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Tag Archives: California
I don’t know how I’ve never reviewed Anchor Porter before!
The San Francisco Brewery has been making this first modern American porter for 40 years. Color is black, as it should be, with a very fluffy beige head. The aroma is an inviting mix of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt. Sweet malt comes through first in the flavor, with plenty of coffee and chocolate. Dry, oak finish.
Smooth texture, phenomenal balance and flavor, and at only 5.6% ABV, it’s not heavy handed. It’s beautifully crafted brews like this that make me love porters so much! Probably between this and Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald for the best American porter I’ve had.
This is the first beer I’ve had from Mission out of San Diego, their Blonde Ale.
Pours remarkably clear and light. If not for the thicker white head, you might have trouble telling this from a macro lager just from the sight. The aroma is mostly grass and straw with some faint grape and peach in the background. Flavor isn’t particularly strong, but the grass and straw flavors and fruity notes come through. Finishes a little dry.
I don’t dislike this, but I don’t know if I’d have it again. The flavor isn’t bad, there just isn’t much there.
Their words, not mine. Also their words
Originally brewed in 2011 as a Brown Shugga’ substitute, due to construction-induced capacity issues. But we liked it so much it had to make a return trip.
So here we have Lagunitas Sucks, a brew boasting a complex malt backbone and a whopping dose of hops to make it a double IPA.
Pours a bit lighter and crisper than expected. The frothy white head doesn’t stick around for long. Hops completely dominate the aroma. Yeah, a double IPA for sure. Hop oils assault the palate. Grapefruit and pine, mostly. Hint of heat from the 7.8% ABV. Rye comes through a bit in the finish. But this is all about the hops. Surprisingly, it’s only 65 IBUs. Thought this would push closer to 100.
Hop heads, get it!
Trying the wine glass again, too. Color is a deep caramel. Aroma is full of butterscotch and yeast. Flavor is massive. Caramel, banana, clove, a jab of hops at the end and a very pleasing warmth from the considerable 11.7% ABV. Dangerously drinkable for its potency. The finish is similar to a merlot, but with hops.
It’s fantastic. I know these are supposed to get better with age, but it’s hard to imagine how.
Stone Double Bastard is for masochists. Even at an arm’s length away, I can pick up on the obscene hops and substantial malt. It’s just so big. Complex doesn’t even begin to describe the flavor. Pine, toffee, coffee, citrus, toasted rye bread. And that’s all before the hops make you pucker. As expected from Stone, the 11% ABV makes you sit up and notice, too.
Just go get one. Or several.
A collaborative brew, this merger between 21st Amendment and Ninkasi is an English Stong Ale. Firmly between a Pale Ale and Barleywine. While it seems to be marketing more as a 21st Amendment brew, it’s not on their website. But it is on Ninkasi’s.
Color is an orange/brown, thin beige head. Malt is a bit on the sweet side with a big hit of hops. Nutty finish. Dates come through even more as it warms.
Busy and tasty. I’d be interested to see more collaborations between these two.
Lagunitas is not exactly known for timid brews. Brown Shugga is, as they say, the result of a failed experiment with a batch of Barley Wine.
Pours a slightly hazy copper. Brown sugar and piney hops in the aroma. The brown sugar comes out even more after a sip. Very sweet, but the aggressive, pungent hops cut through to tame it. Big and very tasty, if not complex. Great balance between the hops and sugar, each keeping the other from overpowering. And checking in at 9.9% ABV, you’d never guess it’s close to that strong while drinking it.
Pouring as black as the coal that likely fueled engine No. 38, this stout from North Coast offers quite the inviting aroma, as well. Overflowing with caramel, currants, and raisins. Very smooth on the palate and a bit sweeter than expected as there is a flavor of burnt marshmallows. The hops come in late and are not particularly strong, but just enough to cut the sweetness before it gets cloying. Charred woods comes to the forefront as it warms. The dry finish also becomes more noticeable.
Overall, another very impressive brew from North Coast. It takes a bit to get used to all the fruit notes, but the charred and toasted character along with peppery hops lead to a very nice balance. Pick this up when you find it!
Spicy hops aromas lead the way in North Coast Red Seal Ale. It’s more of a hazy copper than it is red, however.
Slightly roasted and slightly sweet malt are balanced very well by the spicy, piney hops. There’s even an underlying hint of ginger, I believe.The finish is long, dry, and more bitter than expected. Overall, the flavors are not overpowering or particularly big, but it tastes good and it’s well balanced.
Pretty tasty red ale, this. Maybe not on the same level as other North Coast offerings such as Old Rasputin and Old Stock ale, but you won’t be disappointed.
Perhaps best known for the bird theme on all its beers, Mendocino should also be noted for being part of the craft beer Renaissance in the US, opening in the early 80s. In fact, it was the first brewpub in California and second in the US overall.
The aroma of the Mendocino Oatmeal Stout promises lots of oatmeal flavor along with oily hops and perhaps some molasses. Full of big, earthy flavors, this is a very smooth stout. Roasted oats dominate (as they should), followed by bittersweet chocolate, bourbon, and wood. Floral hops make a nice presence at the end, but don’t overshadow anything.
Quite quaffable, but I wouldn’t be opposed to more oatmeal in this