reminds me of friends, and good stories. I get a sense of incredible craftsmanship and quality in the ingredients of this quality brew. It is well balanced, moderately hopped, and delicious. I would recommend this to someone who might not normally choose a hoppy beer, or would also be very picky about beer: It’s that good.
Appearance: Pours like a red amber resin with tiny charging carbonation that forms a creamy looking head on top. The beer is a rich colored red.
Nose: Aromas of citrus and peach with resinous pine reminding me of fresh cut firewood, clove, caramel, coffee.
Taste: Excellent malt reminding me of both Anchor Steam and Fat Tire. It has a perfect mellow toast to it that is reminiscent of pie crust or fresh baked biscuits that is delicious but also gets a little deeper with a note of roasted coffee while being malt balanced, but still quite hoppy. I had to check the bottle again to make sure this wasn’t an IPA. It hits you with citrus, peach, and piney notes on the finish but has a wonderful toffee-nutty malt taste that shines through it all.
Mouthfeel/Aftertaste: This is a bit dry and chalky which makes it refreshing in a way. Medium bodied and silky. It has a wonderful watery and bitter finish, but the rich and robust ingredients don’t leave you completely right away.
Overall: I really enjoyed this one, and not only because it was a bit hoppy, or because I like red ales, but because it was brewed properly and in a style that is so connected with the California craft beer scene. This beer has the ambition to bring real robust malty flavor in an ultra hopped or ultra Belgian world, and bring it into that format with style and class while still being bold in the use of ingredients. This beer summarizes a lot of what I love about local brewers and the SoCal vibe that is becoming present in a lot of these craft beers. This can be paired with a fancy steak dinner, or tacos, or a danish…. I mean really. Pair it with delicious cheese or tofu with hot sauce if you want! It’s gourmet and classy and punk rock and laid back all at the same time. Don’t hesitate and enjoy this or I’m doomed to be overrun by squirrels in one of the most embarrassing and painful deaths possible.
With barely any American Style Amber/Red to choose from in the craft world that don’t have IPA attached to their name, there aren't any good reasons to skip this, and I dare you to find a better beer in this style.
Overall Score: 9.7/10
Sabre-Toothed Squirrel / American Style Amber/Red Ale / 7.00% ABV / Smog City Brewing Company / Score: 9.7/10