Prayers for Rich Flavor Answered: Absolution Brewery

Absolution Brewery

It’s appropriate that Absolution Brewery, helmed by owners Nigel Heath and Steve Farguson, offers seating on pews purchased from a Northern California Episcopalian retreat center. After all, guests in search of rich flavor will have had their prayers answered.

The brewery is one of a number of craft brewing spots located in Torrance, California. With high ceilings and a dramatically large logo mounted on the wall, Absolution has the soaring ambiance of a church of sorts, which those pews and its slightly irreverent name implies.

What makes Absolution unique is the variety of heady flavors many of its beers contain. Small in scale with four ten-barrel ferments, head brewer Wes McCann has nonetheless created twelve beers currently on tap, along with two non-alcoholic creations, cream soda and root beer.

The flavors of these brews are redolent with fruit, spices, and chocolate, and the brewery is adamant about keeping all ingredients organic. Strawberries in Trespasser Ale? They come from organic Tapia Farms. There’s a personal connection in this farm-to-mug connection – Farguson’s father-in-law is the Encino farm’s founder, making this one time nepotism should be applauded. The freshness of the fruit flavors in the many of the beers is noticeable, making each distinct and memorable. The difference between these beers and mainstream, conventionally bottled brews with a fruity finish is every bit as large as the difference between fresh organic berries on the breakfast table and canned fruit.

One of the richest tastes is the Crimson Angel Red IPA. Spicy and citrusy, with a hint of the floral, this is a popular offering. Hefeweizen lovers can rejoice with the Purgatory Hefeweizen, which boasts the flavor of cloves, sweetened with a hint of banana. If Curious George was all grown up and ordered a beer, this would be it. The banana is not overwhelming, but it is noticeable, and adds to a creamy texture.

Cardinal Sin Crimson Ale takes sweetness and plays it off against a roasted barley base. Red in color, the ale tastes of caramel and toffee. Tresspasser Belgian Farmhouse Ale is creamy yet light, exuding an infusion of citrus and melon amid the flavor of Ahtanum and Palisades hops.

The Possessed Porter is one of the richest brews. Here’s where the chocolate flavor comes into this brewery’s mix, along a nutty flavor, and some toffee and caramel. It’s a drinkable desert with some bitter hoppiness that gives it an edge. The owners seasonally update this one, adding black cherries, toasted coconut or roasted pecans. And speaking of dessert, the Holy Cow! Milk Stout may be the richest beverage, available from the brewery’s regular tap or via nitro. Sweet, thick, and most definitely chocolate, Absolution even describes it as a dessert item.

Absolution creates small batch beers five to six barrels at a time. Their process primarily uses single infusion mashing, and glycol jacketed open ferments assist with controlling the temperatures during the fermentation process.

The take-away from this craft brewery? Fragrant, multi-layered flavors, many with a hint of fruit, nuts, caramel, or toffee. In short: a flavor exploration worth rejoicing over.

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