by Chris O’Neal
Casa Agria Specialty Ales
701 N. Del Norte Blvd., suite 310
Back in August of 2015, Casa Agria Specialty Ales was well on its way to becoming a full-fledged brewery. The oak wine barrels were resting and the 930-gallon foeders (foo-ders), special-ordered from St. Louis, had just arrived bearing that new-secondary-fermentation-tank smell.
The tasting room, while not yet completed, is expected to be fully open by mid-March, but don’t let that stop you from visiting Casa Agria off Del Norte Boulevard in Oxnard. On our visit, three beers were available: the Del Norte Pale Ale, the Agria de la Casa (a saison-inspired ale) and the La Llorona (a Gose-style, salted sour wheat ale).
Intrigued by the La Llorona, I opted for a 10-oz pour ($8). As there are at the moment no tasters available, diving in sounded like the best bet. The straw-colored, hazy ale had a nose of, oddly enough, Japanese genmaicha tea — a toasted brown rice brew — and had a distinctly sour yet mellow-savory flavor, probably from the addition of sea salt and coriander as it aged in used oak red-wine barrels. The brewery released a version aged with peaches over the weekend, too.
I would have taken a growler of the La Llorona, but due to the limited quantities, it’s not available to do so. Instead, I took a half-growler full of the Del Norte Pale, an unfiltered beer packing a high-intensity blend of Nelson, Equinox, Simcoe and Summit hops.
After our visit, the brewery released its latest offering, the MEGA Citronic, an unfiltered IPA utilizing Citra, Simcoe and Riwaka hops. I’ll have to give it a try on my next visit — and yes, I’ll be visiting again, not only to see the new tasting room but also because Casa Agria is making beer innovation look easy.
Chris O’Neal is a fan of the oak. Follow him on Instagram @atchrisoneal.