Thursday, September 27, 2012


When I was down in Santa Barbara a month or so ago, I paid a visit to the beer-making superstars at TELEGRAPH BREWING at one of their weekly "open house" sessions, as reported here. Somehow I finagled the chance to buy a rare bottle of their "OBSCURA CACAO" out of head brewer Brian Thompson – a Great American if there ever was one – after regaling him with my sad tale of now being able to find a bottle anywhere in Northern California. He let me know that this was a really limited and weirdly-distributed thing. It made it out to various parts of the country that don't typically get the full Telegraph lineup, but was held back from others. Why, he did not quite know. Thank Christ he still had another bottle, is all I'm saying.

OBSCURA CACAO was brewed with a local Santa Barbara chocolatier called Twentyfour Blackbirds. In fact, one thing you realize when you visit Santa Barbara is just what a foodie culture explosion they've got going on down there – cheese, chocolate, bakeries, beer makers and so on. No complaints. Makes for a great pound-packin' vacation. Anyway, with all that chocolate in there, would you expect the beer to look like it does? Nope, me either. It pours a deep blood-orange color, which was a real surprise – and I'm telling you, the tartness of this beer cuts any chocolate that might actually be there. Crazy, right?

The beer is more in a league with fruit-heavy, Belgian-style ales like Russian River's Temptation and Beatification – I certainly mean that in the best sense of the comparison, as it's in that rarefied world, if a step down from the world-beating genius of Temptation. Apricot, banana, mild funk and huge carbonation. It's an intense beer for an intense community of beer lovers. Someone might even find some "cacao" in there, just not me. 7/10.

1 comment:

nat said...

I had this last spring and didn't write it up. I didn't get chocolate, or cacao, either. I remember tasting tobacco, and thought Cohiba a more appropriate name than Cacao. I liked it. Petite Obscura is my favorite Obscura. Where is this year's Gypsy???