Temecula sits between San Diego and Riverside. A once quiet little burg of few farmers and fewer inhabitants, it has grown...well, exploded really in the last ten years due in large part to the ideal climate for wine growers.
The Temecula Valley now boasts 38 of the spiritus fermenti businesses and its growing...but they have competition.
There are also 5 breweries in town with another 3 spread out in the valley.
Wife Persimmon and I visited those 5 on a perfect Southern California Sunday, sampling (and I stress the term "sampling") 55 beers in approximately three hours.
Refuge was our 2nd stop. It's located just outside of what is considered "downtown" but is in actuality Old Town Temecula. In yet another industrial business park, Refuge offers an inviting entrance - one could say "uptown" and I will. Beyond the "lobby" lies the brewery / tap room and their own laboratory. That was the first I've ever seen!
Their brews range from the basic "golden" (here called Abbey Road) to a Blood Orange Wit (w/little orange taste), a Trippel, a Red, a Porter, only 1 IPA (and that too, is a first!), a coupla of dark beers both of which are available as bourbon barrel or syrah-aged or "naked."
They advertise themselves as brewing Belgian beers...but brewing Belgian-style would be more accurate. Sadly, none of them stood out as unique although the bourbon barrel-aged Mystique Rose was, for a change, not over-powering with its alcohol and went down smooth but rather flavor-less.
Customer service was good although at the time we were there, several stood at the bar waiting for growler fills. Still, credit to the folks at Refuge for their efforts...but we want more taste from our brews. Having a full complement isn't enough...and if you're gonna do Belgian, we need something more than a Trippel.