tropic daze thorn brewing

Tropic Daze for Summer Days

Summer is in full swing and we are releasing the second IPA in our Essential IPA Series this week. Say a tearful goodbye to Got Nelson? and hello to Tropic Daze IPA!

We like to think of Tropic Daze IPA as an island oasis in your glass. With flavors of fresh-cut, juicy pineapple, pink guava, nectarines, passion fruit, and zested pomelo this 7% IPA is one for all your senses.  After one sip, you’ll feel the cool, ocean breeze on your face and the sand in your toes.  It’s the perfect addition to any staycation or afternoon at the pool.

This is the second IPA in our Essential IPA Series that will be housed in our sweet, Argyle can. We love to have fun and experiment with packaging and that is front and center with this can design. From the fresh, argyle pattern to the playful color scheme, we hope it stands out from the pack. For people wanting more information on which hop profile is in their Essential IPA, they can head to our page, to get any additional info for the beer. As always, if you aren’t sure which beer you have, just flip it over and see the name printed on the bottom. For people picking up six-packs, all the Tropic Daze six-pack holders are baby blue, like the perfect sky under which to enjoy this refreshing beer.

“The Essential IPA can is a game-changer by allowing our IPAs to evolve with hop availability and our ever-changing palates.” Dennis O’Connor, Thorn’s CEO and co-founder said. “If you like fresh, these IPAs are your best bet.”

Want more of the Argyle? We also have these sweet Essential IPA Series socks available for $10 at both tasting rooms and in our online store.

tropic daze socks thorn brewing

Tropic Daze is now available throughout San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles, so grab yourself an essential six-pack today!

thorn brewing barrel aged beers

Barrel-Aged Beers

Barrel-aged beers are all over the craft beer scene and with good reason. Delicious, deep, and dark, just like your secrets, barrel-aged beers are a lovely addition to any brewery’s portfolio. They definitely aren’t for everyone, however. Someone looking for a light, refreshing, hoppy beverage isn’t going to find those characteristics in a barrel-aged beer, but they will find a sultry, rich, taste-explosion that is created by the use of wood barrels and their influence on the beer housed in them.

While aging beer in barrels is nothing new to the beer scene, using bourbon barrels is something that has jumped to the forefront since the mid-90’s. By most accounts, the first brewery in the U.S. to use bourbon barrels to age their beers was Goose Island. Now, if you are a follower of this blog, you know that Goose Island is owned by AB InBev, and in fact was one of the first craft breweries bought by big beer back in 2011. But one thing is for sure, their Bourbon County brand not only paved the way for hundreds of other breweries to follow the bourbon-barrel train but is also still killing it in this niche market.

Why Bourbon Barrels?

Barrel-aging has always imparted flavors into beer but bourbon barrels are something special. First, wood gives off chemical compounds that will be absorbed into the beer. Lactones, organic compounds in the ester group help impart a floral aroma and flavor. Phenolic aldehydes give off vanilla and the simple sugars in the wood help bring out caramel notes from the beer. In the start of its barrel-journey, the beers will absorb strong vanilla and caramel flavors as well as the leftover flavorings of the bourbon that used to live in that barrel. The cool thing is that over time, the beer becomes one with the barrel, in a way. It soaks deep into the staves before being pushed back out which helps it to absorb not only the rich flavors of the previous spirit but also the wood itself. That’s one of the fun things about bourbon barrels. It’s a bit like wild yeast, you don’t know exactly what you are going to get from the cocktail of compounds in the barrel.

Barrel-Aging Factors

There are a few major factors that are at play when one thinks about barrel aging a beer.

Type of Beer

While brewing is all about experimentation and probably all styles of beer have been aged at one time or another with varying degrees of success, beer best suited for barrel aging is strong, dark and of high alcohol content. Any beer that counts on “freshness” as a flavor (sorry IPAs) wouldn’t be a good fit. But this does make Imperial stouts and Belgian strong ales great candidates. For Thorn’s first barrel-aged bottles we used an Imperial Russian Stout and a Belgian quad ale. Both of these beers can stand up to the flavors that are imparted by the bourbon-barrel and they only get better as they get older as freshness is not really a huge factor in either of these beers when aged appropriately.

The Barrel

While most any barrel can be used to age beers some are better than others. This time around we are using bourbon barrels from Four Roses but previously we have aged beers in red wine barrels that made delightful sours like our Carneros Crush Sour. While bourbon barrels are the most popular to use because the flavors of bourbon already play well with the flavors of most dark beers, there is a rise in popularity of using tequila barrels to age beer too. Most barrels used to age liquor and then beer are made of white oak. Oak is an incredibly strong wood and also imparts flavors that work with liquor and beer.


How long beer is barrel-aged for is really dependent on what the brewer is trying to achieve, flavor-wise. Beer can be aged for as little as 1-2 months if wood and bourbon notes are the goal while aging for 6-12 months will bring out the deeper floral and vanilla notes from the barrel. The more time in the barrel the more time the beer gets to soak into the staves of the barrel and during temperature changes, this becomes really important.


Temperature is a crucial factor in barrel-aged beers. While conventional barrel-aging wisdom says that it’s ideal to keep barrels at a constant temperature between 55-60 degrees, that’s not necessarily the case for many barrel-aging programs. Variations in temperature will make the wood contract and expand which helps in the staves absorb and extract the beer throughout the aging process, lending all the delicious flavors that we know and love. In fact, many breweries, including Thorn don’t use any temperature controls in their barrel warehouse precisely to get the substantial temperature swings provided by the natural climate.

Thorn Barrel-Aged Beer

We are releasing our first bottled, barrel-aged beers on July 29th and are throwing a party to celebrate! Not only can you come and pick up a bottle of both the barrel-aged Dark Tsar Imperial Stout and the barrel-aged Abbey Roof Abbey-style ale, but you will be able to taste these two beers as well as three other barrel-aged beers that we have had cooking in the back over the last year. There are only a few tickets left for our VIP experience where you get two bottles, a glass, a guided tasting through all five of our barrel-aged beers, BBQ lunch, brew tour and $5 beers the rest of the day (which is a smoking deal for barrel aged beers). Or just stop by and taste through the beers, listen to live music, enjoy food from the Meat Locker BBQ and grab a couple of bottles to go. For more info on the event head to Eventbrite or the Facebook event page.

thorn tribe challenge

Let the Games Begin: Thorn Tribe Challenge 2018

Get ready for the most exciting event of the summer…the Thorn Tribe Challenge! The Thorn Tribe Challenge is a 2-month long challenge where people complete any number of hilarious beer-related tasks and compete to win rad prizes! In previous years, this has been an internal competition with our staff but this year we thought we would change it up and let you join in on the fun. For the next two months, you can play along and compete for exciting prizes too!

The challenge not only brought our staff together and created a great sense of team unity but it also pushed us to get out and about in San Diego and take advantage of all the cool things in and around our city. Take a look at some of the previous tasks we had to complete…

Thorn Tribe Challenge 2018


1) You must capture (picture or video) your challenge and post on Instagram using #ThornTribeChallenge in order for it to count. Also, there needs to be some sort of Thorn gear/swag/branded item in the pic to qualify (or could be taken in one of our tasting rooms, location tagged).

4) All pictures/videos need to be original content for this contest. No re-posting/using old pictures.

5) You can only get points for each challenge once (unless noted*).

6) Prize: Brewery Pub Crawl for you and five of your friends starting at Thorn NP and ending at Thorn Barrio Logan. Visiting 6 restaurant bars/breweries and at the end you get to name a new Thorn Beer! All drinks and lunch included. Tour led by Thorn VIPs Dennis O’Connor and Boston Tom! 

7) Challenge runs from July 1 – Aug 1. With winners getting picked at the end of July AND the end of August!







  • Attend Thorn Outside Event at local bar/restaurant (5 points each time – unlimited)
  • Get a picture with someone in ‘Uniform’ (trade hats for extra 5 points)
  • Post a photo of a friend overseas repping thorn gear
  • Thorn in a classified ad
  • Make a short song about Ralph the Raccoon and sing it
  • Do a beer shot with someone over 70 years old in either tasting room
  • Throw a BBQ at Your house with Thorn beer
  • Sneak beer into a movie theater or Drive-in
  • Get top 3 score at any game at Coin-Op or H&A and enter initials TSB
  • Attend Trivia or Loteria in Thorn Barrio Logan
  • Ride a Penny Farthing in a Raccoon Costume
  • Get 5+ dogs in one picture at tasting room.
  • Drink Thorn in another country
  • Go sightseeing at La Jolla Underwater Park in Thorn gear (extra 5 pts if underwater)
  • Drink a Red Headed Hop Child with redhead in tasting room
  • Drink a Got Nelson? IPA with someone named Nelson (show picture ID in pic)
  • Drink a Dank Rizzo IPA with someone with dreads in the tasting room
  • Drink a Farmer’s Only Saison in tasting room dressed like a farmer in overalls
  • Paint your nails like a Raccoon
  • Floss dance in front of a Dentist Office in Thorn gear
  • Drink a Barrio Lager in Baja


  • Cliff jump in Thorn Gear into ocean
  • Play a game of disc golf at Morley Field
  • Get Thorn mentioned in a news article
  • Get Thorn on a podcast or radio station
  • Get a priest or nun to say “Jesus loves Thorn”
  • Get a picture of a band member rocking Thorn schwag at a show/concert on stage
  • Surf (or attempt to surf) a wave with a Thorn beer in hand
  • Donate blood in Thorn gear
  • Dress up as Ralph and do Karaoke
  • Picture of you in lowrider drinking Barrio Lager
  • Enjoy a Hopster Pot Hazy IPA while eating lobster
  • Put up a Tinder/dating profile and use at least 5 of our beer names in your bio
  • Get a picture with a real raccoon
  • Get a picture with a Zonky in TJ
  • Hula Hoop while drinking a Thorn beer
  • Create a recipe using Thorn beer – video tutorial
  • Compose a rock song about Thorn while drinking Rock The Pale and playing an instrument
  • Ride your bike from North Park to Barrio Tasting room (or vice versa). Pic at start and finish
  • Dress up the OB Lifeguard statues in Thorn Gear
  • Chinese fire drill, everyone dressed as raccoons
  • Make your own Thorn cup pint of recycled material and bring to the brewery for a beer. Must have hand drawn/painted thorn logo
  • Hop-on-hop-off trolley wearing raccoon costume
  • Pick your own strawberries at Carlsbad Strawberry Company in Raccoon costume
  • Go to a Padre’s game in Thorn gear and drink Thorn beer where we are on tap. (or smuggle in your own cans)
  • Sneak Essential IPA Can into Del Mar Races


  • Photobomb a live TV broadcast pointing at your Thorn hat
  • Get a mariachi band to sing a song about Thorn
  • Make a ThornTron Suit
  • Get a piggyback ride from someone with a Face Tattoo
  • Build a Thorn Can Throne (able to be moved/used for future events)
  • Get on a Jumbotron in Thorn gear
  • Dress up the Cardiff Kook in Thorn Gear
  • Go parasailing wearing Thorn gear
  • Ride the Belmont Park roller coaster in Ralph costume
  • Mission Hills ghost tour in raccoon costume
  • Run a 5k race in raccoon costume
  • Visit Blacks Beach wearing raccoon mask only
  • Shave Thorn logo into your hair


  • Get Thorn tattoo (logo/raccoon counts)
  • Get on Price is Right (some branding makes cut, ralph head counts)

So what are you waiting for! Get in on the fun and join the #ThornTribeChallenge this summer! For more info and to stay updated and see all the pics posted over the summer,  go to the Thorn Tribe Challenge Page!