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Horus Aged Ales "Osprey's Fresh Catch" IPA features the vivid work of artist Spring Whitaker.
The label for Horus Aged Ales "Osprey's Fresh Catch" IPA features the vivid work of artist Spring Whitaker. Photos courtesy of Spring Whitaker and Twitter (@HorusAgedAles)
Cheers! North County Cities Columns Food & Wine Oceanside

In the moment with Kyle Harrop of Horus Aged Ales

Do a Google Maps search for Horus Aged Ales, and it will be there on the map, tucked away in the back of a mixed-used building in Oceanside. If you drive over there, as I have, you’ll notice there are no picnic tables outside, no hours posted and no garage door open with a welcoming bartender waving from behind the bar.

Horus Aged Ales has neither a tasting room, retail store nor does it have an online shop.

Yet, search for the top-rated breweries in the country on the Untappd app (a popular craft beer tracking app), and there is Horus Aged Ales — the best-rated San Diego-area brewery. Go on Facebook and you’ll find a Horus Aged Ales Fans page with more than 1,500 members.

Owner and founder Kyle Harrop has a full-time job in the aerospace industry. He has a family. He is the sole employee of his brewery. He isn’t the easiest guy to get ahold of, but recently, he took a few moments to answer some questions over e-mail.

Cheers!: First, are you an accountant first or brewer first? Do they require complementary skills?

Kyle: Brewer first now…there is some crossover with doing inventory, ordering and financials, but not many other skills that complement the other career.

Cheers!: You don’t have a brewery or tasting room that is open to the public. Was that ever something you entertained when brainstorming the opening? And follow up, as we come to the end of the 2nd full year of Covid, how if at all, has your brewing efforts been impacted, or not impacted by the pandemic?

Horus Aged Ales "Osprey's Fresh Catch"
Horus Aged Ales “Osprey’s Fresh Catch” IPA. Photo courtesy of Horus Aged Ales/Label artwork by Spring Whitaker

Kyle: I could not have had a tasting room because I was still working 40-60 hours per week and I am still the only Horus employee. Covid has continued to evolve and change my business. The consistent change has been packaging everything in bottles and not kegging anything. Some ingredients have been hard to get, but I would say the most difficult thing to obtain consistently is glass bottles and when I do, they have gone up [in price] substantially.

Cheers!: Horus Aged Ales is a 100% barrel-aged brewery. What is it about barrel-aging beer that appeals to you? Your beer is aged in oak barrels. Why oak, and how do you go about selecting the right barrel for the beer you’re aging? Is there a skill to that process (i.e. previous use of the barrel or other)?

Kyle: I actually make a lot of non-barrel-aged beer too. I treat oak barrels like adjuncts. They add complexity and flavor to a base beer. I use Bourbon barrels the most but am always experimenting. I prefer freshly dumped spirit or wine barrels and only use them once for beer and they become somebody’s backyard decorations.

Cheers!: You do a lot of collaborations. What is the appeal of doing a collaboration beer and do you have a favorite?

Kyle: Collaborations have taught me an incredible amount of brewing processes and I get to travel to see my friends across the industry.

Cheers!: What’s the near future (2022) look like for you?

Kyle: Year five of my club, The Convocation, begins in June and this will be hands down the most insane year yet with all the crazy barrel-aged releases I have lined up using a variety of the rarest barrels I have ever used.

Cheers!: What is something unexpected you’ve learned about brewing beer since beginning the Horus project?

Kyle: Cleaning and sanitizing is about 90% of time spent with homebrewing and [with] professional brewing is at about 98%.

Kyle Harrop, who works full-time in the aerospace industry, is the lone brewer at Horus Aged Ales in Oceanside.
Kyle Harrop, who works full-time in the aerospace industry, is the lone brewer at Horus Aged Ales in Oceanside.
Photo courtesy of Kyle Harrop

Cheers!: What is the best way for North County beer drinkers to get their hands on Horus beer, and how can those of us that love barrel-aged beers stay apprised of your new releases?

Kyle: Try to get into the bottle membership club this May and watch my Instagram for any public releases.

Cheers!: Anything else you want readers to know about Horus Aged Ales right now?

Kyle: My new Run The Jewels collaboration that will come out in the next few months is the first Chartreuse* barrel-aged beer in existence that I am aware of. It is a Belgian-Style Sour Ale that aged in barrels for over two years and was finished on lime zest. It will release for Coachella in April!

Be sure to follow @horusagedales on Instagram for beer releases and club announcements. Be sure to set notifications to on because his ticketed beer sales often sell out in minutes. Membership in his beer club, The Convocation, is limited and previously has been awarded by lottery.

For more of Spring Whitaker’s art, visit her website.

*Chartreuse is a French herbal liqueur that has been brewed by Carthusian Monks in the Grenoble, France region — with periodic interruptions when the order of monks was expelled from France — since the early 1700s. The liqueur is brewed with herbs, plants, and flowers and was originally thought to be an elixir of long life.

Also, check out CraftBeer.com’s video interview with Kyle Harrop below:

 

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