Dog Friendly Brewery Series – Santa Cruz 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.

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 the Santa Cruz area.

Sante Adairius Rustic Ales (SARA)

SARA is making quite a name for itself and quickly become a beer nerd destination.  I was stoked to get down there last weekend, and even more stoked that i could bring the pooch.

SARA is in a somewhat industrial area in Capitola, close to the freeway and a few minutes from the beach.  SARA is definitely focused on making unique small batch brews.  Some of their more popular beers are Belgian style or farmhouse and saisons.  They do, however, typically have at least one IPA or a good pale ale.

The brewery is unsurprisingly a bit small, and apparently can get quite crowded.  However, we arrived right at noon when they were open so there seemed to be plenty of space available.

The staff/owners are very pro-dog and our Sara was welcomed with open arms.  We really enjoyed the beers, and purchase bottles of the special release they had that weekend (Quality of Life).  There is no food, but apparently they have BBQ out front many days or you can bring your own food.

Overall, a very cool place.  We went for the beer, but would go back just for the atmosphere.  Look forward to many future trips, the brews alone are a reason for us to make the 1.5 hour drive.

http://rusticales.com/

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is organic brewery in the new(ish) and very cool Swift Street Courtyard.  The area has been transformed into a mostly winery haven, but as any reasonable human would do, we went to the one brewery.

I have been here a few years ago, but it was just as I remembered.  Decent beer, but fun atmosphere and very dog friendly.  Plenty of outdoor seats overlooking the courtyard.  You can order food from the cafe next door, and they have a few wine options as well.

I got the Giant DIPA, which looked juicy and a bit hazy.  It was a beautiful beer, although the taste did not match the looks.  No complaints though, I would certainly go back.

http://www.scmbrew.com/

New Bohemia Brewing Co. (NuBo) and Santa Cruz Ale Works

We have not been to either, but the rumor is they are both dog friendly.  We will make another visit and provide an update once we have visited….

http://www.nubobrew.com/

http://www.santacruzaleworks.com/

There are obviously plenty of beach options, but apparently the only one that is technically off-leash is Its Beach, right on West Cliff drive north of the lighthouse.  Small beach, decent waves coming in, but Sara was in heaven.

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We will certainly make another trip down to try out some more of the breweries in town, as the beer scene certainly is growing in the area.

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Where to Drink SF – Local Brewing

Local Brewing is located in SOMA, on Bluxome, between 4th and 5th.  I used to live a couple blocks away, but of course moved before this opened.  Local is on a developing street, joining Bluxome Street Winery which is a few blocks away (great place, dog friendly, awesome wine club, especially if you live close by and can take full advantage).

The brewery is in a brick warehousey space, and is a bit “nicer” than most breweries.  They have food and wine, and so although there is definitely a brewery feel and presence with the barrels, etc., it does still come across as a high end spot.

Local’s taps seem to be constantly updating with new beers.  As I look on the website now, I see several beers that were not there but a couple weeks ago.  When I went, I of course had a sampler.

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The beers were all very good.  Nothing overpowering or extreme, instead straightforward and well-executed beers.  I have been happy with every beer I have had.  None blew me away, but all were enjoyable, which is quite a feat.

I have not eaten here, but the food menu if somewhat limited. Mostly snacks or small plates.  The wife says the wine she has had is good, with  few different options.

I would imagine it gets pretty packed on game days or at happy hour, but I have gone on the weekends and it has been easy to grab a seat at the bar, and easy to drive to/park at if you have a DD or aren’t going full weekend mode…

Overall, a great addition to the SOMA brew scene, and certainly worth a stop by.

http://www.localbrewingco.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.

IMG_8131

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.

IMG_7053

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.

SF Beer Week Recap – Part 3

The last post is kind of a beer week post, but mostly a Pliny the Younger post.  It is quite convenient that Beer Week and PTY time overlap, further adding to the craziness (PS. I am pretty surprised to still see PTY showing up and Toronado and City Beer Store this week).

PTY releases are announced, subtly or not, at some places, and others are unannounced.  Naturally, the unannounced ones are a zoo, and require significant free time to make happen.

The announced releases in SF had lines building up for hours, with hundred of people in queue.  I cannot say I am surprised.  This is San Francisco, and I am fairly certain 90% of people do not actually work.  Releases at Monks, Toronado etc. were never going to happen for me.  I was confident I would get it somewhere unannounced or not in the City.  My confidence began to dwindle, however, as the week went on.

First Attempt

Rose and Crown had IPA day Wednesday, and explicitly informed of the PTY release (on an aside, Wednesday was chock full of events, that and Thursday would have been the best days to take off, as Thursday would be a recuperation day).

I “snuck” away from work around 1050 am to get to there.  Stupidly, I figured there would not be that long of a line on a Wednesday morning in Palo Alto, as i assumed most Peninsula folk were working (that only happens in SF right? – WRONG). With only a 5 gallon keg, I figured I did not have much of a shot, but wanted to see anyway.  I was there and I was not going to give up that easily.

After waiting a little over an hour and a half I fell about 10 people short.  To be honest, i was surprised I was that close.  It turns out they were doing 6 oz. pours, but it still lasted longer than the line seemed to indicate.  Defeated, I instead got a Pliny the Elder (*note, I was shocked to see how many people left after they announced the PTY was out.  You just waited in line an hour plus, you have earned a beer, and there were plenty of great options on tap).

I have never historically fallen into the Pliny obsession.  I enjoy the beer, but do not fully embrace the craze of getting it (and I actually probably like Blind Pig better than Pliny, and there are a bunch of DIPAs out there that are just as good or better).  That being said, Russian River has done a masterful job of getting people hooked and the limited releases make the hunt almost more exciting than the beer.  After getting denied the Younger I was determined to get it.

However, something about being in line on a killer, sunny Wednesday morning and talking to strangers about beer, while waiting to get a beer, was a really fun experience.  Certainly not something you do too often, and probably only something you can do in a place like the Bay Area in February.  Even though I did not score the Younger that day, I learned about some new beers, an insider tip on where PTY would be the next day unadvertised (and I could not go down to Hayward to next day to get it, but the tip was right), and got to have a Pliny the Elder for lunch.  In the end, the hunt and wait, although deflating, was pretty damn fun.

So, the hunt continued.

 How Not to Get It

After several more days of trying to find Pliny in the new “high tech” way (Taplist, Twitter, Instagram…), and several near misses, a realization I have had in many facets of my life re-emerged.  Sometimes getting things the old fashioned way works best.

Just like connecting with old friends, getting new business, and apparently getting Pliny the Younger, apps and Twitter and the Internet are not the best solution. After missing out at Rose and Crown, I found myself frantically checking Twitter, Untapped, Taplist etc. trying to smell out the next Pliny pour. I messaged bars that I knew were going to get it and did not have much luck. Eventually the Marriot Marquis was nice enough to mention me in a tweet when they were tapping theirs, but I was 30 miles away. A lifetime in Pliny season.

After many near misses that are not worth chronicling, I realized I should just hit the pavement and ask a “friend” at the closest bar to us that regularly gets the Pliny. We frequent this particular spot fairly regularly, and thus are friendly with many of the people that work there and that is all it took.  While enjoying a different beer specially created for SF Beer Week, I asked and I received, PTY on tap the next morning.  With the scoop in hand, the next day I was enjoying several Plinys with little to no wait.

So, How Was It?

I was fearful, and assuming, the Younger would not live up to the hype. How could it? People waiting in line 8 hours at the brewery?!  People camping out in front of Toronado? Me obsessively refreshing my Twitter feed (ok, not that big of a commitment, but still, I was getting anxious thinking I would miss it).

To my pleasant surprise, it was pretty damn good. So good, my wife, who I do not think has ever liked an IPA I have given her, even liked it.

PTY pours a fairly translucent golden orange.  Minimal head, nice lacing.

pliny one

I got enough in my first order to tide me over for an hour or so…

pliny 2

I invited a couple friends, who made sure to get enough to last them as well.  The picture below shows the nice lacing.

MmmMmm

MmmMmm

Nice citrus and tropical fruit notes are present on the nose.  Some light floral tones as well.

Alcohol content is somewhere between 10 and 11.5%, but there is no boozyness in Mr. Younger.

The one thing that is unmistakable about this beer is its balance.  Less malty than the Elder, dare I say perfect bitterness and hops, and smooth as you could imagine.  Crisp and juicy citrus flavors.  Incredibly drinkable.  Does not feel like a Triple IPA as it is not a “hop bomb.”

My personal favorite part, perfectly clean finish with no aftertaste.

99/100 – my highest review ever.  I did not expect this to happen, but it was so damn smooth I had no choice.

Conclusion

Beer week was a hell of a time.  I cannot imagine any city putting on a better one, just because of the size of our city and the plethora of breweries close to home.  Next year mandates that I take a few days off to fully enjoy the entire event.  I definitely need to attend the Opening Gala, and probably the DIPA fest in Hayward.

I am already looking forward to next year, and must thank all the hard working people from the SF Brewer’s Guild for an incredible week.

SF Beer Week Recap – Part 2

The middle of the week saw a few more events for me and a few more great beers.  I found myself wishing I had taken a day or two off to really immerse myself in the fun, but as it worked out, I had a pretty busy work week and was somewhat limited in the events I could go to.

Rose and Crown IPA Day

Wednesday saw me attend the Rose and Crown event, which was labeled as an IPA Day, but in reality was a battle for the Pliny the Younger.  I headed over to the Rose and Crown around 10:55 and ended up being in line until 12:30 and missed the PTY by about 10 people.  My last post in this series will deal solely with the Pliny hunt/craze/shitshow so I will save that for now.

In the end, I did enjoy a Pliny the Elder as my consolation prize. I have not yet written a review on the Pliny the Elder, so will do an abridged one now. Personally, I have never been as impressed by Pliny the Elder as most people.  It is a solid beer, but the true genius in it may just be the intentional or unintentional marketing and limited availability.  There is a sense of accomplishment when you get one on draft or have a “friend” at a store who will save some for you or let you know when they are coming in.  The beer itself is very good, but the hunt is where people seem to lose sight. Elder pours a deep golden orange.  Limited head that tends to stick to the glass. pliny Nose is strong citrus, pine and pineapple notes.  Flavor mimics the nose with some substantial hoppy bitterness.  Fairly crisp, and the fresher the better it seems.  One fallback for me is it is fairly dry. It is a great beer, but it does not distinguish itself for me as some people suggest.  I actually may even prefer Blind Pig. 94/100

Firestone Tap Takeover at Steep Brew Potrero (Whole Foods)

Thursday was a tough call for me, Firestone Tap Takeover or Ballast Point Tap Takeover at Public House.  I opted for Firestone’s event as I had had many of the Ballast Point beers already.  In a perfect world, or if I did not have to work early the next morning, I would have hit both (cue the boos).

I had the Double Jack and a Sucaba at the Firestone Event.  There was an option to do three samples and a cheese pairing, but I was only interested in one of the beers offered for the pairing.

I have had every iteration in the “Jack” Series (Union Jack, Easy Jack, Wookey Jack, Double Jack) and am thoroughly impressed with all of them.

Double Jack rings in at 9.5% ABV and 85 IBUs. Pour is a nice fairly clear orange with a decent frothy head. jack Nose fills of grapefruit and oranges with a ton of hops. The flavor is piney with full frontal hops, but still balanced and smooth.  Nice sticky mouthfeel with some minimal malty sweetness.

A really quality DIPA. 93/100

http://www.firestonebeer.com/beers/products/double-jack

I also tried the §ucaba, which is a monster Barleywine.  Heavy on the bourbon and boozyness, this is a sipper for sure.

Other Events, Stand Outs

I had intended to cheat on IPA and go to the Almanac and Friends Sourfest at Public House on Friday night, however at 3:30 the line was already 40 deep, and I was in a suit and did not want to wait in the sun for a non-IPA event.  When I went back at 5, there was still a significant line, so headed across the street to Lucky Strike for some Lagunitas.  In two hours at Lucky Strike, the line at Public House never really diminished, so I never made.

I was able to enjoy a few beers at StrEAT Food SOMA the next day, including the Bear Republic Hop Shovel.  Nice, floral beer, and was pretty solid on the hot day that Saturday was.  This event was just “OK”, especially considering a few of the beers sold out pretty quick.  I was hoping to try 101 North’s Heroine IPA but they were sold out by 12:45.

I also tried the Money Paw/Drake’s Special SF Beer Week collabo at Public House, which was decent.  It was very smooth, but also fairly run of the mill.  Nothing that particularly stood out about that one, but it is always cool to see breweries work together.

monkey

A mentioned, to really embrace all Beer Week offers, you have to take a day or two off.  Wednesday in particular was chock-full of events, and would have loved to have Wednesday and Thursday off to enjoy and recover…next year.

I will have one more blog on SF Beer Week soon, with a focus on the unicorn of West Coast craft beer.

SF Beer Week Recap – Part 1

Sf Beer Week has lived up to all my expectations.  A ton of great events, and a realization that I may need to take some vacation time next year to get more in.  That being said, I garnered enough fodder for three fairly hearty posts.

Right off the bat, I must admit that i am pretty mad at myself for not making the Opening Gala.  Forgot to buy tickets before it was too late, then when I had an opportunity to get tickets, I could not get back to SF from Palo Alto in time to make it (that darn work thing and traffic).  Next year this will not happen again.  Luckily I had some good beers that night away from the Gala, including a Moylan’s Hop Craic IIIIPA.

Opening Weekend

Drakes – I kicked off my SF Beer Week Saturday morning by doing a quick East Bay run to Drake’s and Faction.  Neither had a Beer Week event, but I had been wanting to try the Hopocalypse series so made the trek.

Hopocalypse Black Label was a IIIPA beast.

12.5% and 100+ IBUs.

Pours dark, almost amber.  Minimal head.

hop blackTropical fruits abound in the nose with some citrus.  Hops are fairly muted.

Taste is in line with the nose, juicy tropical fruits and some citrusy hints.  Hops are present but balanced by the tropical fruit as well as the lingering sweetness.  Almost a brown sugar sweetness.  Slightly oily and smooth.  Super drinkable, although I could not drink too many of them due to the sweet tones.

Fun beer and look forward to next year’s.

94/100

http://drinkdrakes.com/beer/hopocalypse-black-label/

Hopocalypse Green Label (also heard it called White Label) was a more traditional, west coast DIPA.

9.3% and 100+ IBUs.

Pours a copper/orange hue with some lingering head.

hop greenNose is grapefruity and hoppy and slightly floral, how an IPA should come off.

Good bitterness and hoppy taste from the get go.  Grapefruit comes through throughout.  Hint of sweetness but nothing compared to the Black Label.

Overall, a very enjoyable and drinkable DIPA.

96/100

http://drinkdrakes.com/beer/drakes-hopocalypse/

Drake’s is in a somewhat odd location, behind a Walmart in San Leandro, but worth the trek.  I enjoy all of their beers (wife really enjoyed the sour she had as well), there were snacks and some heavier food options, and most importantly, outdoor seating to bring the pup.  It was raining and we were able to sit in a covered area, but on a sunny day there are other outdoor tables, along with plenty inside seating.  Will be back for sure.

The Willows – IPAs v. Sours

Sunday evening included a visit to the Willows for their IPA v. Sours event.  Unsurprisingly, I went for some IPAs.  The bar was pretty packed but I was able to get a Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, an Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail, and my favorite, Almanac “Don’t Call it Frisco” DIPA.

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Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail, Almanac Don’t Call it Frisco, Dogfish 120 Minute

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

18% (yes, 18%) and 120 IBUs.

How this beer is 18% is beyond me.  Nothing like a barleywine, but instead a sweet, malty, IPA.  Barely any boozy flavor or heat.  Some hops in the nose but piney sap, hops and tropical notes.  Pretty well balanced and thoroughly enjoyable.  I cannot imagine drinking more than one or two, but it was a great experience.

94/100

http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/occassional-rarities/120-minute-ipa.htm

Almanac Don’t Call it Frisco

This was my winner for the night.  This one was apparently brewed only for SF Beer Week, and (According to tweets from Almanac) was a one time deal.  That is a shame.

Poured a cloudy, golden/orange.  Piney and citrus nose.  Big citrus and hop flavors.  Bitterness is crisp but balanced. Very smooth, very drinkable, very fresh.  All in all a damn good DIPA. Hope to see it again one day.

98/100

Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail

Evil Twin’s was my least favorite of the night.  13%, unsure on IBUs.

Unfortunately, it was somewhat like 120 Minute’s little brother.  Similar flavor, however sweeter and more boozy.  Fun, but not as good as 120 Minute.  Maybe having alongside the 120 Minute was unfair.

85/100

http://eviltwin.dk/Molotov-Cocktail

One of the many benefits of SF Beer Week is trying placed you have been wanting to try but have found an excuse not too.  The Willows and this event was a perfect example.  I will for sure be going back to the Willows because of going for this event.

The first few days of Beer Week saw some other events and good beers, but these were the highlights.  However, the week was young and there was much fun to be had, and blogs to be posted in the near future.

 

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.

hunter

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.

golden

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.

black

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.

knee

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

knee 2

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/

Green Flash West Coast IPA

gree flash

Where – Dos Pinas Taqueria

How – On Tap

Green Flash West Coast IPA on-tap is always a welcome sight.  The local taqueria tends to have it on tap, and it is an easy pick for me.

It is actually a Double IPA, so the ABV is 8.1%, and you can taste it with the 95 IBUs.

Creamy head, with tropical and grapefruit zest.  Amber orange pour and intensely hoppy.  Fairly carbonated.

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Overall, if I am in the mood for a bigger IPA, this is a good choice.  To me, it comes off hoppier than some of the others DIPAs like Enjoy By, and not quite as smooth.  There is some caramel sweetness and pineyness.  Aptly named, as to me, this is what a California, especially San Diego, IPA is.

My score: 86/100.

http://www.greenflashbrew.com/our-beers/west-coast-ipa/