Friday, May 31, 2013

WHAT HAPPENED THE NIGHT I DRANK LOCAL

One thing I really dig about Oakland's BEER REVOLUTION is how devoted they are to unearthing and exposing the brand-new local brewers in our midst. You read about these new breweries opening all the time, with their tiny 20-barrel systems and whatnot, and wonder where you'll be able to try their stuff, outside of their weirdo "office hours" and at assorted festivals that they might or might not be at. Beer Revolution, that's where. I headed over to try a few locals the other night and played a little beer roulette in choosing what to drink. There was one clear winner in the bunch, one which may in fact shock and surprise you!

Here's what I tried:

EL TORO BREWING - "AIRMET R RED ALE" - (beer pictured here) Remember the 1990s? Remember "Poppy Jasper Ale"? That was these guys. That Toronado perennial – I think it's still on draft at the San Francisco bar even in 2013 – was a go-to for me back when the competition was Pyramid, Widmer, Full Sail, Devil Mountain, Abita and Anchor Steam. They're still working it in Morgan Hill, just south of San Jose. This  draft-only Red IPA of theirs is almost Christmasy in its sweetness, with candy malts, cinnamon and actually a dearth of hops. Imagine Sierra Nevada's "Celebration" with tons more malt and a lot less hops, then made heavy and sweet. I like it greatly. 7.5/10.

ALTAMONT BEER WORKS - "RICH MAHOGANY RED" - They told me at the bar that this was an "Irish Red", and I reckon that's so. Alas, this 6% basic amber ale is decidedly average, or slightly below par. Altamont Beer Works are brand new out of Livermore, CA, and I look forward to supporting and publicizing the ones they make that are better than this one. 5.5/10.

BERRYESSA BREWING - "WHIPPERSNAPPER" - So here you have it – the beer of the night is an English dark mild, clocking in at only 3.9% alcohol. I could've had ten more of these, right? What a delicious beer from this new Winters, CA operation. A ton of flavor for a mild – toasty, and  a little creamy, and with malt that coats the tongue. They also had a pale ale on draft that was a mere 3.9% too. Someone wants to save your liver and your marriage over at Berryessa. Give 'em a hand! 8/10.

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