Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Yet another craft beer-focused establishment has surfaced in my hometown of San Francisco called FAT ANGEL FOOD & LIBATION, albeit two years ago, and like a total heel, I’m just getting around to sampling its wares now. It’s a Euro-style gastropub, way more pub than gastro, similar in concept & execution to my favorite NYC spot SPITZER’S CORNER. While Fat Angel’s food menu is slight less expansive than Spitzer’s – I had to settle for “sliders”, as I was not in the mood for a salad nor a pot pie – its beer menu is outstanding, both on draft and in bottle. Thick, heavy wood; chandeliers; candles and not too much ambient noise made for a fine evening of beer sampling – and I did pretty goshdarned well with the two I chose, both of which were “firsts” for me.

ALLAGASH BREWING – “HUGH MALONE”(pictured here) Allagash is proof positive of the old maxim, “you get what you pay for”. Their bottles are quite spendy, and yet the last 4-5 things I’ve had from them have knocked me for a loop. HUGH MALONE is no exception. It’s a hoppy Belgian IPA than comes on strong with a big head of foam and a deep orange color. Very carbonated, with rich grapefruit and zesty yeasts. It tastes soapy, and I’m starting to realize that’s a flavor characteristic of the truly rockin’ Belgian IPAs: a mild musty, fruity taste than coats the palate and tells the brain that it’s soap. What an excellent example of the style. 8.5/10.

MIKKELLER – “SANTA’S LITTLE HELPER 2011” – This won a Christmas ale drink-off contest I read about not long ago, besting a good dozen or so other holiday beers in a blind tasting. So let’s give it a go! Santa’s Little Helper is dark (can someone please light another candle??), with a light layer of foam. It tastes nutty, like a brown ale, with some spicing but with complex flavors that are a little hard to get a read on. I closed my eyes and thought about it a little. I’m getting…..I’m getting….cocoa – and booze. Totally solid, but not as mindbending as I’d been led to believe. 7/10.

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