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Craft Coast Brews with Gambrinus IPA Malt

Hello? Is this thing plugged in? Everyone say hey to Blake Masoner, Co-Founder and Head Brewer at Oceanside, California’s Craft Coast Beer & Tacos. Blake used to play Tight End. He’s here today to “tacobout” beer, specifically one he brewed with a new IPA Malt from Gambrinus Malting 

Established in 2020, Craft Coast pairs authentic Baja-style tacos with handcrafted Hazy IPAs, West Coast IPAs, and fan-favorite Agua Baja, a dazzling Mexican Lager rumored to possess restorative healing properties.  

BSG: How’d this California treasure come to be, Blake? 

Blake Masoner, Craft Coast Beer & Tacos: You know, it sounds so simple, beer and tacos. But me and my buddies were struggling to find one spot that did both. We were going around and getting tacos at our favorite spots, and then we were drinking either the beer that I was brewing at home in our garage, or the beer I was brewing [where I worked]. Our whole goal was to get it all under one roof – focus heavily on the beer and make the food an additional showcase. 

It was probably 2017 when we started getting serious about it. In 2020, we went out, got our investors, found our location, and started building out Craft Coast from the ground up. 

BSG: Tell us more about the beers you brew.  

Blake: We’re known for IPA of various strengths and clarities. We do West Coast IPAs with different hops, malts, and yeasts depending on where we wanna go with it. Our number-two seller is a Hazy called Shootz Mahalo. Super tropical and really soft, it won a World Beer Cup bronze in 2022. And our numberone selling beer is our Mexican Lager, Agua Baja. That one just took off from the start. My ethos at the time [we opened] was, I wasn’t going to brew the same beer twice. But the demand for Mexican Lager changed that. If you come to Craft Coast, that beer will always be on draft and in a fermenter at some phase of production. 

BSG: We heard you were first to brew with the new Gambrinus IPA Malt. Is that right? 

Blake: Yes. We brewed a West Coast IPA called Plug Walk. The name comes from a hip-hop song by Rich the Kid. It’s about meeting up with your connect – the guy you get your stuff from. Jim Wiggins [BSG Sales Support Service Manager] asked if we’d be interested in bringing in this new Gambrinus malt. And then we got everything for this beer from BSG. 

BSG: How’d the malt perform? 

Blake: I’ve used Gambrinus malt through my whole career. I’ve used their Pilsner in different West Coast IPAs. I’ve used it in several Hazies. It was a no-brainer to try the new IPA Malt, and we did a West Coast IPA called Plug Walk. A West Coast IPA felt like the best platform to start with. It smelled really good when we mashed it in. We used a little acidulated malt with it and a bag of dextrose to get that clean finish we were looking for. Everything went great on the brewhouse side. The lauter was great. It gave us some good confidence that the recipe that we had written was gonna work.  

BSG: What else is in the recipe for Plug Walk? 

Blake: We wanted to keep the BSG motif throughout, so I used Amarillo extract as bittering in the mid-kettle. Then we complemented that with Sultana and more T-90 Amarillo. This was my first time brewing with Sultana. Completely new for this batch. It brings the resin, and a fruity character that’s kind of pineapple.  

We pitched with US-05 [Fermentis SafAle™ US-05] and once we started to get through fermentation, it was super fruity. It had this really cool Ruby grapefruit character and I was pretty stoked on that. And then it finished off real dry, too.  

For dry-hopping, we added the Nectaron in with some more Amarillo and Sultana, and that really brought out the tropical fruit and resinous profiles. Once we got the beer into the bright and it was finished and carbed, it cleared up really well.  

BSG: What’s your take on the final beer? How’d Plug Walk turn out? 

Blake: It has some cool hop attributes and a nice malt finish that balances out all the hop material. There’s a little bit of a bready character that helps keep the palate clean. One term I keep coming back to is balance. Because [the malt] is unique and made for IPA, it really does balance the finish and kind of round it off when you’re putting some intentional IBU into your beer. Having a little malt character helps and makes it unique from Pilsner and 2-row. 

BSG: What taco do you pair with Plug Walk? 

Blake: Al pastor. Add the spiciest sauce you can handle. We have a good green Serrano salsa. It’s hot, but it’s got great flavor and it works great with an IPA. 

Jim Wiggins: Al pastor with Serrano salsa. That’s what I had when I visited. It was a delight. 

Blake: They’re legit. Our folks in the kitchen are top notch and yeah, they’re crushing it. 

BSG: What would you tell another brewer considering Gambrinus IPA Malt? 

Blake: I would use it again. Use it in any way that you would use a 2-Row or something equivalent. If you use it in a West Coast IPA, it’s gonna give you a little bit more of that traditional malt character. Not so much of the 100% new-school vibe where it’s just bone-dry and there’s nothing there, no malt to talk about. 

BSG: Anything else going on at Craft Coast that you want to tell us about, Blake? 

Blake: Yeah, we have another restaurant in the works. And then we’re working on finalizing a brewery expansion. By mid or late 2024, you should be able to see some Craft Coast beers in cans. Once we fulfill the expansion, we’ll be able pursue new markets and new customers, and just keep trying to grow it organically with the demand. We’ve been lucky so far. 

BSG: We want to thank you, Blake, for helping us “Plug” the new Gambrinus IPA Malt and for sharing your time with us. Bon appétit! 

Craft Beer & Brewing Podcast Episode 341
Ashton Lewis of BSG, Ken Smith of Gambrinus, and Blake Masoner of Craft Coast join the Craft Beer & Brewing podcast to discuss what Gambrinus IPA Malt is and how to use it effectively. Crack open a cold drink and tune in!

Sign up below for updates about the new IPA Malt from Gambrinus Malting, now available at a BSG warehouse near you.

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