A couple of beers on tap at Pacific Coast Brewing in Oakland - on the left, Stone’s Matt’s Burning Rosids Imperial Cherry Wood Smoked Saison (a 3 of 4), and on the right, Schubros Branch Line Double IPA (a 3 of 4). Matt’s Burning Rosids is an incredibly interesting beer - some very weird notes come from the smoke and wood notes combined with the notes from the yeast. Quite a lot of fruit notes, and a bit cloying on the palate, but incredibly complex and powerful (as one would expect from Stone). The Branch Line Double IPA is a nice, well-balanced DIPA - it has a relatively powerful malt back with some good caramel notes that help balance the quite powerful bitterness here. A relatively typical tropical fruit and resin hop profile, and some nice carbonation that keeps this quite drinkable. Solid stuff.
A trio of beers at Trappist Provisions in Oakland. On the top, Tahoe Mountain’s Recolte du Bois Apricot (a 4 of 4). Awesome subtle and tart beer - not too powerful or puckering on the palate, and some nice light citrus and melon light fruit notes throughout. Very, very easy to drink, and just the right level of complexity. On the bottom left, Faction’s Spring IPA (a 3 of 4) - a solid standard IPA - a bit lighter in the body than some, but a firm bitterness and the relatively standard citrus/pine profile. Some nice malt sweetness to balance, but not an incredibly thick body, and easy to drink. On the bottom right, Fort Point Brewing’s Villager IPA (a 3 of 4). My first from Fort Point, and this is solid - a relatively simple light malt back with quite a lot of smooth carbonation. Nice and simple on the palate, but a decent bit of bitterness and a nose on the earthy side of things.
A couple of beers on tap at Zeitgeist in San Francisco. On the left, Bear Republic’s Olde Scoutter’s Barleywine (a 3 of 4), and on the right Heretic’s Bourbon Shallow Grave (a 4 of 4). Two relatively heavy-hitters on a nice sunny day on the patio. The Olde Scoutter is a clearly American interpretation of a barleywine - incredibly hoppy in the nose and body, yet a nice solid caramel sweetness in the body. Quite bitter on the finish, and decently easy to drink even at 10%+. The bourbon barrel aged Shallow Grave is great - it’s clear this spent time in a bourbon barrel right away - the nose has a ton of vanilla and other sweet bourbon and barrel notes. The barrel didn’t make the base porter lose any of its complexity - it’s incredibly deep and rich with lots of chocolate and dark fruit notes reminiscent of a complex stout. Awesome stuff.
A visit to Anchor Brewing in San Francisco. An excellent tour + tasting. I’ve had nearly the full line-up before the tour, but they just seem to taste better directly from the source - incredibly fresh and lots more complexity than out of a bottle. The one out of the lineup that I hadn’t had yet was Anchor’s Saison - a new offering, and the first using a Belgian yeast strain (and any non-house strain for that matter). It’s probably a 2 of 4 in my mind - it is clear it is a belgian yeast strain, but the banana/bubblegum and other notes are quite overt in the nose and up front in the body. It’s quite drinkable, but lacks a lot of subtlety, although it’s high carbonation is nice on the palate. Not bad, but a bit weird that Anchor would roll out a whole new yeast for this - I’d expect to see it only in a Zymaster series. Given that this tour is free, it’s a must-do - although get a reservation way in advance!