Simconaut IPA Is One Small Step for CASA
Ever since opening in late 2015, Casa Agria Specialty Ales (CASA) has gained attention across the country for their unfiltered IPAs and fruity, sour beers. They typically tap new beers on Thursdays in their Oxnard tasting room, drawing in a crowd of regulars and newcomers alike. On this particular Thursday, I came in to try their latest release — a hazy, unfiltered IPA. Aptly named “Simconaut“, it is brewed with oats and features Simcoe hops, which give it an earthy citrus and pine nose.
Clean Beer Blasts Off at CASA
Simconaut is a special beer for a few reasons: up until now, CASA has been brewing their wort — the sugary liquid that eventually becomes beer — solely at The Lab Brewing Co in Agoura Hills. Moving forward, CASA will also brew all of their “clean” (non-sour) beers at Ventura Coast Brewing Company (Instagram). Brewing at VCBC allows CASA to have more control over the water profile, which is extremely important in clean beers like IPAs, pale ales, and stouts. It also allows them to brew twice a week, doubling their current production.
Also, Simconaut is the result of CASA’s expansion into an additional 2000 square foot facility directly across the parking lot from their current location at 701 Del Norte Blvd. They plan to use this new area primarily for barrel storage, bottle conditioning, and member beer releases. For now, it has allowed them to make much more room available at their primary location — enough space for a 15-barrel fermenter and two smaller fermenters that will be dedicated to clean beers. Simconaut, coincidentally, is the first beer that has fermented in the new fermenters.
In clean beers, infections can occur. These are usually caused by bacterial contaminations that can come from any number of sources. As the bacteria reproduces, it introduces unintended off-tastes into the beer. Sour beers, on the other hand, often have bacteria that is added intentionally, which can give them distinct flavors often described as funky, tart, or mouth-puckering. Maintaining separate sour and clean brewing facilities, fermenters, and a barrel-aging area goes a long way to prevent any cross-contamination. CASA will continue to keep a close eye on Simconaut to see how the flavors develop over time. Once they’re confident that the risk of infection in their clean brewing process is minimal, they plan to begin regularly canning beers.
A Bright, Tasty Future
Here’s the scoop on what’s next for CASA: in their new facility, they’ve recently received three Woodford Reserve and three Four Roses bourbon barrels. A stout is going into them within a few weeks. The next member beer is Flesh and Stone, which is an aprium and Rainer cherry saison. It is bottled and ready for release. This past Sunday, they’ve bottled Guayaba de Oro, their Berliner base beer on guava, which was on tap in the tasting room for Hunahpu Day. In the next few weeks, they plan on bottling two variants of their golden sour base beer — one aged on peaches, and the other plums:
Additionally, they have sourced Paw Paw fruit from Indiana, which they plan on using in an undecided Fall-themed beer. They also have a buckwheat saison aged on white grapes, to which they added some of their golden sour and pressed white grapes.
Simconaut Isn’t Just One Small Step for CASA
Simconaut is, however, just a small preview of what we can expect from CASA in the future; passion for craft beer embodied within fruited sours, hazy IPAs, and much more. As they grow, I look forward to what CASA brings to us here in Ventura County.
With the impending addition of canned beers to their already impressive tap and bottle lineup, I expect to see a lot more chatter about CASA along the hopvine.
Full disclosure: I am a CASA Founding Member.