Brian Thompson

Paul Wellman

Brian Thompson

Where The Wild Beers Are

Telegraph Brewery’s Second Annual Dia de Las Obscuras

Move to the side, hopheads; the wild ones are taking over.

Sour, wild-fermented, and barrel-aged ales are all the rage in brewing right now, and Telegraph Brewing is hosting a crash course in those styles on Saturday, May 7, when they’ll be pouring their Obscura beers in two sessions. Started in 2011, this barrel-aged and wild-fermented program spawned a unique lineup of pet projects, experimental mishaps, and creative fun for owner Brian Thompson and his staff. Some beers are recurring, and some will never be seen again, but all are distinctive.

“We are excited to express our creativity in every batch,” said Thompson, who seeks to make sour beers that are complex but also refreshing. “We are inspired by spice, food, music, traveling — inspiration comes from everywhere. We are actively trying to push the limits of what people define as beer, and tell those stories.”

The intimate and conversational sessions will showcase 12 beers in total, with four poured only during the event. Here are four to get wild about.

By Paul Wellman

Gypsy Ale: This sour ale aged with locally grown plums is inspired by the Eastern European Romani gypsies. Aged with lactobacillus and brettanomyces, this rustic ale has both a sourness and a complex funk.

Obscura Vulpine: This wine-barrel-aged sour red ale with a deep fruity sourness pairs perfectly with the oak aroma from the barrels (vulpine means “like a fox”).

Reserve Wheat: The Berlin-style sour wheat beer (Berliner Weisse) is served in the authentic Berlin tradition for Día de Las Obscuras (“mit schuss” as they say in German) with a choice of raspberry syrup or herbal woodruff syrup.

The Endless Sky: This barrel-aged light sour ale is dry-hopped with Huell Melon hops, with aromas of ripe berries and honeydew melon. The very dry finish with a palate-cleansing bitterness pairs nicely with the tart flavors.


Telegraph’s Día de las Obscuras is Saturday, May 7, at Telegraph Brewing Company (418 N. Salsipuedes St.) with sessions at noon-5 p.m. and 5-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $35. See

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Pair of F-22s Buzz Santa Barbara City College

Turbulence rattles windows and nerves on Monday morning.

Mandatory Evacuation Called for Fire Zones in Santa Barbara County

Heavy rains expected Tuesday-Thursday; debris flows feared.

Cannabis Farmer Gets Over $1 Million Insurance Payout

Thomas Fire ash destroys crop; analysis finds asbestos, lead, arsenic, and magnesium.

Next Debris Flow Could Take Different, Unknown Path

"I've never seen this degree of hazard," says Cal Fire scientist.

Biggest Storm Since 1/9 Approaching Santa Barbara

The storm system brings increased threat of flash floods and debris flows.