Dog Friendly Brewery Series – Livermore

I love good beer. I also love enjoying good beer with my wife and dog. I therefore really love doing both together. Unfortunately, that is not always possible (unless done at home). Hence, the following series.

I cannot profess to know every single dog friendly brewery in the state, but I do believe I have a pretty good grip of the best ones in a few different areas, namely SF, the Bay Area and north, and the Central Coast. This series will pass along my knowledge on this ever so important topic.

Some of the prior articles in these series are here:

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – San Francisco Part 2

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – North SF Bay Area

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – San Francisco

This blog looks at some dog friendly breweries in Livermore.

Livermore has recently gained popularity for its vineyards, however do not sleep on the breweries in town.

Altamont Beer Works

I have had many of Altamont’s beers, but until this weekend, had not actually visited the brewery.  Their recent collaboration with Cellarmaker for the Dank of America DIPA was reason enough for a trip.

Altamont is in (as expected) an industrial area off of Research Dr.  The tasting room is a bit on the small side and mostly standing room only.  It was pretty jammed when we were there, with several dogs.

Altamont is a hophead heaven.  Hella Hoppy is a solid brew, but the Dank of America is the best of their beers I have had.

Altamont has caught on to the crowler craze, which is a welcome sight (especially for us beer traders, way less risk of breakage).

No food, but apparently they have food trucks some nights. Still a must stop of the beer.

http://altamontbeerworks.com/

Working Man Brewing and Eight Bridges

Welp, I have not been to either of these, but understand they are both dog friendly.  Another trip to Livermore is needed to check these out.

The problem (if you want to call it that) with Livermore is the wineries.  It is very difficult for me to drag my lovely wife and pup out there and not visit some wineries.  For all the breweries I drag them along to, we have to make some winery trips.  So, only Altamont on this trip.

http://www.eightbridgesbrewing.com

http://www.workingmanbrewing.com

Other Stops!

Everytime I have been in Livermore I have eaten at the same spot, First Street Ale House. No real need to go anywhere else though, as they have great food and brews.

First Street has nearly 30 beers on tap.  Some are always on tap (Hella Hoppy, Sculpin, CL smoothies, Guinness), and then they have several more on rotation.  Last time they had some Knee Deep and Mission Brewing.  Typically at least 5 solid IPAs to dive into.

Food is standard pub fare but with a bit of variety and flare.  I always go for a Cajun burger, and am never disappointed.

Most importantly, they have a fairly large back patio which is very dog friendly!

 

http://www.firststreetalehouse.com

There are also countless wineries that are dog friendly.  Our favorite is Wente (the one in the hills, not closer to town).  Wife loves their wine and it is beautiful.

All in all, Livermore makes for a great day trip WHEN it is not pushing three digits.  It was 82 today which was actually perfectly comfortable.  Will be heading back to try the other breweries in town.

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Dog Friendly Brewery Series – Tahoe Part 2

I love good beer. I also love enjoying good beer with my wife and dog. I therefore really love doing both together. Unfortunately, that is not always possible (unless done at home). Hence, the following series.

I cannot profess to know every single dog friendly brewery in the state, but I do believe I have a pretty good grip of the best ones in a few different areas, namely SF, the Bay Area and north, and the Central Coast. This series will pass along my knowledge on this ever so important topic.

Some of the prior articles in these series are here:

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – San Francisco Part 2

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – North SF Bay Area

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – San Francisco

This post is a continuation of a prior post, linked here: Dog Friendly Brewery Series – Tahoe and Auburn

The first blog dealt with North Lake Tahoe.  This post touches on the breweries in the South Lake Tahoe area.

Stateline Brewery

Stateline Brewery, is, as expected, right near Stateline.  Technically it is in California in Heavenly Village.  The brewery itself is basically in a huge basement.  It is a large space that can get pretty busy for dinner.  However, the best part of the brewery is probably the outside seating right on Highway 50.

The outdoor sitting was plentiful when we were there (Memorial Day Weekend at about 4 in the afternoon).  There were good happy hour deals, even on Saturday, for drink and apps.  Unfortunately, there is no lake view, but there is solid people watching.

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I had an Acclimator IPA, which was better than I remembered their beers being.  They also had a variety of beers from other breweries, which was nice to have as they only had a few of their own beers on tap when we were there.

The service when we sat outside was solid (when we went for dinner it was pretty slammed and the service was not as great).

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http://www.statelinebrewery.com/

Brewery at Lake Tahoe

The Brewery at Lake Tahoe is not as conveniently located as Stateline Brewery if you are staying in the more touristy area.  The Brewery is a little over a mile away from Stateline on Lake Tahoe Blvd on the California side.

The Brewery has a decent sized dog friendly area, albeit with no real views and not as great of people watching as you get at Stateline.

Beers are good, nothing too exciting but drinkable.

I have not eaten here yet, but plan to do so next trip up and will give an update.

http://www.brewerylaketahoe.com/

MacDuff’s Pub

Although clearly not a brewery, MacDuffs has one of the better beer selections in Tahoe and a large, comfortable dog friendly patio with a peak of a lake view.  The food is also better than average pub food, with great (and huge) burgers and fish and chips.

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It is a must hit when in Tahoe, and the owner, as evidenced by their glasses, is a dog lover (that is actually his dog on the glass).

http://macduffspub.com/

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – Tahoe and Auburn

I love good beer. I also love enjoying good beer with my wife and dog. I therefore really love doing both together. Unfortunately, that is not always possible (unless done at home). Hence, the following series.

I cannot profess to know every single dog friendly brewery in the state, but I do believe I have a pretty good grip of the best ones in a few different areas, namely SF, the Bay Area and north, and the Central Coast. This series will pass along my knowledge on this ever so important topic.

The fourth in this series will focus on dog-friendly breweries in the Tahoe area and Auburn (nothing in South Lake, as both breweries I have been to there do not allow dogs).

See other articles in this series here:

https://californiaipas.com/2015/07/28/dog-friendly-brewery-series-north-sf-bay-area/

https://californiaipas.com/2015/04/05/dog-friendly-brewery-series-sf-bay-area-east-bay-and-peninsula/

https://californiaipas.com/2015/03/09/dog-friendly-breweries-series-san-francisco/

Knee Deep Brewing

Knee Deep is one of my current, favorite breweries.  To top off the great beer, they are dog friendly.

Knee Deep is in Auburn, although it is not necessarily a quick stop off the freeway of you are driving up to Tahoe.  Nonetheless, it is worth the stop.

The brewery is right by the Auburn airport in an industrial area.  There is a large indoor area and a pretty decent sized outdoor area, which seems to often have food trucks.  The pups are allowed inside or out.

The space is laid back with cornhole, plenty of space, and most importantly, awesome beers.  Knee Deep is doing some of the best double and triple IPAs around right now.  The list when we went was full of awesome beers.

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Naturally, I had to get a flight.  I went with the first 8 on the list, and as expected, all were solid.  The Simtra and Lupulin River stood out, but I could have any of their brews.

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I expect to stop here every time I go to Tahoe, as the beers truly cannot be missed.

http://kneedeepbrewing.com/

Auburn Alehouse

Auburn Alehouse is another good option for stopping on the way to Tahoe.  Auburn Alehouse is right of the freeway in Old Town.  However, there are often decent waits, especially on a nice day to sit outside.  Nonetheless, if you want more of a place to eat, this is probably it.

The Alehouse has a smallish patio out back that is often pretty busy.

They have a large variety of beers, and something for most people’s taste.  Food is decent, and atmosphere is solid.

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The PU240 IIPA was probably my favorite brew.  I would certainly return on a nice day, especially if the plan is to eat lunch or dinner.

http://auburnalehouse.com/

Fifty Fifty Brewing

Fifty Brewing is in Truckee in over by the airport.  It is a prototypical brewpup, with small dog friendly patio.

Beer was decent, but the day we were there the service was less than stellar.  Food was pretty good, again, standard bar food.

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I am inclined to give them another shot, as they were very dog friendly.

http://fiftyfiftybrewing.com/

Tahoe Mountain Brewing

Tahoe Mountain has two locations, one in Truckee and one in Tahoe City.  The Truckee location is a bit off the beaten path, and is just a brewery.  Cool location, small, and the focus is on the beer.  Dog are allowed to hang in the bar area.

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The Tahoe City location is right downtown and has a large patio along the street where dogs are allowed.  The restaurant has a typical brewery menu, burgers, fish and chips, some salad etc.  I had the fish and chips, and it was fantastic.  I get fish and chips alot and this was up there.  The kicker was the homemade tartar-esque sauce.

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They are also making some great beer.  Hop Dragon, Hop Song and Party Boy are all solid brews, especially the Hop Dragon.

Bonus tip: buy their mustard.  It is bomb.  I am not a mustard guy, but something about theirs is special.  The hot sauce is real good too.

http://www.tahoebrewing.com/

Let me know if there are any I missed in the comments.  Otherwise, go get a beer with the pup!

Where To Drink – Drake’s Dealership

Had a chance to check out the new Drake’s Dealership in Oakland last week, and it was awesome.

Drake’s Dealership is in the new “Hive” gathering place in Uptown Oakland.  The Hive has potential to be a pretty awesome place, with Drake’s and what looks like a few new restaurants, People’s Barbershop etc.  http://hiveoakland.com/

Drake’s is in an old parts and service department for Dodge.  The building is very cool, all brink and timber.  The best part is the huge outdoor beer garden, that is importantly dog-friendly.

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Good ol’ Denogginizer

I did not get a good pic of the space, as I was focused on the beer.  However, above, you can see some of the outdoor area in the background.  There is self-seating or tables, and plenty of it.  They also have a stage area for live bands.

The indoor area is also pretty large, with a large bar area, big open kitchen, and a room that was empty when we went, seems like a good place to have a private party or for overflow.

They had what seemed like all the Drake’s beers on tap, plus about 15 guest beers.  I went with Drake’s IPA, Denogginizer, and the 8×80.  I have had the IPA and Denog many times before, but never seen the 8×80.  Well, the 8×80 was great.  It was bigger than the 7×70, but not overpowering.  A real nice, balanced brew.  Hops were present but not overpowering.  Liked it more than the 7×70.  Hope to see this one around more often.

The food was also great.  We started with some spicy fries, which were bomb (they also have salt and vinegar fries, regular fires, and poutine).  They also have several New Haven style pizzas, which is pretty cool.  My brother lives just outside New Haven, and so I have had Pepe’s pizza several times, and this was a pretty good knock off.  Nice blistered crust, served on a cookie sheet.  Pretty authentic.

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Overall, I loved Drake’s Dealership.  Drakes brews great beer, but the brewery is a little off the beaten path, so the new spot is pretty great, and worth a trip to Oakland on its own.  Look forward to heading back.

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – North SF Bay Area

I love good beer. I also love enjoying good beer with my wife and dog. I therefore really love doing both together. Unfortunately, that is not always possible (unless done at home). Hence, the following series.

I cannot profess to know every single dog friendly brewery in the state, but I do believe I have a pretty good grip of the best ones in a few different areas, namely SF, the Bay Area and north, and the Central Coast. This series will pass along my knowledge on this ever so important topic.

The third in this series will focus on dog-friendly breweries north of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lagunitas Brewery

Let’s start with one of the better known craft breweries, Lagunitas.

The Lagunitas brewery is a great stop.  Although it is in an industrial area, once you walk through the gates, it is all brewery and good times.

Lagunitas has a huge outdoor patio filled with picnic type tables.  It is never easy to find a seat, despite the fact that it is pretty huge.  Dogs are allowed anywhere outside.

Weekend afternoons will oftentimes have live music.

Food is good, not great.  Fairly standard fare, essentially nachos, wings and sandwiches.

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Mound of nachos at Lagunitas.

Beers are most of your favorite Lagunitas classics.  IPA, Hoop Stooid, Pils etc.  They typically do not seem to have many “special” releases or harder to find options, but the environment and other classics make up for it.

https://lagunitas.com/taprooms/petaluma

Bear Republic Brewing

Lagunitas and Bear Republic in one day is a good day in my book.

Bear Republic is a short drive up the 101, about 30 miles.

Bear Republic has a decent sized outside patio where dogs are allowed.  Bear Republic is more of a brewpup that Lagunitas, feel more like a restaurant than a brewery.  Little bit tighter squeeze for the dog.

Food is a little higher end with a huge menu.  Something for everyone.

Beers are great.  I am a big fan of Bear Republic so am always happy.  More likely to get something unique or new here than Lagunitas.  Last time for me, it was the Hop Shovel, which was fantastic.

Great place for dinner and a few beers.

http://bearrepublic.com/brewpub/

Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Anderson Valley Brewing Company is a doggie heaven.  The property is huge, including a disc golf course.

Dogs are allowed both inside the tasting room and all over the outdoor grounds.  It takes a few hours for us to get here, so when we finally make it, the huge property is perfect for the pup.

I personally think the Boont Amber is by far their best beer.  Certainly will find some beers at the brewery you do not see in the stores down here.

One of these days I would love to stay nearby to be able to spend the whole afternoon playing disc golf and hanging out, but most of the time we keep driving and spend the night at Mendocino.

(Also, NEED to get to their annual Beer Fest, have had conflicts the last few years)

https://avbc.com/the-brewery/

Russian River Brew Pub

Russian River Brewery, more known for their Pliny the Elder and Younger than the dog friendly aspect.  I will admit, we have never brought the dog here, as most times it is either crazy packed or we are just stopping to stock up on Pliny and Blind Pig for home.  NOTE – apparently dogs have to be leashed outside the gated area, so they cannot be “in” the patio area with you…

Last time I was there was a Tuesday late-morning, so there were plenty of seats out front that the dog could be at.

What else is there to say about Russian River?  It is an experience for all beer nerds due to the cult following they have created.  So, this place is maybe more about the beer than worrying if the dog can make it (sorry Sara!!).

IMG_6275http://russianriverbrewing.com/brew-pub/

Stumptown Brewery

One of our favorite dog friendly weekends is the Russian River.  But, not Russian River Brewery, actually going to the river and staying at a cabin or one of the little inns nearby.

We can go to the river with the dog, take her to wineries, and a few dog friendly restaurants in Guerneville.  So, for going to the wineries all day, my treat is going to Stumptown at the end of the day.

Stumptown is right on the main road, located above the river.  Stumptown has a huge back patio that looks over a grassy area and the river.  People oftentimes pull their canoes/tubes up at Stumptown and grab a beer.

Technically, the dogs are only allowed in a small gated dog area.  I have seen several dogs in there before.  There is a small table you can sit at in the dog area, however it is not an idea place to have to sit (so, if you are not comfortable leaving your dog alone with other dogs, this may not be for you).

Sometimes, late at night or on weekdays when it is not busy, we have had the pup on the balcony with us, but it has to be quiet for that to happen.

The beer is decent, Rat Bastard Pale is my favorite.  We have never eaten there, but the food is basic bar fare.

You come here for the view and because it is the only brewery on the river!

http://stumptown.com/

Marin Brewing Company

Marin Brewing Company is right across the bay from SF.  Located in a small mall in Larkspur, you do not have high expectations as you fight to find parking.  However, once you get through the mall and to the main attraction, you will find a pretty hopping brewery with a ton of outdoor seats.

Again, this falls more under the brewpup than brewery theme, but they do have a great selection of their beers on tap.  They make a few good IPAs, 3 Flowers being my favorite.  They also have some unique fruit beers, including raspberry, blueberry and a peach beer.

Food is good enough, standard bar food.

Sometimes a great way to get out of the City and/or Karl the Fog as you can get there quickly and easily.

http://www.marinbrewing.com/

Iron Springs Pub

The most recent North Bay brewery we visited was Iron Springs.  Iron Spring is in Fairfax, and a great stop on the way home after a hike in the Marin Headlands/Fairfax.

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Pre-brewery hike at the aptly named Lake Lagunitas.

I had never heard of Iron Springs before recently, by finding the brewery online when looking for post-hike beer/lunch.  Now that I have been there, I have noticed it popping up in a few local bars.  This is for good reason, they make some quality beers.

I really enjoyed the Casey Jones Imperial IPA (which has a dog on the label!).  The JC Flyer IPA was also quite good.

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Very impressive flight at Iron Springs.

The food was pretty good as well.  A slightly more varied menu than a typical brewery.  NOthing fancy or too crazy, but a good amount of options.

Definitely a must stop after a day in the North Bay.

http://ironspringspub.com/the-pub/

Again, these are probably not all the dog friendly breweries in the greater North Bay area, but this is a pretty good start for a nice little road trip!  I will be writing an article about dog friendly breweries in the Tahoe/Gold Country area soon!

Let me know if I missed any in the comments.

Dog Friendly Brewery Series – SF Bay Area – East Bay and Peninsula

I love good beer. I also love enjoying good beer with my wife and dog. I therefore really love doing both together. Unfortunately, that is not always possible (unless done at home). Hence, the following series.

I cannot profess to know every single dog friendly brewery in the state, but I do believe I have a pretty good grip of the best ones in a few different areas, namely SF, the Bay Area and north, and the Central Coast. This series will pass along my knowledge on this ever so important topic.

The second in this series will focus on dog-friendly breweries in my expanded backyard, the East Bay and Peninsula of the San Francisco Bay Area.

A future article will follow on the North Bay, as there are a ton of dog friendly breweries up there!

East Bay

Drakes

Drakes brews great beers, and has plenty of room for the pup.  Perfect combo.

Drakes has a large outdoor area, with covered and uncovered seating.  Last trip over there it was raining, but we could still enjoy some brews outside with the pup in the covered seating area.

It is in a somewhat awkward area and hard to find the first time you go, but worth the trek (note, basically go into the Walmart parking lot, drive past the Walmart entrance while avoiding the Walmartions, and you are there).

They have food, but I have not yet tried anything other than the snacks (nuts, pretzels).  Apparently, they rotate the food menu, as I have seen days where most of the food was paninis, and other days where they only had tacos and quesadillas.

They have a pretty diverse beer selection, with everything from hop bombs to sours and everything in between.  This is also a bonus as it caters to more than just hopheads.

They also have a special event on the first Friday of each month with food trucks, music, etc.

Overall, one of my favorite places to take the pup to get high quality beers.

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Oh yeah, and Hopocalypse Black Label is pretty damn good.

http://drinkdrakes.com/barrelhouse/

Faction

Faction’s biggest draw is likely the view.

Faction is right on the bay in Alameda.  Day or night, the view is silly.  As a result, it tends to be packed on weekends.

Weekends they tend to have a food truck or BBQ stand.  Getting a seat outside can be tough on a nice day.  There is plenty of seating inside as well, and I have seen people with their dogs inside.

Beers are all pretty solid, and they tend to sway more on the hoppy, bigger beers.  This is somewhat of a bummer, as the wife is not huge on hops, making a trip here require some compromise (ie, go across the street to the Building 43 Winery).

One day we will do the whole Alameda experience, hitting the distilleries and taking the ferry, and that will presumably get a little messy.

Overall, a must hit on a clear day.

http://factionbrewing.com/tasting-room/

Linden Street

Linden Street is a cool brewery as it is a change of pace.  Linden Street makes unique beers, and although big hops bombs are not on the menu, other really good and different beers are.

The Common Lager, Black Lager and Bitter are my favorites.

Laid back atmosphere and decent amount of outdoor seating.  Most of the seating is shaded, so it can get crispy. They have a Ramen guy on site usually, and apparently also have food trucks on occassion, although I have not been there for that.

A nice bonus is they seem to be rescue dog advocates and occasionally have events with rescue organizations.

This is a great place to go to just take it easy and have a few more lightly hopped and low-ABV beers.

http://www.lindenstreetbrewing.com/

Peninsula

Half Moon Bay Brewery

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is one of my all-time favorite weekend spots.  Hop in the car with the wife and pup, get a good hike in in McNee State Park or a run from the harbor to Moss Beach and back, then put back a few and eat great food.

I have dedicated a whole blog to HMB: https://californiaipas.com/2014/08/25/half-moon-bay-brewing-company/

I must say over the last year or two, they have really stepped up their beers.  Before, the big draw was the location and food, however the quality of their beers has really increased recently.

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How do you complain about this?

Hop Dogma

Hop Dogma is the other brewery in Half Moon Bay/El Granada.

Hop Dogma is in a cool Victorian building in what is apparently the downtown El Granada.  It is a relatively small space and only has indoor seating.  However, since they do not serve food (other than maybe some potato chips), the pups are allowed inside!

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Sara relaxing inside Hop Dogma

The beers tend to be hop forward (good for CaliforniaIPA, not good for Mrs. CaliforniaIPA).  You can get pints or samplers.  I have enjoyed most of the beers I have had thus far, especially the IPAs and Pales.

dogma 1A great stop for high quality beers and good people, and you can bring the dog even if the weather is bad!

http://hopdogma.com/

Freewheel Brewing Company

Disclaimer.  I have not yet been here.  Terrible, I know.  How can this guy call himself CaliforniaIPA but he has never been to a brewery 30 miles away from him?

I have had a few of Freewheel’s beers and was impressed.  They focus on English-style cask conditioned ales, and so I owe it to my heritage to get there ASAP and have some brews and fish and chips.

California inspired English pub food, a visit and update to this post is to come ASAP.

http://freewheelbrewing.com/

Devil’s Canyon Brewery

Bad – Devil’s Canyon is mostly only open on Friday’s.  Good – they allow dogs on that one day.

Devil’s Canyon makes some pretty solid beers.  Their most popular beer seems to be the Full Boar Scotch Ale, I like the Sunshine Rye IPA.  Their line-up is fairly diverse with something to suit everyone.

On Fridays they host off the grid, so you know you will get some good grub to go with the good food.  The schedule is usually posted online at: http://devilscanyon.com/organizer/food-truck-friday-events/

Overall, a good time is pretty close to guaranteed, just wish they would open more frequently.

Did I miss any?  If so, give me a shout in the comments.

Sierra Nevada – Round 2

I recently was in Chico celebrating the brother-in-law’s birthday (who claims to be “Oregon IPA” but is yet to make that happen), and so naturally, we went to Sierra Nevada on night one.  This trip allowed me to try 3 IPAs that I have not yet had a chance to review, so here goes.

Hop Hunter IPA

I was most excited to try the Hop Hunter, as the much-hyped new and innovative method of vaporizing wet hops to allow for a year-round wet hop experience was intriguing.  In addition, the recent spat between Lagunitas and Sierra over the bottle added to the fun.

ABV – 6.2%

IBUs – 60

The aroma gets you right off the bat on this one.  It is probably the most redeeming and exciting part of this beer.  Big, dank grapefruit nose.  Some floral and citrus notes.

Nice golden-amber color, light carbonation, and minimal head.

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Not overly hoppy, with a nice, oily mouthfeel.  Finish was OK, not as smooth as Torpedo.  Overall, I was expecting (or hoping) to be blown away but was not.  It was good, but after having some wet hop beers last season (including Sierra’s Wet Hop), it did not seem to meet up.  It is a great concept to be able to have a wet hop beer in late-January, but I was not blown away.

I by no means did not dislike this one, I just think my expectations were a little overboard.

88/100

Golden IPA

Golden IPA was basically the opposite situation than the Hop Hunter.  I had low expectations for this one, but ended up being pleasantly surprised.

ABV – 5.9%

IBUs – 55

The Golden IPA certain holds up to its name, golden.

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Nose is a light citrus, nothing overwhelming.

Flavor was crisp and refreshing.  Although I sucked down a few on a January night, I could see myself sitting in the sun having several of these.  Light bodied, citrusy notes.  Minimal pine.  Smooth with a hint of a lingering aftertaste.

There is nothing particularly memorable about this beer, but it is very well balanced and drinkable.  I think by the end of the night I actually had more of these than the Hop Hunter.

86/100

Bindfold Black IPA

Last beer I had was the Blindfold Black.  I will admit, I had this right at the end of the night after having several of the above-reviewed beers.  As my picture depicts, things were starting to get fuzzy at this point…

ABV – 7.7%

IBUs – 70

Dark blackish-brown pour with decent, frothy head.  Strong lacing.

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Nose fills of roasted malt and quite smoky.  Initial taste is roasty with some chocalately coffee hints.  As it goes down, you start to get the piney hops.  Almost velvety.

Overall, it had a lot going on and it was enjoyable, although I could not see myself drinking more than one or two in a sitting.

85/100

All in all, another great trip to the brewery.  Dinner was also fantastic, spent with good friends and some solid fish and chips.  One of my favorite breweries to go to as there are always plenty of interesting beers and solid food and service.

You can learn more about Sierra Nevada’s IPAs on their website.

Knee Deep Simtra

Where – Whole Foods Steep Brew Potrero Hill

How – On Tap

ABV – 11.25%

IBUs – 131

I have been hearing good things about Knee Deep Brewing for a while, and was finally able to run into some on tap.  I agree with the hype.

Whole Foods had Simtra on tap.  I had one in a flight, and then had to get it on its own as it was great.

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Pours with limited head, a dark orangey-gold color.  A bit cloudy.

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Nose has earthy hoppiness and citrusy.  Little bit of tropical fruit.  Not boozy as one would expect.

First sip and I was shocked with how smooth it was.  Not what one would expect from a beer with 131 IBUs.  There obviously was some bitterness, but it was a nice smooth bitterness and by no means overwhelming.  Little bit of caramel, with a clean aftertaste with some tropical fruitiness.

All in all, I was pretty blown away by this one.  For an 11.25%-er, I could get in trouble if I was at the brewery or had more time on this particular night.  Highly recommended, and hoping to get up to the source sometime soon.

97/100

More info can be found on Knee Deep’s IPA at their website.

http://kneedeepbrewing.com/year-round-beers/simtra-3x-ipa/

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid

Where – Dogpatch Saloon

How – On Tap (and in bombers)

ABV- 8.00%

IBUs – 102

Hop Stoopid is a nice hop bomb from Lagunitas.  Pours a clean, golden amber.

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Nose has strong grapefruit notes.  Slight caramel and boozyness.  The pup agrees.

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Bitter and hoppy right as it hits the lips.  Some malty sweetness and slightly earthy.  Hops come through at all points.

It is never overwhelming, and always tastes fresh and well balanced.  A great beer when you want to get hit with some strong hops, but not a massive ABV.

Overall, a solid beer, especially for the price.  Tends to be right around $4 for a bomber which feels like a steal.

88/100

http://lagunitas.com/beers/hop-stoopid/

Russian River Blind Pig IPA

Where – Public House SF

How – On Draft

ABV – 6.1%

IBUs – 70

I am in the minority.  I am not obsessed with Pliny the Elder like most.  It is good, but I am going to reserve my review on it until I have it on draft again.  I have only had it in bottles the last year or two, so I am going to give it a “fresh” look and see if my opinion changes.

That being said, I love Blind Pig.

Pours a nice copper color with medium carbonation.  The head quickly recedes.

pig

Good hop aroma, citrus and pines throughout.

The first thought tasting it is…smoooooth.  I have been drinking a great deal of IIPAs, so this one almost hits like a session beer.  Very well balanced and medium body.  Minimal carbonation.  Smooth mouthfeel.

Overall, this is about a perfect warm day IPA for me.

95/100