John and I headed to Upland this last Saturday to visit Dale Bros. Brewery. Founded in 2003, Dales is a family run brewery that specializes in Lager type beers. They currently have 4 beers on tap: Pomona Queen, California Black Beer, Oktober-Fiesta, and C7.
Pomona Queen, an American Amber Lager, is their flagship beer. It’s light, refreshing, and very quaffable. The name comes from a combination of Curt’s long history as a Pomona native and a local band’s song of the same name. Don’t be fooled, despite its name it’s actually a bit golden in color.
California Black Beer, a darker american lager, was definitely my favorite. This beer was really complex and fun to drink. On the surface it was another very sessionable, refreshing, light beer, but just under that were rich overtones of coffee, roast, and some spiciness. Why is the beer a rich ruby brown and not black, you ask? Well, like the label implies, the beer is named after the California Black Bear, which color ranges from Black to Cinnamon. So there you go.
Their current seasonal is Oktober-Fiesta – New World Beer. Curt explained to us that it’s actually a take on recipes generated by the new world brewers in Mexico and Texas to try and recreate their beloved old word Oktoberfest beers. It’s definitely malty and fits right into the Oktoberfest Marzen and Vienna dark lager family.
The last beer they had on tap was called C7. This is a mix of all 3 of their current beers added to a cask and aged for a short time. The number in the name is the number of times they have used that cask. In addition to the cask aging they dry hop everything so the result is a hop head’s fantasy. All of the complexities from the first three beers are there, but hops definitely dominate this beer, and if you didn’t know this was a straight up lager blend you would probably think it was an IPA or Cal Common hybrid of some sort. Cool!
Like most breweries these days, Dale Bros. Brewery is tucked away in a small light industrial park off the beaten path. It’s very unassuming, and the space is jam packed with equipment. Conicals, boilers, bright yanks, kegs, a filter, a walk-in fridge, etc, all squished into a 2000 sq. ft space. That being said the space is really used well, and it’s kept incredibly clean. Curt explained their brew schedule to me, and man do they crank out a lot of beer on their 10 bbl system. They are looking to expand in 2012 to an even larger space. This will allow them to make more beer and expand their sphere of influence slightly, although Curt & Andy’s primary focus remains the Upland area. The brothers want to give the local people something to drink and be proud of, and for the last 8 years Dale Bros. has been doing just that.
It’s hard to get Dale Bros. beer if you aren’t in or around the Upland area, but they made their way out to the OC Brew Haha 2011 (see our coverage on that event) and that is where John and I first heard about Dale Bros. If you are in the area you should definitely take a side trip to the brewery during their growler room hours. Help spread the word about Dale Bros and drink some good beer with Curt & Andy – they are really cool dudes! Curt, Andy, and Jay, thanks for hanging out with Bierkast!
P.S. Curt & Andy will be releasing their first IPA sometime between October & November. Be on the lookout for it if you are in the area or make a special trip to get your growler filled.
Dale Bros. Brewery
1495 W. 9th Street, Unit 603
Upland, CA 91786