GOLDEN ROAD BREWING are part of the new wave of Los Angeles-based brewers who've very quickly transformed that city from a beer wasteland into one of the USA's Top 15 beer cities. I had a near-miss with them last year as I chose to go drink at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena during a business trip rather than Golden Road's newly-opened brewhouse. Maybe I subconsciously figured that their beer would start making it up to Northern California during the next year, as it has – because now, with a little looking and a little luck, you can find Golden Road beers up 'roundabouts where I live. And lo, it is good.
Amazingly, both ales of theirs I've had have knocked me for a loop, and they're both German styles. They don't only make German styles – far from it. Here's what I was lucky enough to get my throat on this past month:
GOLDEN ROAD - "HEFEWEIZEN" - What a find. When I tell you that this hefeweizen, brewed with lemon and orange, is "juicy and wet", will you get your mind outta the gutter and believe me on this one? It's beautiful in both color – see the photo – and execution. A classic Bavarian wheat ale, albeit one with yeasts circulating around the bottom. This is a superb hefeweizen in a can, and it ought to be a go-to for your "sessioning" lovers for years to come. 9/10.
GOLDEN ROAD - "BERLINER WEISS" - Well, a few years ago I claimed that this style was impenetrable to me, and with this one and High Water Brewing's "Berliner Reiss", I can now say I stand corrected. Or correctly educated. I had this on draft at San Francisco's Dark Horse Inn, who've been working hard to bring beer from the best LA brewers into their fantastic bar. It's clean and tart, a sour golden ale with a terrific lingering tart taste. And talk about sessioning: brothers and sisters, this beer is only 2.8% alcohol. I think there's more alcohol naturally occurring in your tap water, am I right? 8/10.