What is Broken Wrench?

Sometime around 2011, our tiny southern California kitchen became a haven for experimenting with beer making and brewing equipment. Our love for craft beer and homebrewing has grown into a hobby that's produced stouts, IPAs, ciders, meads and more. Each week brings new challenges and new things to learn, especially living in the craft beer rich county of San Diego. Here is where we share our love for brewing, tasting and all things beer!

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What's in a beer?

Tastings part III - Beer Camp!

by NilesJuly 29, 2014 11:57

This day, I’ll review three Beer Camp beers. Woo! High roller over here.


First we have Canfusion from Oskar Blues. This canned concoction was Green by far. It may have been too fresh, or that was just what they went for. It was fruity and malty with some apple in there. It was like drinking a pine forest, if you catch my drift. Maybe I should’ve poured it into a glass since when I drink cans of beer I really just want to get drunk.

This beer was way too heavy to drink from the can. No offense to the brewer, I know cans are kind of their thing. This one was just poorly execution. With that said this beer gets a 5/10.


Next up, Electric Ray from Ballast Point. Great beer. Yellow all the way.

Cascade hops are right up front, wonderfully citrusy and piney with some floral aromas too. This beer tasted fantastic and felt great in my mouth. Malty sweet and full, it felt like a well-made floral arrangement.

Overall, Electric Ray didn’t taste like a lager. Labeled as an India Pale Lager, it was like a fuller bodied Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It reminded me of one of my favorite things, walking into a hop fridge at a brewery. If you like hops and you ever have the chance to do it, DO IT. For that wonderful experience of a beer, Electric Ray gets a 9/10.

Finally we have the Torpedo Pilsner from Firestone Walker. Now, I’m a big fan of FW. They make fantastic brews and have a beautiful brewery. This beer, on the other hand… Eh.

A pilsner to the core, it smelled like corn. It has aromas of cleanliness, some kind of malty, and vaguely sweet. It tastes like laundry soap. Don’t shoot me, please. As you may know, not all laundry soap tastes bad. I woulnd’t know that, but judging by the way it smells I’d assume it tastes clean? That’s what I got from this beer. I’d definitely say it was blue. Maybe a Light Blue. Like the Downy box.

Torpedo Pilsner sounds like a good idea. Maybe it’s the malt that goes into making it, it just didn’t seem to grab the essential hop oils you’d expect from a beer run through the famous hop torpedo. It was drinkable, not impressionable. A good session beer. 6.5/10

Stay tuned for the last five, coming soon! Cheers!

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Beer Reviews

Beer Camp Tastings part II

by NilesJuly 27, 2014 11:46

Well, friends. I stumbled across a guide to building a kegerator for ya’ll to check out. It was brought to my attention the other day and this is the perfect place to promote it.


On to the tastings! I aimed to do one entry a day, but I felt like keeping my readers in suspense. If we have any readers, that is…


This first beer is Alt Route from Victory Brewing. I must say this beer was fantastic! I’ve never had an altbier before and this was not a brew to scare me away from the style. Very similar to the kolsch style, altbiers are from Germany, just brewed with a little more hops and malt, giving them more bitterness and color.

In smelling this brew we found fruity aromas, including apple and grapes as well as suntan lotion. As weird as that sounds, close your eyes and think of Coppertone suntan lotion all around as you sit down on your chosen spot in the sand. That aroma was well hidden in this beer and not bad. Alt Route as an interesting combination of tastes: woodsy, yet floral. It reminded me of wandering through a garden of flowers in full bloom.

Overall, Alt Route was lightly bitter and not too heavy on the malt like an ESB, Extra Special Bitter. This beer ranked in at an 8/10. I like my beers with a malty backbone, which this lacked. The unique flavors and aromas of this brew definitely put it up there, though. This beer immediately struck me as Red.

Second we have There and Back (A Hobbit’s Tale, heehee), an English-style bitter from New Glarus. This beer was Steph’s favorite. It reminded both of us of being in The Shire, underneath Bag End with its wonderful earthiness and comforting warmth.

It smelled like beer. Like fresh beer that you could drink over and over. Not to say this as a bad thing at all, we would drink this all day. The tastes in this brew consist of well blended wildflower honey. Floral, sweet, toffee-ish and, my favorite, malty. This beer is almost like a honey blonde ale, except with the glorious addition of malt roastiness (just lightly) on the back end.

All in all, There and Back deserves 9/10. Better than any others we’ve enjoyed so far. This bitter ale doesn’t live up to its moniker of a “bitter.” So if you’re expecting a bitter IPA, go get one. If you want an awesomely sweet and homely Brown beer, this is it.



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Beer Reviews

Variety Pack Tastings part I - Beer Camp!

by NilesJuly 22, 2014 11:29

Ahhh Beer Camp. True tidings of summer. Where one amazing brewery dedicates its time to the grand ideas of homebrewers, bar owners, and professional brewers alike.

This year, Sierra Nevada has taken to the road to promote their annual Beer Camp in seven stops across America. They invited all those who signed up for beer camp notifications via one special bottle of West Coast double IPA. Which is available at BevMo and is incredible, I might add. You may have seen our review of the beer on the website, and if so, I hope it made you go out and grab a bottle.

Unfortunately, we didn’t attend the Beer Camp stop in San Diego… The ticket prices gave our wallets shock. We heard it was a great time. Ken Grossman, the founder of Sierra Nevada was there and even poured samples! Since we couldn’t make it to the event, I was damned if I wasn’t going to support my favorite brewery in another fashion. That’s how our fridge became home to the specialty Beer Camp twelve pack!

This unique pack contains ten individual bottles and two cans created by professional breweries around America and produced by SN. I’m really glad to be able to enjoy beers created by brewers that I’ve never seen in California before. Classics such as Cigar City, 3 Floyds, and New Glarus, for example.

Since the backstory is done. Let’s get to tasting!


We started the night off with Yvan the Great. A Belgian-Style Blonde ale from Russian River. Now, I know it’s not fair to only list the collaborating brewery, but for the sake of repetition, I’ll do it that way.

This beer is a Belgian ale, through and through. With a gorgeous golden pour, this beer lacks a thick head. Being not overly carbonated allowed the soft and light fruity flavors to really sink in, rather than dance on your tongue. It smelled fantastic. Truly Belgian in aroma, it was very bright and springy, with hints of melon in the background.

Overall, we were impressed with this beer. Seeing that these brews all have different colored labels, I started giving them my own color based on the overall impressions of each beer. This beer would be Purple. And it receives from us a solid 8/10.


Next we had Yonder Bock. Well, I had most of it since Steph isn’t too keen on bocks. This is a Tropical Maibok from Cigar City.

An interesting effort produced this beer. I drank it from the can, so the aromas I got were minimal. What I smelled was very fruity. Tropical indeed. From mango and guava, I got fresh pine sawdust from it. What I tasted was even fruitier. It was like drinking carbonated, alcoholic fruit juice. Passionfruit mimosas anyone?!

This brew had a disappointing malt profile for a dark brew. Although Optimator and Salvator have fruitiness with them, I was definitely expecting a lot more out of the dark malts. It’s only vaguely roasty. That brought the rating down a bit. As wonderful as it is at first, the fruit side is overwhelming. The color I sensed from this beer was Orange. Not the fruit, just the color. And it earned a 6/10.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon to post two more. Stay tuned!