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Trail Head

March 09, 2016
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The popular hiking destination Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks has no doubt inspired many things. Now add to that list a locally brewed India Pale Ale. The Wildwood Red IPA from Figueroa Mountain Brewing is exclusive to the Westlake Village location, meaning beer drinkers in the brewery’s locations to our north are missing out.

“It has a citrusy, almost Juicy Fruit [gum], aroma and taste,” Head Brewer Nic Bortolin says of the first beer brewed at the new Westlake location. “Some people get a lot of peach notes from it. I get a lot of passion fruit and guava, so it’s a very approachable IPA.”

There’s no fruit in the beer, though people will ask, he says. And unlike traditional West Coast–style IPAs, this one is a little sweeter. “I wanted to showcase that hops aren’t always bitter,” he says.

Six types of hops create the beer’s signature fruit aromas, says Bortolin, who has a diploma in intensive brewing science and engineering from the American Brewers Guild.

American hops take up five slots and the sixth is Mandarina Bavaria, a new variety from Germany that imparts “a little tangerine kick.” Hops are crossbred with each other to create new flavor profiles, Bortolin explains.

Four types of malt barley are also in the recipe, including huskless and toasted Golden Naked Oats. These contributed to the red color and give the beer a big mouthfeel and sweet berry-nut flavor, says Bortolin.

Enjoy the beer with chicken-topped salads or chicken topped with fruit salsa. Checking in at 7% ABV, the beer also stands up to beef or pork.

“What’s sweet and sassy?” asks Bortolin as he thinks about what animal defines this IPA. He settles on Goose, his American Eskimo dog. “He’s just full of energy and can be sweet, and also a little rambunctious,” he says. “And that’s kind of the beer. It’s sweet, a red beer, but it really surprises you—it’s full of hops and vibrant flavors.”

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