Session #43: Welcoming the “New Kids” — Kern River Brewing Company 1

I’m embarrassed to admit that, although I have been aware of it for some time, I have not yet participated in “The Session” — a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday. It is the brainchild of beer blogging gurus Jay Brooks of Brookston Beer Bulletin and Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer. For over three years now, the dynamic duo has been inspiring beers bloggers from all over the world to join together and write about a single topic.

Since The Wench is scheduled to host the next Session (stay tuned for the announcement), I thought it was high time I participated in the cult phenomenon. No time like the present, right? And as it just so happens, my good friend and fellow lady of craft beer, Carla Companion aka The Beer Babe, is hosting today’s Session.

SESSION #43: September 3, 2010
Carla Companion at The Beer Babe
Welcoming the New Kids

“My challenge to you is to seek out a new brewery and think about ways in which they could be welcomed into the existing beer community. How does their beer compare to the craft beer scene in your area? Are they doing anything in a new/exciting way? What advice, as a beer consumer, would you give to these new breweries?”

Today, I have decided to dedicate my “Welcoming the New Kids” Session post to KERN RIVER BREWING COMPANY in Kernville, CA — an old wild-west town that serves as the southern gateway to the Sequoia National Forest.

The KRBC brings people back to the magnificent simplicities that life has to offer.

Technically, these kids are not “brand new” to the craft beer industry. This past June, they celebrated their 4th Anniversary — which still makes them extremely young. And, I guarantee that most of the country, outside of California, don’t know much about this amazing little brewery. BUT, this will change, and I will make sure of it.

As of now, Kern River Brewing beer does not yet reach a wide radius. This is guaranteed to change. And I will tell you why…

In my opinion, there are two main key components to being a successful and amazing craft brewery — passion and talent, neither of which can faked. Kern River Brewing not only possess these two traits, they exemplify them.

My KRBC story, as with all Wench stories, is less than conventional. And who would want it any other way?

The first time I visited San Diego, CA was during San Diego Beer Week 2009. It was, by far, one of the most influential and inspirational craft beer experiences that I have to date — which was mostly due in part to my amazing friend, fellow lady of craft beer, and hostess Taylor Shaw, better known to the beer community as “The Art of Beer.” I think I had a half a minute to breathe after my flight landed, before Tay shuttled me up to the ten year vertical tasting of Double Bastard Ale at Stone World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido.

That day, I met a lot of extraordinary people who have since become really great friends and mentors. One such figure, who fits into both pockets, was the renowned Dr. Bill Sysak. And most would assume that, upon meeting such an esteemed professional in the craft beer industry, I would behave appropriately. But, we all know that The Wench is the “Being of Pure ID” (as deemed by WineBizRadio), and my hedonistic side almost always prevails.

Now, to my defense, when one is feeding me delicious samples of a high-ABV barrel-aged barleywine — can one REALLY be expected to follow normal social standards? Yeah, me thinks not.

On this fateful day, Tay and I just happened to sit down next to Rebecca and Eric Giddens — the super human founders of Kern River Brewing Company (and super human is an understatement — if you “Google” Rebecca, you will find a long list of kayaking achievements:  2004 Olympic Silver Medallist, 2002 World Champion, many time National Champion and U.S. Team Member!). I had already been following the brewery on Twitter (because we know I am addicted to Social Media), but had never had the opportunity to try their beers. This unfortunate fact was quickly remedied when a few of us lucky (and rather rebellious) folk were invited to sample some of it in the Stone parking lot (Greg — plug your ears).

Sure, the beer was not at an ideal temp (pretty damn “warm”) and it was not served in the optimal glass, but HOT DAMN it was freaking tasty — regardless of the circumstances. This is when I knew that this brewery had something going on.

Naturally, as with almost everything I do, we were not as discrete as we thought we were. As evidenced by Dr. Bill’s wagging of the finger. Luckily, craft beer is all about the love, and we were quickly forgiven and fed more of the poison that got us in trouble in the first place.

Since then, I have had the opportunity to taste Kern River Brewing Company’s beers a few more times (mostly at Stone) as well as had the honor of meeting their brewmaster (and Twitter-master), Kyle Smith (yep, love at first sight … or something like that) at the 2010 Craft Brewers Conference in Chicago. Kyle is also the “man” behind much of Kern River Brewing’s social media presence.

It is safe to say that I am rather entranced with Kern River Brewing and its beers. So much so, in fact, that when my friends from New Brew Thursday offered to host me for an episode, I chose to feature “Just Outstanding IPA” — because I truly believe that beer is out of this world.

If you have a free minute, make sure to check out the video: June 17 : Just Outstanding IPA : Kern River Brewing with Special Guest The Beer Wench from New Brew Thursday on Vimeo.

The Kern River Brewing Team definitely exemplifies the two qualities that it takes to become “successful” in the industry — pure passion and a killer product. Kyle is also pretty damn good at the whole social media thing, which we all know is “pretty” important to me. I have said this before, I will say it now, and I will continue to say it from here on out — put Kern River Brewing Company on your radars. I guarantee they will make waves in the craft beer industry.

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