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A Visit to Stereo Brewing

11-27-2019 | By Victor Chavira | Issue 106

Now celebrating its 3rd year of operation, Stereo Brewing is an independent craft brewery located in Placentia, California. Master brewer-owner Rick Smets created Stereo Brewing as his crowning achievement for the things he is passionate about, great music and great beer. Given that his values dovetail perfectly with many at Positive Feedback and never lacking motivation to visit a brewery, I decided to stop in for a flight.

Like many independent craft breweries in Southern California, Stereo is located in an industrial area. The corner facility features glass walls and high ceilings giving patrons a spacious feeling and unobstructed views outside. Likewise, the brewing operation is partitioned from the taproom by glass walls. Colorful classic rock inspired tour posters decorate the walls and ubiquitous stash of board games rested on shelves. Cylindrical speakers hung suspended from above. The system lacked in soundstage but compensated with a steady stream of deep soul-funk. Two large TV screens displayed football and sporting news with the volume muted. Stereo Brewing is also dog friendly.

I ordered a flight for $12 that consisted of "Kraftwerk" kolsch" (5%), "Wall of Sound" oatmeal stout (5.6%), "Debaser" hazy IPA (7%), and "Santa Fe, NM" Hatch chili IPA (5.5%). I first tasted "Wall of Sound" oatmeal stout. The brew was very drinkable with a clean non-sticky finish. Aromas of fresh ground coffee followed by notes of semi-sweet chocolate delighted the senses and left no doubt as to its award winning status. "Kraftwerk" kolsch style also yielded very clean lightly carbonated finish with hints of yeast and touch of lemony tang. "Debaser" layered hops, zest of tangerine, spice, mild bitterness, and a warm sticky finish. My mouth and stomach yearned for a taco which Stereo provides every Tuesday night. Alas, my visit was on a Monday.

Finally, "Santa Fe, NM" is a chili forward brew that reminded me of what home smelled like when mom toasted, steamed, peeled, and prepared "chili rellenos" from scratch. 

Although not strictly belonging to the growing micro trend of Japanese inspired audiophile bars, Stereo Brewing is a fine establishment that serves extraordinary brews and music. My evening ended with the sounds of Studio One Soul spinning stylishly on a Gramavox vertical turntable behind the counter. Recommended for those with discerning tastes in beer and music.