Beer of the Week: Torulus

Rye Imperial Stout from Hess Brewing Company (10% alcohol by volume)

Hess Brewing Company Torulus

Torulus from Hess Brewing Company

“We want to barrel-age a beer, but we need a barrel.” “Hey, we have a barrel!” This was the exchange between Hess Brewing Company (7955 Silverton Ave., #1201, Miramar) tasting room employee Michael Skubic and URBN bar manager Nick Budrow, which led to a very special brew. The wooden vessel in question was Barrel #16 from Buffalo Trace Distillery. URBN had purchased it and the Elmer T. Lee bourbon whiskey inside it in order to bottle it for sale exclusively at the North Park spot for coal-fired pizza and craft beverages. To call it special would be an understatement. Ditto the beer that the artisans at Hess funneled into the barrel and aged for eight months—Ex Umbris, a rye-infused imperial stout that’s a big cult favorite among San Diego beer fanatics. The result is a smooth, roasty and savory sipper with great balance, only faint traces of whiskey and a surprisingly dry finish.

Available at:

Get the single keg that Hess is putting out at URBN (3085 University Ave.) on Thursday, August 23, when they’ll offer it as part of a flight that includes two five-ounce tasters of Torulus as well as a taster of the Elmer T. Lee (B)URBN, so guests can discover the merits of the spirit that adds so much merit to this lovely beer.

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