YellowTrail Kölsch, a beer brewed collaboratively with Thorn Brewing at Latchkey Brewing in Mission Hills

From the Beer Writer: Imagine if you will, a group of brewers gather to discuss an upcoming collaboration project, determine they want to brew a German-style beer, but decide they can’t go with a lager because, gosh darn it, the host brewery simply has too many lagers on the board already. I never thought I’d see the day or such an over-lagered beer board in America’s Finest City, but that’s the situation that played out when Thorn Brewing head brewer Doug Pominville and Latchkey Brewing recently teamed up around Oktoberfest. As a compromise, the collaborators brewed an ale fermented like a lager, YellowTrail Kölsch. While the name seems to reference the Wizard of Oz’s famed yellow-brick road, there’s more to it than that. Pominville used to work at Miramar-based Ballast Point Brewing. So did his wife, who now manages Latchkey’s Mission Hills tasting room. And so did Latchkey brewers, Anthony Beach and co-founder Gerald Dolente. That local operation was once well known for its Yellowtail Pale Ale, which, despite its name, was actually a Kölsch. It now goes by the name California Kölsch, following monetary compensation from Australian wine company, Yellow Tail, and rebranding from BP parent company, Constellation Brands. That’s a complicated story for the origins of a decidedly uncomplicated beer. It comes across light and crisp yet flavorful on the palate, registering at a modest 5.2% alcohol-by-volume. It’s an ale that checks all the German (and San Diego) lager boxes.

From the Brewers: “Collaboration is key and one of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of the beer industry. At Latchkey we are constantly attempting to connect with old and new friends to create opportunities to share everything–  from knowledge and techniques, too laughs and recipes. This collaboration was talked about over pints at Latchkey over a year ago. This collaboration with Doug and Thorn allowed us to not only broaden the brewed beer styles at Latchkey but also to connect with a new craft maltster in Skagit Malting. We look forward to collaborating with Doug and the crew at Thorn Barrio in the future. And don’t be surprised if this beer is re-brewed several more times!”Anthony Beach, Head Brewer, Latchkey Brewing

“Anthony and I had been chatting for a few months about collab-ing on a brew together.  We went back and forth between a hazy,  a West Coast, or maybe something crispy, with us finally settling on something crispy and quaffable that we’d want to drink. Then with their Oktoberfest party around the corner, a Kölsch seemed the way to go without tying up a tank for too long.  Both of us are no strangers to brewing up Kölsch beers; we decided to give a nod to that beer when naming ours, that we knew all the OGs would truly appreciate.”Doug Pominville, Head Brewer, Thorn Brewing