The Brewery: A name like Beer Research Institute could conjure images of white coat laboratory technicians analyzing the inner most secrets of beer under high power microscopes. But in Mesa, the "B.R.I." — as it is called by locals — should really just make you think of fresh, local beer made in very small batches. The "research" part is done by the patrons who get to enjoy these beers one pint at a time.
B.R.I. is located in a strip mall at the intersection of Stapley and Rt. 60 at 1641 S. Stapley Drive in Mesa. This small, local brewery experiments with traditional styles, customizing them to produce something unique. Those who like tried and true light lagers may not appreciate the changes, but B.R.I. introduces brand new styles and ingredients to a craft beer landscape that's always looking for something fresh. A recent visit showcased the brewery's entire lineup of beers, which were mostly impressive due to the creative and innovative brew styles.
The Brewer: Head Brewer Greg Sorrels creates a wide range of styles at B.R.I., focusing on yeast-forward Belgian styles and West Coast-style hoppy beers. Highlights of the B.R.I.'s lineup include the following beers:
Lolli: This Belgian Blonde ale balances pilsner malt sweetness with pleasant yeast phenolics which provide most of the beer's flavor, finishing crisp and clean. At 8.0% ABV and 27 IBU, this is not a session or gateway beer by any means, but a great beer for those who like a blonde beer but simply want more flavor than what you get from typical American examples. Consider this a blonde with an attitude.
Belgian Tickler: This Belgian Dark Strong-style ale presents flavors and aromas of dark fruit, pleasant alcohol warmth, and raisins with lingering sweetness. However, at just 6.1% it's a very light example for the style, and lacks some of the big alcohol wallop a beer connoisseur would expect in a beer of this style. Consider it either a Belgian Dark Strong "light" or even more representative of a Belgian Dubbel.
Intergalactic: This Saison leads with notes of black pepper in the aroma and flavor, supported by fruity peach, and notes of alcohol. It's a hearty beer at 7.7% ABV even with some residual sweetness. This beer style is usually ultra-attenuated (fully fermented) and extra dry, the only minor shortcoming of Intergalactic.
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War Paint Red IPA: This is a beautiful scarlet red color beer that's crystal clear with a tan colored head. It offerspPine hop aroma supported by caramel and light buttery notes. And at 7.3% ABV and 59 IBU, it's a hop lover's delight though not so overpowering that someone new to craft beer couldn't enjoy a pint. Overall this is a very accessible beer despite its alcohol strength.
Street Cred: The star of the show, this Black IPA (or Cascadian Dark Ale, if you prefer) is completely balanced, malty and hoppy, with reserved aromatics of roast malts and citrus. To best envision what this beer is like, picture blending a Porter and an IPA, and getting the best characteristics of each.
Not every beer at Beer Research Institute was a home run, but that's to be expected of any brewery's lineup. The Beer Research Institute recently celebrated its one year anniversary and is doing a great job for a brewery that's just starting to get settled in. The beers are solid, the ambience is good (despite being a little too well lit), and the service is outstanding.
For more information visit the Beer Research Institute website.