Humble Sea Brewing Co. dates back to 2009, when Nick Pavlina decided to start homebrewing. In 2014, after five years and many, many medals, he decided to open a brewery with friends/cofounders Taylor West and Frank Scott Krueger.
The Santa Cruz, California brewery has since opened a second location right on the Pacific Coast Highway in Pacifica, California, about 60 miles north of their original locale.
Right now if you live anywhere in Cali or Nevada you can get their beers shipped directly to you. Luckily for me, my sister/brother-in-law now live nearby and were nice enough to share a few of their brews with me.
Today I have their flagship IPA, Socks & Sandals, a foggy IPA brewed with Centennial, Chinook, Citra, and Simcoe hops. The beer began as a traditional West Coast IPA but, after the haze craze hit, they tinkered with the recipe and brewed this...their first New England-style IPA. It has a solid 6.6% ABV and a single 16-ounce can will set you back $7, with a 32-ounce crowler going for $12.
There is a reason they called this beer a “foggy” IPA on their can...it poured an insanely murky muddled straw color that no light could ever hope to get through. It was topped by half an inch of dense eggshell white head that slowly, very slowly, fizzled away.
On the nose there was a nice balance of fruit and grains that resulted in the beer having a sweeter, somewhat cereal-like aroma. Flaked wheat and oats were prevalent but notes of pineapple, grapefruit rind, and tangerine matched the grist punch for punch.
To start, a short burst of carbonation flashed across my taste buds before the brew expanded into a thicker, creamier IPA with a mouthfeel that seemed to expand once it hit the tongue.
The flavors matched the aroma somewhat but, in a nice surprise, Socks & Sandals featured a slew of fruits that weren’t noticeable in the smell. Pineapple did lead it all off, with a light tartness and acidity, but it was quickly followed by a few stone fruits. Notes of peaches and apricots appeared and were followed closely behind by some tangerine and mango.
Right around the midway point a slight bitter twinge began to appear towards the back of my throat...the hops just making sure I didn’t forget this was still an IPA. WIth that bitterness, the flavor profile changed slightly - the hops transitioned from stone fruits/pineapple to more citrusy and earthy qualities.
Some light pine and grassy flavors began to sneak into the taste. And, as it all began to slowly fade away, there was a dash of lemon zest and a slightly resinous grapefruit characteristic that finished it all off.
Despite the dryness and the resinous pithy citrus flavors, the beer finished surprisingly clean. The dryness wears off quickly and there is no real aftertaste left behind...if anything, just a bit of flaked oat remains, like I just finished a bowl of Cheerios.
All in all, this was a very solid hazy IPA. It was crushable, lighter than I thought it would be, and ended up being pretty juicy with a lot of different flavors appearing. Nothing really “popped” but, when you put it all together, it was delicious...and my glass was empty before I knew it.
I could drink quite a few of these guys. If only I had more…