We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be invited out to Knee Deep Brewing up in Auburn for a little beer tasting. Located way up in Auburn, it isn’t the closest brewery but with their amazing selection of current beers as well as many experimental beers, the drive is well worth it. If you are not familiar with Knee Deep, here is some information about their company:
In June 2010 our Brewmaster Jeremy Warren founded Knee Deep Brewing Company, LLC. For the first few months of operation, Knee Deep was “contract brewing” beers at Mt. Tallac Brewing in beautiful Lake Tahoe and selling kegs exclusively into the Northern Nevada (Reno) market. In the fall of 2010, Jeremy and Jerry Moore (our CEO & Janitor) met, sampled a few of Jeremy’s creations and ultimately agreed to work together to get more than “Knee Deep” in a premium craft beer brewery. For the balance of 2010, Knee Deep Brewing Company continued to “contract brew” and sell kegs in Northern Nevada.
In the first quarter of 2011, the company reached an agreement to lease the former Beermann’s Brewery in Lincoln, CA. During the renovation and startup phase Knee Deep’s beers continued to be contract brewed in another brewery in California. In May 2011, our first batch of beer was brewed in our Lincoln brewery. Over time we phased out the contract brewing and now all our beers were brewed at our Lincoln facility. At that time we had two UC Davis trained brewers operating 7 days a week. At first, our beers could be found throughout California and also in Arizona, Nevada, Ohio and Idaho. In 2012 we had started our “Loading Dock Friday Growler Sales”, where it was possible to purchase a growler of the freshest possible Knee Deep beer directly from the brewery. Growler sales were, as described, conducted at the loading dock.
Knee Deep Brewing’s brews have received several awards; most notably our Hoptologist DIPA took the Gold Medal in 2013 at The Bistro 14th Annual DIPA Festival. Knee Deep Brewing Company has a rapidly growing reputation and we are becoming known for our unique blends and creative outlook on brewing. We take pride in our reputation and strive to continue brewing outstanding craft beers.
Fast forward to 2015, Knee Deep beers are now brewed in our new 18,000 square foot facility in Auburn, CA. Our 15 barrel brew house has been replaced with a 40 barrel 4 vessel system. Our 15 barrel fermenters are no more and we now ferment our beers in 60, 90 and 120 barrel tanks. Our regular beers now total 14 and we also produce special releases and seasonal beers. Visitors to our tasting room will see rows of barrels filled with Knee Deep beers, the beer in these barrels will be aging and available to the public in mid 2015.
“Loading Dock Fridays” are gone as well. Instead of standing outdoors (rain or shine) to purchase a growler of our beer, visitors can now purchase growlers or bottles in our new tasting room, which is larger than our previous Lincoln brewery. Our tasting room also offers an unobstructed view of brewery operations and guests can enjoy samples of our beer while watching us brew, filter or even bottle the finished product.
We have added the states of Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Hawaii, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, to our distribution network and we ship internationally as well. The one constant at Knee Deep is the quality of our product. We continue to brew great beer and receive recognition and awards both locally and nationally.
The taproom at Knee Deep has plenty of space and the atmosphere is great. Tons of tables to sit at and a nice big screen TV with sports on (probably the SF Giants). One other great thing is that they are dog-friendly, which is a huge deal for us because we take our dog to as many places as we can. Only a handful of breweries in Sacramento let you bring your dog inside, those being Device Brewing, New Glory and Bike Dog. One look at all of the tanks in their facility, you finally understand how they are able to brew and distribute as much beer as they do. They have recently expanded distribution to states such as Oregon and Massachusetts.
The one thing that will immediately catch your eye is the sheer size of their facility. It’s HUGE! Once you get past that, you’ll notice that they have two big TVs behind the bar, one that shows “Year-Round Offerings” and the other showing “Experimental Beers”. I was blown away (and extremely excited) when I saw the size of their experimental beers list. Knee Deep makes some great beers and to see a huge list of beers from them that I’ve never heard of or tried, made me quite excited for the tasting that was about to happen. Without hesitation, we started with two flights, including all beers from the experimental list. Here is a break-down of those beers.
Not So Winter Wheat – Belgian Golden Strong, 8% ABV, 25 IBU – Golden copper appearance, VERY floral aroma with some pear and apple, hints of citrus and fruity flavors. Belgian yeast taste with a nice sweetness.
J-Town – IPA, 6.5% ABV, 50 IBU – Clear golden color, floral aroma with a hint of melon. Taste follows the nose with floral and earthy tones with some sweetness as well. Lightly bitter aftertaste lingers.
Spring Sipper – DIPA, 8% ABV, Perfect IBU – Clear orange color, aroma was tough on this one. None of us could really pick up any noticeable flavors in the aroma. At first taste you get a very complex flavor that really works nicely. Zesty orange, grapefruit lemon and pine. Lingering bitter.
Aviator #8 – DIPA, 8.5% ABV, 100 IBU – Clear golden color, nice floral aroma with medium hops. Big peach flavor in this one with a nice big hoppy flavor as well. Not as bitter as expected.
Dean’s English Mild – British Mild, 3% ABV, 17 IBU – Pours a dark black color, slightly malty aroma. Low alcohol, easy to drink with malty and caramel notes.
Hop Refresher – Session IPA, 4% ABV, 40 IBU – Bright golden color, very hoppy nose. Taste is big time hops with slight citrus. Didn’t expect so many hops but now I understand why it’s called “Hop Refresher”.
Wallonia IPA – Belgian IPA, 6.5% ABV, 50 IBU – Pours a clear orange amber color, Belgian yeast aroma with herbal notes in there. Taste is definitely of Belgian wheat, slight hops and a bit herbal. Very light and smooth.
Stow The Croze – Dry-Hopped American Barleywine, 11% ABV, 100 IBU – Pours a hazy copper, aroma is citrusy and caramel. Fruit dominates the taste with some vanilla, orange and light pine. A big boozy finish in the aftertaste.
Knee Deep really does have a beer for everyone. My wife and mom are not big beer drinkers but will indulge themselves every once in a while and they both got a glass of the Tanilla Porter and they both really enjoyed it. My little sister almost NEVER drinks beer and she actually thought the Stow The Croze Barleywine was great, which really surprised me.
If there is one thing Knee Deep does well, it’s making big, hoppy IPAs. They have quickly turned into one of my top breweries in the area with their diverse selection of beers. Now that their Brewmaster Jeremy Warren has moved on to work on his own, I’m excited to see what Knee Deep will do to continue to push the limits of these hoppy beers and continue to produce some of the best beers in the Northern California. If you haven’t made it to their brewery/taproom, I highly recommend making the trip. Lastly, a big thank you to Knee Deep and their amazing hospitality.