Pick Six: Impact & Impression, with Kyle Harrop of Horus Aged Ales

Beyond his in-house emphasis on barrel-aging, Kyle Harrop takes traveling and collaborating to new heights, tag-teaming on a variety of projects with fellow brewers across the country. His selected sixer speaks to his deep beer-geek roots, his love for seeking out obscurities, and his great appreciation for technical proficiency.

Jamie Bogner Jul 19, 2022 - 11 min read

Pick Six: Impact & Impression, with Kyle Harrop of Horus Aged Ales Primary Image

Illustration: Jamie Bogner

Kyle Harrop of Horus Aged Ales in Oceanside, California, says that he chose these six beers based on impactfulness and impressiveness. It’s a mixture of his favorite beers ever with ones that have shaped his brewing. Ever the diplomat, he’s presented them in alphabetical order.

Alvarado Street Mai Tai IPA

Monterey, California

“West Coast IPA is still the style I drink the most, and it’s been that way for at least 15 years now. We were in Monterey Bay when my wife was pregnant with our first kid. We did the Aquarium and stumbled across Alvarado Street walking through downtown. I ordered their Mai Tai IPA. I’d had a few things with Mosaic hops at that point, but nothing like this.

“I just remember how cool it was to have this Hawaiian vibe in a beer—guava, papaya. It was a tropical-fruit bomb, but then it finished dry like a West Coast IPA. [It was] obviously clear. It blew my mind, and I still buy a four-pack of it every time I see it.


“It’s a West Coast IPA that a person who likes hazy or New England IPA would appreciate. It’s easily accessible for a lot of different beer drinkers, and that’s not an easy thing to do. J.C. Hill, the founder of Alvarado Street, came from a brewery and restaurant around here in San Diego, so he knew the West Coast– or San Diego–style IPA was supposed to be done a certain way, in a lot of peoples’ eyes. To brew a 100 percent Mosaic tropical version of that was pretty brave, but now it’s gone on to win four GABF medals. It’s an incredible beer.”

Anchorage A Deal with the Devil

Anchorage, Alaska

“Barleywine is my favorite style, even if it’s something I can’t drink daily. It’s something I drink on special occasions, and if I’m being honest, I don’t think there are too many truly great ones out there—at least, not that I’ve tried. Gabe Fletcher of Anchorage used to brew at Midnight Sun, and I loved their Arctic Devil and M barleywines. But A Deal with the Devil is incredible because it drinks like a spirit. At 17 percent ABV, it’s thick, it’s full of dark-fruit character, caramel, and toffee. It’s super complex, and it’s a roller-coaster ride—how it changes from when it’s cold out of the fridge to when it’s fully warm. It’s the best barleywine out there, period.

“They’ve done a lot of iterations, like the box set a few years ago with a Scotch version, rum, Woodford Reserve Double Oaked—a lot of different versions—but I really love the Cognac and bourbon versions.


“This beer inspired me to brew my favorite style and not be scared to make a big thick monster. That box set was definitely the reason that I did a box set for my first barleywine release. It was very special when that beer was finally done. Barleywines are labor-intensive and take a long time in the barrel to get where you want them. I think Gabe has mastered that.”

The Bruery Black Tuesday

Placentia, California

“When Black Tuesday first came out, it was mind-blowing. I could not believe something 19 percent ABV could taste that good. I couldn’t wrap my head around a beer that finished that low, gravity-wise, having such an intense perceived sweetness. I’d never had anything like it. I’d had a ton of barrel-aged stouts by that point, but nothing with quite that character—and the chocolate and vanilla notes it has! It was a very small release more than a decade ago, and I remember that was the second beer line I ever stood in. The first was for The Lost Abbey’s Brandy Barrel–Aged Angel’s Share.

“Fast-forward to now, and there are a bunch of adjunct versions [of Black Tuesday], and double-barrel versions, but I still find myself liking that original. I think it’s more of a nostalgic thing at this point, but I think the impact paved the way for me to push the boundaries on boil times and original gravities. That beer is about as intense as it gets on a lot of different levels. The format of the bottle—everything about that beer sticks out as classic to me. It’s probably the most important craft beer in Southern California, as far as when I got into it. I don’t think this beer gets the respect it deserves. It was so groundbreaking at the time.”


Funk Factory The Last Four Winters in Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

“My in-laws live a couple hours outside of Madison, and I’d heard about Levi Funk from a bunch of brewer friends. I drove out there on a whim, about six months before I started Horus, because it was very similar to how I started. It was all sours in barrels, with a no-brewhouse concept—it was essentially a big barrel room. Obviously, from an impact standpoint, that gave me a lot of confidence, seeing that that model could work.

“Then he opened The Last Four Winters, which was the first American “gueuze” I had tasted—a blend of three spontaneous brews from different winters, years one, two, and three, then aged in the bottle for a year. It had all that funk and blue cheese, horse blanket—those characteristics you’d find in a Belgian gueuze. That blew my mind. I’d drunk Jester King and Sante Adairius before, but nothing quite on this level—as traditional as you can be, outside of Belgium. I’ll always look back at that beer as the last thing that pushed me to start Horus and have the confidence to pursue my dream.”

Live Oak Hefeweizen



“Being a huge beer geek back in 2006–2007, I wanted to try every beer in the BeerAdvocate Top 100. I made it through it after several years of trading, and I’d tasted 99 of the 100 beers. My last one was this hefeweizen from Texas that you could only get in a growler, so I paid a guy to overnight me a growler. That was the 100th and final notch. I put that off for so long because hefeweizen was one of my least-favorite styles. But it was shocking how good the beer was from a growler. It had this crazy clove-but-clean note. It tasted like something you’d drink in Germany.

“Fast-forward several years later: I went to Texas for the first time and found it in cans. I still drink it to this day. I went on a surf trip to Waco, Texas—they have a wave pool there—and this was the beer I picked up to drink after the wave park. The history of the beer is impressive. I think it’s the best interpretation of the style—still a style that I don’t like—to this day. But I do like that beer, for some reason. Their lagers are great, too, but they really nailed that hefeweizen. It’s been crazy to watch them up production and see it in cans in grocery stores.”

Superstition Meadery Blue Berry White

Prescott, Arizona

“I get asked a lot about what book I recommend reading for an aspiring brewer or homebrewer, and people are always shocked by my response, but I think the book that stuck out to me the most was The Compleat Meadmaker, by Ken Schramm. I make a lot of mead, and I made a lot of mead at home before I became a professional, and I think it lends a hand to how I adjunct these big stouts and stuff. Sugar additions, feeding, nutrients. Honey is not an easy thing to ferment, and I think it made me a very meticulous brewer. I made a lot of blueberry beers at home, and I’m starting to make more professionally, but I’ve always loved the sweetness [blueberries] can add to a roasty beer.

“Eight years ago, I remember telling my wife I had bought six bottles of mead in ceramic bottles for $700 and that we had to drive seven hours to Prescott, Arizona, by a certain date to pick them up. That went over about as well as you can imagine. But we went out there. I’ll never forget the first time I had that because it showed me how you can make something incredibly sweet that’s not cloying, and still balanced with all these additives in it. I loved how the blueberry played off the honey and the white chocolate and vanilla vibes it was giving out. That mead gave me the confidence to put blueberries into beer.

“I was always skeptical, and most people—when they hear ‘blueberry’ in other styles—their first response is a grimace. But that mead is Numero Uno for me. It’s so well done that nothing touches it. It might be the most impactful beverage on this list because it was at a time when Horus was just starting to become a reality. The whole adjunct idea, and something that was already so sweet being done so well, was another confidence booster and inspiration.”

Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].