Thursday 24th May 2012
This is relatively new brewery as it opened in 2007. It's located in an industrial unit about two to three miles north of downtown. It is possible to get close by public bus but it is not that easy, see below.
It is a very well presented brewery. Through the entrance and you are in the small tasting room which is decorated with comedic beer signs; I'm sure you know the kind.
There was a good selection of beers and I had a choice of the following: Hefeweizen (5.2%); Pale Ale (5.8%) in the California style; Brown Ale (5.8%) of the Northern English variety; IPA (7.0%) a homage to the English variety rather than the US version. There was also Pepin "The Short" Porter (5.8%) again in the British style.
There may a clue as to why there are so many beers that owe their origins to UK styles as the mother of one of owners was in the Tasting Room and she hailed originally from Manchester. For each anniversary of the founding of the brewery they make a beer aged in oak Bourbon barrels and Scotch Ale (see below) is one of these.
Victoria (11.0%) is an interesting beer, said to be in the style of an American Strong Ale, which it certainly is! It's named after Victoria Avenue in Riverside, where they purchase oranges, the zests of which are used in the brew. It also has honey added but there are lots of hops to balance the taste. It is actually bitterer than the IPA. There were also two specials: Scotch Ale (12.0%!) and Raspberry Porter (5.8%). I passed on all three of these beers and the Hefeweizen also.
However I did take four and this is what I thought. Pepin "The Short" Porter was very good, not assertive yet well balanced. Pale Ale was excellent, well balanced with a good bitter finish. IPA was also very good having a slightly fruity taste followed by a dry finish. Finally I had Brown Ale which had the typical brown malty taste of the style but with a nice bitter finish. In all, these are four extremely well-crafted ales.
Whilst I was sampling these beers I was asked if I would like to take a quick look at the brewery so I did. It was immaculately clean and I tried to image it when they were mashing or brewing.
So Inland Empire is well worth the journey from the downtown area. Finally, I'd like to give a word of thanks to the gentleman who gave me a lift back to Riverside station after I was let down by a taxi.
Inland Empire Brewing Tasting Room, 1211 Palmyrita Avenue, Riverside, CA. 92507
Tel: (951) 643 7687
Open: Wednesday and Thursday 11.00-19.00; Friday and Saturday 11.00-21.00
Sunday to Tuesday: Closed. However, there are sometimes open on these days at holiday periods, so please check.
Should you wish to try and get to the brewery by public transport, this seems to be the best way. Catch the 12 bus from downtown in a northbound direction and alight at Columbia Avenue. Walk along this road in an easterly direction under the freeway. Turn left into East La Cadena Drive but be careful as this is an intersection with slip roads onto the Freeway. Walk along this road to Palmyrita Avenue. The brewery is in a series of industrial units found on the right hand side and is on the right of the building. The frequency of the bus is hourly Mondays to Fridays and every 55 minutes on Saturdays (!). It's quicker by taxi!