“This is how red ales are done on the West coast.” boasts the Aztec Brewing Company in their advertising. But never mind the red ales, this is how great beers in all styles are done.
Aztec was brewing under the name ABC (Aztec Brewing Company) in San Diego having been moved from Mexico after prohibition. The brewery was later sold and retired sometime in the 1950’s.
In 2008, John Webster discovered the name and decided to revive it. With his partner, Claudia Faulk he re-opened Aztec in 2011 with brewmaster Rob Esposito.
Now the brewery is run by the beer-making team Rob and Paul Naylor whose combined knowledge and boundless enthusiasm produces some very interesting beers.
As you would expect the beers give more than a nod to their south American heritage. Diablo De Los Robles is an American barley wine which at 10.6% ABV will kick your Gringo cojones.
At 38 IBU the Cacao Chocolate Porter aged on organic cacao nibs is malty rather than hoppy. And the dark chocolate nibs add a rich semisweet character that would go superbly with barbecue ribs (preferably pork and not dad’s).
One of my favorite beers is the Noche de los Muertos, (the night of the dead), a brilliantly bitter Imperial Stout that clocks in a 10.2% ABV. “You’d better believe the name and tread carefully on the dead.”