This weeks Beer of the Week is Napa Smith Brewing’s Lost Dog Red Ale that comes in at 7.2% abv. This is not a typical example of the Red Ale style seeing that the beer pours more of a golden orange color than the typical deep red. The beer also does not have the typical strong malt base with a significant hop character. Having said this it is still a very goo d beer just not what I was expecting. The beer does pour a golden orange with a nice frothy head that dissipates to about a half inch that leaves decent lacing. The beer has a very faint aroma that is not very distinctive but is most likely from the hops. The beer has a roasted malt flavor with just the slightest hint of hop character and almost a peppery flavor. This beer has a great dry finish which I love in a Red Ale. The Lost Dog has a very thin mouthfeel with a heavier than expected carbonation. I overall enjoyed this beer but I feel that calling it a Red Ale is just a bit misleading. The beer is evaluable in 22oz bottles for around $5.
The beer of the week is He’Brew Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A. by Shmaltz Brewing. This beer is a double IPA made with rye malt. Rye is one of my favorite ingredients that is being used a lot more these days. This beer is aggressively hoped and comes in at 10% abv. The RIPA pours a deep red almost caramel color with a large frothy head the dissipates down to a very thin layer. The aroma from this beer is sweet with a noticeable hop and rye with just a hint of alcohol. The first thing that you notice about the beer is it has a very strong malt character. Then you get that nice spicy rye flavor and the finish is all hops. There is just the slightest of of alcohol flavor. The beer is sweet and biter at the same time as the name would lead you to believe. The beer has a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel with just a little carbonation to offset it. I really like this beer but I wish they would also make an IPA version of this beer that could bring out the great rye and hop flavors of this beer. This beer is availible in 22oz bottles and on tap if you can find it. This is a great summer night cap beer.
This weeks Beer of the Week is Russian River Brewing Company’s flag ship beer Pliny the Elder. This beer is renowned for being one of the best Imperial IPA’s in the world. First off this beer is an Imperial IPA with 8% abv and some where around 100 IBU’s that has won gold medals at both the World Beer Cup and The Great American Beer Festival. The beer pours a hazy golden yellow with a hint of orange with a frothy one inch white head that dissipates quickly. The aroma of this beer is all pine, grass and grapefruit hop aromas and no off putting alcohol that is common in this style. The beer has a nice malt backbone but from there on it is all hops but not overwhelming. The hop flavors start with a nice citrus flavor that transform into a dry slightly bitter finish. The hop flavor will stay with you a little while after you are done with the beer. It has a nice almost smooth mouthfeel. It is very drinkable and refreshing for a beer with almost a 100 IBU’s. This is one of my favorite beers of all time but those of you who are not hop heads yet you can give Russian Rivers Blind Pig IPA a try. It has similar flavors but just on a smaller scale. Pliny The Elder can be found on tap and in 500 ml bottles all over the Bay Area and is distributed to Southern California and a couple other states.
This weeks Beer of the Week is Full Sail’s Slipknot which one gold at the 2008 World Beer Championship. This is the first release of 2009 for the Brewmaster Reserve series of beers that they have been producing for more than ten years. The Slipknot is an Imperial IPA with 7.8% abv and around 80 IBUs. This beer pours a clear golden color with a one inch white head. There is a noticeable hop aroma that is more on the piny side. The flavor is more of a subtle hop up front for an imperial IPA but finishes with a strong hop flavor. The malt base is the first thing you taste followed by a bitter hop finish. The hop flavor is definitely more on the pine side than the floral or citrus flavors that are usually more predominate in this style. The mouth feel is also a little thin for a beer of almost 8% abv. The beer is very drinkable and would recommend picking one up soon before they are all gone. Slipknot should be off the shelves soon because the next Brewmaster Reserve beer, Imperial Porter, is available now.
This weeks beer of the week is Sierra Nevada’s Southern Hemisphere that is 6.7% abv and has 66 ibus. This is part of Sierra Nevada’s Harvest Series which includes the Chico Estate and Wet Hop Pale Ales that are availible at different times throught the year. This beer features fresh hops from New Zealand because they harvest their hops in the spring time instead of the fall like we do up here in the northern hemisphere. The hops were picked, dried, shipped to Chico and put into the kettle with in one week. This beer was first made for the fist time last year and was the first US made beer to feature fresh New Zealand hops. The beer pours a nice golden copper color with an nice light refreshing hop aroma. The beer does not have that typical American Pale Ale taste that we are use to because of the use of New Zealand Motueka and New Zealand Southern Cross hops but it is still wonderful. The malt base is strong for a pale ale but the refreshing fresh hops are very noticeable with a nice citrus and grapefruit flavor. The smoth mouthfeel makes this beer an easy drinker. This is a great pale ale for those hot summer days that have come so quickly this year. The Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere is available in 24oz bottles for about $4 and is available now.
New Belgium’s Biere de Mars is back and is as wonderful as ever. This was a seasonal release a few years back and now they are re-releasing it as part of their Lips of Faith series. I was lucky enough to sample this great beer last week at the New Belgium brewery in Fort Collins. The Biere de Mars was my favorite seasonal beer that New Belgium use to produce and was very happy when I heard that it was coming back. This is a fantastic refreshing spring beer with lemon and mango flavors. The beer pours a golden orange with a small white head. The beer is lightly carbonated with a smooth creamy mouthfeel with a nice dry finish. The predominant flavors in this beer are citrus notes with a nice Belgium yeast flavor. This beer as also bottle conditioned with a wild yeast strain (Brettanomyces) that imparts a nice sour flavor on the palette. Biere de Mars is available on tap and in bottles through the breweries Lips of Faith program and hopefully available soon out here in the Bay Area. I hope that everyone gets a chance to try this fantastic beer.
This weeks beer of the week is Stone Brewing Belgium inspired IPA, Cali-Belgique IPA. Stone’s Cali-Belgique IPA is 6.9% abv and has 77 IBUs. The beer is named for the combination of California style (Cali) and Belgique for the Belgium style (witch is how the French speaking Belgiums pronounce it). This beer was first released in late 2008 and is a limited release 22oz bottle. Stone discribes this beer as a California IPA that grew up in Belgium. The beer pours a golden yellow color with a nice thick one inch head. The aroma of this beer is dominated by a citrus hop aroma. The beer is more carbonated then the normal IPA but it is more in line with the Belgium style. The first flavor that hits your mouth is a bitter pine hop flavor followed by that distinct hearty Belgium yeast flavor. The beer finishes with that same hop flavor that you started with. This is an amazing example of this new emerging style coming from southern California. Green Flash Brewing also does a great version of a California IPA with a Belgium yeast strain called Le Freak. Th Stone Cali-Belgique IPA can be found at your better beer stores from $5-$6.