Rock & Roll Happy Hour with Indian Joe Brewing

Native owned. Native grown.

April 12, 2017

It’s hard to keep a good man down. Max Moran, founder & brewmaster of Indian Joe Brewing in Vista is proof enough of that. Like many homebrewers, Max dreamed of starting up a microbrewery. And, like many homebrewers, found that it can be an awfully steep climb achieving that dream. Heck, just getting the name of the brewery trademarked (more on that later) proved to be a costly, two-year battle. Perseverance prevailed, however, and in 2012 Max and partner Geri Lawson opened up shop in some modest industrial park digs. Max and Geri managed to keep things rolling for a while, but after a couple of years were unable to renew their lease and Indian Joe was soon without a home.

But now they’re back—and in a big, BIG way! Instead of a small 20 gallon home brew system, Max and head brewer Grant Heuer are now brewing up a storm on a shiny new 15 barrel brewhouse, and serving up an astonishing array of 30 different beers (take a look!) in one of San Diego’s largest tasting rooms.  In keeping with the tradition started by his great-great grandfather, Max still has a penchant for using a wide variety of natural, often locally grown or gathered, ingredients in his truly intriguing and tasty brews. Oh, and about Uncle Joe. A member of North County’s Luiseño community, Max’s uncle (“Indian Joe”) was also an accomplished brewer himself and is the brewery’s namesake and the inspiration. We know he’d be proud!

Trust us, we would love to have tried all thirty-plus beers tonight, but we only had an hour. Sigh.  At Indian Joe’s they’re particularly fond of sour, fruit-infused brews and it shows. There’s something for everyone at the tasting room, so bring a bunch of friends. If they’re not craft beer drinkers when they arrive, they will be by the time they leave.

  • Passionfruit-Pineapple Gose OMG! It was love at first sip with this one. First of all, it’s a gose (pronounced “go-zuh”) a tart, German-style ale brewed with just a hint of salt, not to be confused with a gueuze, the blended wild ale of Belgium. This beer was made for warm weather chugalugging, so fill up the kiddie pool and settle in. 6.2%  
  • Pale Ale Brewed with a blend of Mosaic, Motueka an Loral hops, this pleasantly bitter pale has all the tropical notes you’d expect balanced with a subtle earthiness. Drink up! 5.9%
  • Indian Sunrise This is a blood orange and sweet cherry gose that is so pretty, you’ll want to hold it up admiringly to the light for all to see…but not for too long. It tastes as good as it looks! 6.2%
  • White Sage IPA Max has a special card that allows him access to special kinds of herbs. No, not one of THOSE cards. As a Luiseno, he’s permitted to gather native plants like the white sage (Salvia apiana, according to park ranger Ken) in this delicious IPA. Not as “sagey” as you might expect, the tropical hops and dry finish leave you wanting more and more. But take it easy. It’s 9.8%
  • Luiseño Red Lovely notes of toast and caramel from the malts are nicely balanced by a hoppy—but not too hoppy—finish. Can’t wait to try this with the woodfired pizzas they’ll be serving at Indian Joe’s future restaurant! 6.5%
  • Imperial Red Sour “Is this BEER?” Is it ever! And 100% brettanomyces fermented at that! More tart than funky, this deep purple magic is infused with blackberries and black currants. Look out, wine drinkers, you’re about to be converted! 10.5%
  • H.O.T. Coffee. Wait—there’s MORE?! These guys really don’t quit. This astounding beer defies categorization, although a Honey Oatmeal Triple comes close. With an underlying blend of Vietnamese cinnamon and Ethiopian coffee, this beer is a journey.  9.5 %

Rock & Roll Happy Hour With Indian Joe

An evening of beer with Indian Joe Brewing