In 2015, the Brewers Association added a new category to the world’s largest annual brewing competition, the Great American Beer Festival. That style, “Session IPA,” comprises India pale ales coming in under 5% alcohol-by-volume. Societe Brewing was proud to take the first gold medal in that category with its “Really Small IPA,” The Coachman. Crafting a low-ABV IPA is very difficult. With less body and balancing alcohol, many come across as wimpy, watery or unappetizingly out of balance. It took a great deal of thought and tinkering to get ours just right, and it was an honor to be recognized on the industry’s largest stage for that accomplishment. And it was even more satisfying this weekend when The Coachman struck GABF gold in the Session IPA category again, cementing its status as the best beer of its style in the country.

The Coachman wins gold at the Great American Beer Festival

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Around here, we’re very selective about every ingredient that goes into our beer, but none so obsessively as when it comes to hops. We offer numerous IPAs, but each has its own distinct character thanks to the blends of hops that form the basis for their flavors and aromas. In 2014, our brewing team desired to learn as much as possible about the sensory aspects of individual hop varietals, so they developed a recipe for a single-hop IPA and began producing the beer on a continual basis, utilizing a different hop each time around. Dubbed The Bachelor for the way it played the (hop) field, that single-hop canvas has provided our brewers a crystal-clear interpretation of the 30 varietals that have rotated into its makeup. Detailed records of each hop’s assets (and even some of their shortcomings) have been kept from day one. That stockpile was an invaluable tool in 2017 when our brewers set out to construct a new, contemporary IPA called The Fiddler, which would fall in line with the storied likes of The Pupil, The Apprentice and The Coachman IPAs.

The Fiddler IPA

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Thanks chiefly to the dueling musical affinities of its founders, Societe has classically revolved around the bluegrass and death-metal genres. Earlier this year, we started offering Metal Yoga sessions with our friends from San Diego Metal Yoga. Taking place on the last Saturday of each month, each featured rocking playlists, including one developed by our very own Doug Constantiner. It’s been such a hit, that we decided to go the equal-opportunity route, establishing a new monthly tradition: Bluegrass Yoga, which is led by certified yoga instructor Renda Nazzal, and takes place the second Saturday of every month. To keep things simple, the events mirror each other. Each starts at 10:30 a.m., with a price of $15 per person that includes an hour-long session plus a ticket for a full pour of Societe beer afterward (in the serene environs of our tasting room, which doesn’t open until noon). No matter your musical tastes, you can find inner peace (and awesome beer) in the friendly confines of your (hopefully) favorite San Diego brewery.

Bluegrass and Metal Yoga poster

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Thanks to all of you, we have enjoyed six incredible years being part of San Diego’s amazing craft-brewing scene. To celebrate, we toyed with ideas for grandiose events spanning multiple days and a multitude of (overly) complicated initiatives, but in the end we decided that saying “thank you” to our fans was paramount, and that doing so should be simple and straightforward. And that’s what this year’s anniversary festivities will be all about. Beginning Wednesday, June 6 (6/6…get it?, we will have special-edition glassware on sale for $10 each (that includes your first beer). These fine-looking collectibles fit nicely with the specialty glasses we’ve produced for each of our preceding anniversaries. Adding to their worth is the fact we will take $1 off of every beer that we pour into SOCIETE 6 glasses from June 6 to 30. This even applies to our Feral ales and, extra-special bonus, these glasses hold more than our standard tasting-room glassware, so this equates to quite the multi-week economic coup.

Commemorative Societe sixth-anniversary glassware

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May 3, 2018 marked a significant moment in the history of our brewery, as co-founder and brewmaster Travis Smith took the stage with Societe colleagues Kevin Schmaltz and Mike Boggess to accept Societe’s first-ever World Beer Cup gold medal in Nashville, Tennessee. That heavy metal was earned by The Thief, a wine-barrel-aged Feral ale rested on Grenache Blanc grapes our brewing team hand-processed with our friends at Escondido’s Vesper Vineyards. Inoculated with Brettanomyces and our house blend of pleasantly-invasive microorganisms, it took top honors in the Mixed Culture Brett Beer category thanks to its balance, exotic flavors (earthiness, spice, vinousness) and a complex, distinctive funk. All too often, award-winning beers are hard to come by, but we are happy to report that we still have a respectable inventory of 500-milliliter, corked-and-caged bottles of the winning vintage (2017) of The Thief available in our tasting room. Stop on by and get a taste of this milestone beer while supplies last!

Societe's team accepts World Beer Cup gold medal for The Thief Feral Ale with Locally Grown Grenache Blanc

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Her patch of land may be a bit obscured from the heavily-trodden thoroughfares, the ways and culture of her and her community less understood than those of the mainstream. Nevertheless, The Baroness has ascended the social order, earning her nobility through a deep-seeded devotion to heritage and artisanship. She is proud of where she comes from and weaves her homeland’s history into each barrel of golden elixir she spins into thirst-sating wondrousness from the friendly confines of her feudal domicile. She sees it as a means of telling the story of her people, a lot far too often mistaken for being soft, simple or lacking ambition. She and her neighbors may be soft-spoken, but there is structure and intricacy in their delicate nature…beauty even. This is what she conveys in every glass.

The Baroness Helles Lager

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Visitors to our tasting room will notice a brand-new version of a long-time beer, our single-hope lager, The Bachelorette. This comely, perpetually-unattached femme fatale has brought on a new beau, and he’s at the heart of our new offering, The Bachelorette with Simcoe “Shake.” What, pray tell, is “Shake,” you ask? ‘Tis a valid question and one that can be adequately, nay, expertly explained by Societe co-founder and brewmaster Travis Smith

Placard for The Bachelorette with Simcoe "Shake" Single-Hop Lager

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As one would expect from a brewery, there are plenty of Societe staffers who know how to make good beer, but what you might not be aware of is how many of our folks know their way around a kitchen. On any given day, there are multiple home-made goodies gracing our offices, a number of which incorporate Societe beer. Rather than keep these treats to ourselves, we’ll be sharing some of our favorites, starting with the one with the best name: “Debu-Tots.”

Debu-Tots with The Debutante Belgian Amber Ale

Named for the beer that’s incorporated into its recipe, The Debutante Belgian-style Amber Ale, this dish is a take on the classic Canadian street food, poutine. Instead of fries, good ol’ freezer-section tater-tots form the base for adorning with cheese curds, bacon bits, chives and, best of all, beer gravy made with The Debutante. The result is a down-home symphony of delectable flavors and varied textures that, not surprisingly, also pairs exceptionally well with our abundantly food-friendly Belgian amber.

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With a name like Wine Enthusiast, one might expect the publication to focus solely on the liquid exports of vineyards, but this national magazine and online outlet pays close attention to all adult beverages, including spirits and, yes, beer! They’re astute enough that they even keep tabs on little guys like us. In fact, one of our beers, The Savage Feral Dark Ale with Cherries, made it all the way to #14 on the Top 25 Beers of 2017 list in their annual best-of issue. As one can imagine, we were touched and elated. Here are the nice things Beer Editor Lauren Buzzeo had to say about this beer (that we happen to be pretty keen on, too).

Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Wines of 2017 Issue

Societe The Savage Feral (American Wild Ale; Societe Brewing Company, CA). This blended-barrel ale is matured in wine barrels and aged with cherries. A beautiful and well-balanced sour, it pours an expected reddish-brown color, with a light head that falls somewhat fast. The nose packs some punch, with assertive notes of sour cherries, sweet oak, plum sauce, balsamic and vanilla bean, alongside shadings of pepper and baking spice. The palate is full but lifted, with bright acidity and vinous tones to counter the rich chocolate-dusted cherry and sweet wood flavors. This savage is worth seeking out. 92 points

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We received an early Christmas present when the beer connoisseurs from Paste Magazine named our humble operation one of the 10 best breweries of the entire 2017 calendar year. It’s always an honor to receive accolades from individuals who truly care about beer (and if you have read Paste‘s coverage, you can tell that they harbor both an affinity and devotion to craft ales and lagers), but in introducing us and explaining why they selected us, writer James Vorel had some particularly nice things to say. He’s really taken the time to get to know us beyond the foamy surface of our beer portfolio, and that means a lot to us. We were so touched we wanted to share his words with all of you.

Paste Magazine Logo

Societe Brewing Company, San Diego, CA: Societe is a brewery that has not yet placed at #1 in a Paste blind tasting…but it’s also a brewery where it feels like it’s probably only a matter of time. They’re just a consistently impressive San Diego outfit, whether they’re turning out clean, crisp IPAs or lovely barrel-aged wild ales. Every year at [the Great American Beer Festival], they always seem to bring something that captures my attention in a way that is unique—this year it was their hop-forward stout, The Volcanist, which seems to be on a mission to revive one of the industry’s most neglected beer styles, the “American-style stout.” They just do everything well, from pilsner to imperial stout, and all of those beers tend to have one thing in common—they are pristine and immaculate in terms of their execution. Clean, crisp beer is the trademark we’ve come to associate with Societe, and it’s part of the reason why their entries seem to score well in every blind tasting they enter. They make a pilsner that is a great example of west coast pils, and a session IPA that is a great argument in favor of why we should bother making and drinking session IPA. All that, and they’ve got some of the best-looking labels, iconography and growlers in the game today. Societe is a very complete package.

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