Tahoe Mountain’s Récolte Du Bois Peach (Picked up at ØL in Walnut Creek, CA). A 4 of 4. One of the easiest 4’s I’ve given in a while - Tahoe Mountain is simply making excellent stuff. Features the fruit and funk equally well - there’s some great peach sweetness and just slightly tart with a brett presence as well. Some lighter fruit notes as well - this isn’t the most complex thing ever, but peaches + brett + tartness + oak perfectly in balance is just about all I could ask for. Clean, yet funky, and peach forward.

9 hours ago 6 notes

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (Thanks, Brad!). A 4 of 4. Somehow haven’t posted this before despite having it a few times (including on tap at my brother’s wedding!). Simply an excellent porter. Easy-drinking at 5.8%, and a nose full of chocolate and coffee. Drinks with a medium body on the sweet side of things, with a similar taste as the nose. Just enough bitterness to balance, and leaves your palate with a faint (but not overly sweet) milk chocolate taste. Excellent stuff.

1 day ago 15 notes

Southern Tier’s PMX Pale Ale (Picked up at Circle Liquors in Somers Point, NJ). A 2 of 4. Nice, bright drinkable pale ale. Mostly citrus up front and a very light grain profile. Not too bitter in the body - mostly a sweet presence, and some more tropical fruit presence. The grain bill is extremely mild here - quite light bodied.

2 days ago 9 notes

Russian River’s It Takes a Lot of Great Beer to Make Great Wine (Thanks, Ian!). A 3 of 4. A great, sessionable pale ale. The hop profile alone is very indicative of Russian River - there’s some simcoe in the nose as well as a nice saison quality, as well as a standard light grain quality to it. Quite crisp and easy to drink with a decently bitter body. The saison yeast produces some nice faint spice and grassy notes, and the light grain and bready malt notes make this quite drinkable. This won’t blow your mind, but of the 5%~ish pale ales out there, this is excellent.

3 days ago 10 notes

Dark Horse’s Reserve Special Black Ale (Thanks, Brad!). A 3 of 4. Smells quite strongly of roast, as well as some more subtle chocolate and coffee notes. Quite bitter up front as well as a lot of roasted notes, which fades to some nice malt sweetness in the body. Medium thickness body that carries everything quite well. If you like IPAs, this has the bitterness. If you like roast-y porters and stouts, this has the malt complexity there. Good stuff - relatively easy to drink.

4 days ago 9 notes

Green Flash’s White IPA (Picked up at Berkeley Bowl). A 3 of 4. A very good IPA - the body is a bit bigger and more caramelized than I’d expect out of a White IPA, and has some great resinous presence. The nose is basically all hops (citrus, resin) with some relatively powerful grain/wheat notes as well. Quite bitter - not the easiest to drink, but the hop complexity (from Simcoe, El Dorado, and Amarillo) is a lot better than I’ve seen in many other White IPAs.

5 days ago 7 notes

Berryessa’s Double Tap IPA on tap at Pacific Coast Brewing. A 3 of 4. Quite good - some nice sticky lacing and a bright body with quite a lot of tropical notes and citrus in the nose. Drinks with a medium body and a solid amount of bitterness but some nice sweetness to balance and finishes crisply. Nothing pushes this to a 4 for me, but this is very, very well done.

6 days ago 4 notes

Siren’s Broken Dream Grand Cru Barrel Aged Stout (Picked up at CASK Pub & Kitchen in London). A 3 of 4. Very good - the cherries add a nice fruity touch that helps cut through the rather strong flavors on the front end. Aged in Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Jack Daniels, and Buffalo Trace barrels, and then blended with cherries. As a result, the cherry mostly dominates the bourbon qualities of this, which I like quite a bit. Much more highly carbonated and prickly on the palate than I was expecting - some roast and mild chocolate and burnt coffee notes up front, and then mostly cherry in the finish. Finishes relatively cleanly with a bit of bitterness and roast.

1 week ago 10 notes

Oskar Blues Nitro Old Chub on tap at Barclays in Oakland. A 3 of 4. Beautiful color and nitro body. Simply disappears in your mouth in a good way - the nitro makes this 8% beer seem incredibly delicate and light with nice toffee and roast notes, as well as a bit creamy. Almost a touch too light and watery, but just like the normal Old Chub, this is great stuff.

1 week ago 10 notes

Arcadia’s Hop Rocket (Thanks, Brad!). A 2 of 4. Quite malty for a Imperial IPA - while there is quite a bit of grapefruit in the nose, there’s some relatively powerful sweetness there, as well as in the body. The body is quite bitter and sticky, which gets to be a bit much on the palate after a bit. The hops are here, for sure, but there isn’t a ton of nuance to them. Because the body is sticky, the bitterness lingers forever, and unfortunately the relatively powerful malty sweetness doesn’t help cut it all that much. A decent beer, but not my favorite Imperial IPA, for sure.

1 week ago 7 notes

Sam Adams Rebel IPA on tap at a California Pizza Kitchen somewhere near Dublin/Pleasanton. A 2 of 4. Nice bright citrus up front in a drinkable, slightly bitter body. Decent light grain sweetness and a relatively light body. As this warms up quite a bit, there’s some nice citrus nuance in the nose, but nothing exceptional. Not bad at all.

1 week ago 5 notes

Heater Allen’s Rauch Dunkel (Picked up at ØL Beercafe & Bottleshop in Walnut Creek). A 3 of 4. A beautiful color that seems matched to the label, and has a great lightly smoked quality in the nose - it’s not overpowering and not burnt. Some nutty and caramel notes are also present, and particularly in the body, some honey-like ones. Drinks very easily with a nice light body and just enough carbonation - not prickly on the palate at all. Finishes with some faint smoke - nice subtle incorporation throughout.

1 week ago 7 notes

Mad River’s Jamaica Sunset IPA on tap at Brennan’s in Berkeley during some Sunday NFL games. A 2 of 4. Nice sticky lacing and color on this beer. Mostly citrus and some herbal hop notes, but not a powerful bitterness on the palate. Not the most nuanced hop profile and the body is a bit thick and sweet. Nothing wrong here at all, just doesn’t stand out in my mind.

1 week ago 6 notes

Bell’s Third Coast Beer (Thanks, Brad!). A 3 of 4. A solid, drinkable blonde ale. A beautiful hazy color. Smells faintly of citrus and quite a bit of simple grain and some spice notes as well. Drinks very easily with some more biscuity/breadiness in the body and a faint grassy bitterness. A somewhat thicker body than one would expect in a beer like this, but it’s a nice touch. As blonde ales go, this has some nice touches - the thicker body and the nuance up front are well done.

1 week ago 7 notes

A couple of liters of great Oktoberfest beers at Barclays in Oakland. On the left, Iron Springs Oktoberfest (a 3 of 4), and on the right, Peak Organic’s Hop Harvest Oktoberfest (a 3 of 4). As the photo shows, the Iron Springs is much redder (and has the malt profile to match). Still quite drinkable but quite a lot of nice toasted and caramel malt notes. The Peak is the opposite - much hoppier and a thicker, almost chewy body. Some good malty sweetness, but there’s a firm amount of bitterness here that cuts it. If I had to reach for another, I’d reach for the Peak. Both are great, but a hoppy Oktoberfest is much more my style.

2 weeks ago 5 notes