IT WAS ABOUT 2016 THAT WE STARTED GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT OUR BEER RELEASES. What that meant for a production brewery like us, is that the days of waking up and brewing whatever we felt like, all willy-nilly, were over. Although, at the time we had a busy Vista Tap House and 24 handles to keep up with, as well as customers that had come to expect a certain variety, we also had to consider our distributors and retailers. The industry was booming and with a brewery on every corner, drinkers were becoming overwhelmed with the number of choices on the shelf. In an effort to simplify our book and reduce the number of offerings we put out, we came out with a release calendar that essentially served as guide to all the beers we produce and when folks could look forward to getting them. That didn't stop the Tap House from cranking out beers every couple weeks, but it certainly made us think long and hard about what we were putting out there into the [beer] world. The result of the last several years of tinkering has allowed us to really distill down our offerings to include the highest quality, most popular brews, albeit, at the expense of some legacy brands.
By the way, if you want to know more about why certain brands are discontinued we explain the rationale in this blog post.
Over the last 3 months, we asked a number of our customers and retailers what beers they were most looking forward to this year and ranked them. Keep reading to see what the top pick was.
Ok, well, Project X is a series so this one encompasses five new beers in one shot, but our rotating Hazy IPA won't have a slouch in the bunch, so it's safe to say all five (down from six last year) are going to knock your socks off.
What makes them special? Since launching the program in 2019, we challenged our brewers to create a new and unique beer every few months and focus on a different element through intensive R&D. Whether it's the level of haze, bitterness, hop character, alcohol-to-malt balance, body, etc. The result is a series of beers that delivers something fresh and exciting every time a new one is released - no small feet for what, at the end of the day, is fundamentally the same beer style. That's the beauty about beer though. Just 4 ingredients can yield an infinite number of results. On top of the delicious variety within each can, we've got a whole new lineup of artists with myriad art stylings to accentuate and introduce each beer.
Look for a total of five releases spread throughout the year, all brewed with one goal in mind - dress to impress. Read more about the program and our current release here.
Since 2014, the 4Seasons program represents what we like to call the crème de la crème of our beer catalogue. Similar to the Project X Series, 4Seasons rotates every season, falling on the appropriate solstice or equinox. So what has historically made this series so sought after? Achieving the level of luxury that it has become known for is no easy task. Each beer gestates for almost a year, beginning with the procurement of toasted oak barrels, typically of Bourbon origin, at which point the base Imperial Stout is brewed and laid to rest in the casks for a period of 6-12 months depending on the age of the barrels and desired outcome of the finished product. At that point, any additional flavors that weren't added earlier in the process, are now added just before packaging. Throughout every step of the way, multiple employees are involved to bring the beer to life. From raw materials, to labor, to time and storage, the cost to produce these beers is exorbitant, which is why you will find these beers around $10-12 for a single can.
The exception to the rule is our Summer release which is typically a collaboration with a like minded brewery to give us all some breathing room from the big, boozy stouts that stain our shirts three quarters out of the year. Which leads us to the next item...
Craft beer collabs are back baby! One of the casualties of the pandemic was collaborations, which for obvious reasons were put on hold from about March or April of 2020 for a year or two depending on the municipality and the sensitivity of those involved. Thankfully for all of us things are back in full swing and gathering with our brewing brethren has never been more enjoyable.
Following the success of our traditional summer collabs with breweries like Brasserie Du Pays Flamand, Automatic, The Bruery, Fremont, and most recently Revision (4Seasons Summer '14, '15, '17, '19, '22, respectively) we're lining up another kick-ass friendship brew to lineup with this year's 4Seasons Summer release in addition to local collabs brewed exclusively for our tap rooms, like last year's with Second Chance out of San Diego. With two regional breweries and an amazingly supportive brewing community, collaborations are going to be something we can all celebrate once again.
CALI CREAMIN' PEACHES & CREAM
SURPRISE! Sort of. Cali Creamin' variants have been fan-favorites dating back to the early days of the Vista Tap House. Cherry, strawberry, blueberry, and even Horchata have all flowed through the taps and over taste buds, but Peaches & Cream was the overwhelmingly favorite and the natural choice to bring to market full time in a can.
With the massive success of our original flagship and it's Orange-flavored sibling, Cali Creamin' Creamsicle, it should come as no surprise we're releasing a peach version of Cali Creamin' this spring on draft and in a combo pack that features a mix of the three family flavors as a 12-can variety. More information on this exciting release will be available in the coming months.
"Where can I find these?" you may be wondering. Where's the nearest craft beer store near me that carries Mother Earth? You're asking yourself? Visit our beer finder and enter your zip to search near you.