New Helvetia celebrates Year 1, Device gets rolling

I stopped in at New Helvetia Brewing on Friday for the one-year anniversary bash and I was impressed with the great crowd. The place was hopping and everybody was having a good time.

There was plenty of beer, live music on the back patio and Chando’s food truck parked right outside. I took advantage of all three offerings at some point in the night. An adobada quesadilla is a pretty nice choice with any beer.

The highlight beer-wise that night was something called the “Mystery Airship,” an imperial stout (10% ABV) that had been aged six months in bourbon barrels. This beer was big, but it had plenty of nuance and a long, lingering finish. The barrels, of course, impart different flavor characteristics and provide more complexity to the beer.

Congratulations to Dave Gull, brewmaster Brian Cofresi and crew on hitting the one-year mark. Best of luck going forward. I know bottling is on the near horizon, and we’ll report back when that is about to happen.

The following night, I visited Device Brewing and, let me tell you, turning left off Power Inn (coming from Howe Avenue) onto 14th Avenue takes a leap of faith. It’s really dark and abandoned-looking.

Yet, I drove up 14th toward an industrial park and saw some signs of life. Device is owned by Ken Anthony (who is also the brewmaster) and wife Melissa. It is a modest operation, but judging from my brief visit, they know what they’re doing with the beer.

I had the pale ale and found it to be full-flavored and pleasingly hoppy. My friends both went with the double IPA and were very impressed. Even though it is an industrial setting, the interior is actually built out like a real bar, albeit a bare bones one. More seating and more decor will come in time, I’m told.

If you’re in the area, check out Device. It’s got four beers at the moment and Anthony is working on a lower-alcohol beer he hopes to roll out soon. Device Brewing is at 8166 14th Ave., Sacramento.