Modern Times is a recent addition to the southern California brewing scene, launching in 2013 supported by a Kickstarter campaign, and have focused on interesting, hybridized, style-eschewing beers. They say:
We focus (non-monogamously) on aroma-driven, complex, flavorful, sessionish beers. We often brew hybrid styles, combining the features we like from established categories to create new, Island-Of-Doctor-Moreau-style mash-ups.
And I have to say, I think they’ve got some of the best packaging design I’ve seen, a beautiful retro/throwback look that’s clean and eye-catching.
Both of the beers I picked up were from their Special Release series.
Fruitlands Sour Cherry Gose
You should know by now that I can’t pass up a Gose! This one is sessionable and intriguing, brewed with cherries and only 4.8% abv.
A sour gose that’s tart, fruity, complex, and delicious. The sour, salty base beer brings the funky refreshment, while the heavy dose of sour cherries turns the whole thing into a fruity, tasty cherry bomb. An intricate mix of flavors that works remarkably well.
Appearance: Burnt orange with pink highlights, clear, with a fizzy white head that broke quickly to none.
Smell: Lightly lactic (tart) with a cherry pie character; fruity in a very subtle way. Mellow.
Taste: Tart right up front, with a fruited character that is very cherry and stone fruit-like. Hits the Gose mark for me, lactic with a subtle saltiness, and I get the cherry juice in the back of the mouth. Well done.
Mouthfeel: Slightly puckery over a light body with a pleasant, appetizing aftertaste.
Overall: Well done, hits the right marks with a lovely subtle fruitiness.
Universal Friend Juicy Grape Saison
Another find that piqued my curiosity, a Saison brewed with grape must (the juice and crushed fruit of the grape). It’s 7.2% abv.
Universal Friend is a Saison made with grape must. The first variation features Pinot Grigio. Future varieties may include Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Universal Friend is brewed with our house Saison yeast, and has an elevated fruit and wine note from the grape must. Universal Friend is light, crisp, and refreshing. The nose is clove, grape, citrus, and a little sweetness that all carry into the flavor.
Appearance: Pale, golden color and very clear. Fizzy, crisp white head that fell to nothing right away.
Smell: Sweetish white wine character, with a bit of Belgian-esque spicy tartness and a hint of bubblegum.
Taste: Interesting, fruity-yet-wine-dry twist on a Saison. Very much in the direction of white wine, you can taste the Pinot Grigio in its makeup, and there’s the malt at the back with a bit of Saison-y spiciness and a hint of tannins. A touch of sweet grape juice too.
Mouthfeel: Light, crisp, on effervescent side—fizzy.
Overall: Pretty fascinating and an enjoyable drink. This is one to explore with food.