Friday, February 10, 2012


With San Francisco Beer Week kicking off today, and my hopes for discovering all the hot new pico-, nano- and microbrewers in the Bay Area in full, rabid swing, let me hip you to a new one that I was able to get busy with before the blessed events. They’re called HERETIC BREWING, and they’re located over in Pittsburg, CA – in what we San Franciscans call the “deep east Bay”. Somehow I missed word that they were ramping up, so it was only when I saw bottles of EVIL TWIN, EVIL COUSIN and SHALLOW GRAVE on the shelves, and city-checked the address, that my “drink local” sympathies kicked in and I bought bottles of the first two. Is it gold? Is it garbage? I have an answer – please read on!

HERETIC BREWING – “EVIL TWIN”: This imperial red ale, pictured to your left, really proves that we’re past the days when “amber ale” or “red ale” meant a lifeless, weak, malty/caramel beer. Granted, Anderson Valley’s Boont Amber in its prime was anything but weak and lifeless, and for many years was my “favorite beer” and the standard-bearer for the style. Now that winning brewers like Heretic have figured out how to successfully add hops and new flavors to the mix without sacrificing those qualities that made “amber beers” interesting – well – things have become far more interesting. If that sounds like an endorsement of this one, let me say hell yeah. Hoppy, full of creamy malt flavor, with slight spice and cinnamon, and only just over 6% alcohol. Really impressive debut! 8.5/10.

HERETIC BREWING – “EVIL COUSIN”: Now this imperial IPA will truly put some hair on the proverbial chest. Very bitter and a little dry; initially I thought it was wanting for balance, but as it warmed I started getting distant pine and lots of grapefruit, and the thing really grew on me. I think it could use a few tweaks perhaps, but we’re in early days with these guys. Totally respectable. 7/10.

Haven’t tried the Shallow Grave stout yet – and take a look at their website here; it promises all sorts of riches now and in the future. Welcome and good for you, Heretic Brewing. We’re glad to have ya.


Derrick Peterman said...

I can vouch for Shallow Grave, it's a good one. Haven't had the other Heretic brews yet, and it looks like I should check them out.

Jay H said...

Hey Derrick, yeah that Evil Twin is definitely up there with Lagunitas Imperial Red and some of the other best hoppy red ales I've ever had.

helibrewer said...

Not a Shallow Grave fan, seems too "ashy" to me. The "Evil's" are quite good though