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Beer Pick of the Week

“Enjoy By 12/26/14”   Stone Brewing Co. Escondido, CA Style: Double IPA (D.I.P.A.) Alcohol: 9.5% IBUs: 88 Serving Style: Kegs, 12-ounce bottles (our sample from draft) Availability: Widely distributed in California, limited in other states   Appearance:  “Golden.” Aroma:  “Not much I can identify, but floral.” Taste:  “Amazing. Smooth. Can't notice the alcohol.” Food Affinity:  “Probably a burger.”   Chris Williams is this week's guest reviewer
New Belgium 1554   New Belgium Brewing Co Ft. Collins, Colorado Style: Black Ale Alcohol: 5.6% IBUs: 21 Serving Style: 12-ounce bottles Availability: Nationwide   Appearance:  “I like the color. There's a little light to it. It's not black, but it's down there. No a big head like Guinness some beers of similar color.” Aroma:  “It has a light nose than I would have expected. Enticing, 'smooth' smell lets you know it will be a little softer.” Taste:  “Very flavorful, but not slap-you-in-the-head. A bit of chocolate in the finish.” Food Affinity:  “Would be at home with sandwich fare—a French…
Freshie   Berryessa Brewing Co. Winters, California Style: American IPA Alcohol: 5% IBUs: 45 Serving Style: Kegs Availability: Seasonal at the time of fresh hop harvest. Good distribution in Winters/Davis/Sacramento area and some in San Francisco Bay Area   Appearance:  “Light hay color. Thick off-white head.” Aroma:  “Citrus and spice.” Taste:  “A somewhat bitter pink grapefruit quality that is balanced with some gorgeous hops—they complement each other.” Food Affinity:  “Fish, especially fish & chips. The wet hop component would be a good interplay with the battered fish.”     Reviewed by Chris Delgado
Lucky Basartd   Stone Brewing Co. Escondido, CA Style: American strong ale Alcohol: 8.5% IBUs: Serving Style: 22-ounce bottles and draft Availability: Selected markets in the western U.S.   Appearance: “Color is the rich, dark tones of autumn.” Aroma: “Sweet mix of malts with a smokey undertone.” Taste: “Full-bodied. Malty.” Food Affinity:  “Would challenge the spiciest food you can put before it."     Reviewed by Michael Mallett
Fryed   Boulder Beer Company Boulder, Colorado Style: Fresh hopped rye ale Alcohol: 6% IBUs: 40 Serving style: Kegs Availability: Seasonally distributed in Colorado and much of the West   Appearance:  “Amber to copper color. Maybe a light reddish-brown. Nice head.” Aroma:  “Some of the rye perceived and a bit of the hops. Slightly toasty.” Taste:  “Good balance of rye malt and the hops. Lush mouthfeel. Slightly nutty.” Food Affinity:  “Seems like a good fit for some fall dishes. Maybe a pozole rojo or osso buco served over polenta.”   Reviewer Dan Clarke enjoys the brews and foods of autumn
California Lager   Anchor Brewing San Francisco, CA Style: Lager Alcohol: 4.9% IBUs: Unknown Serving style: 12-oz bottles and cans Availability: Year round in many US Markets   Appearance:  “Kind of like a Boddington's color. Not really amber, I'd say it's medium-gold.” Aroma:  “Not much.” Taste:  “It has a lively flavor. A little hoppy, but not too much.” Food Affinity:  “Enjoyed with calamari as served during happy hour at Clark's Corner in Sacramento.”   Reviewer Ray Thompson is a retired attorney
Oktoberfest Wiesn   Paulaner Brauerei München (Munich), Germany Style: Mãrzen Alcohol: 5.8% IBUs: Unknown Serving style: bottles and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Formerly seasonally, now year round in world-wide markets   Appearance:  “Very light. Lager-esque.” Aroma:  “Sweet. A lot of malt. You can smell a little of the wheat.” Taste:  “Very 'wheat-y'. You still get that nice Märzen sweetness or mouthfeel. It's very robust, for a light-appearing beer.” Food Affinity:  “A boar sausage with a hefty amount of sauerkraut. The salty interplay of the sauerkraut with the gaminess of the sausage would be great.”   Reviewer Justin Wenz's…
Oktoberfest   Hacker-Pschorr Munich, Germany Style: Mãrzen Alcohol: 5.8% IBUs: 28 Serving style: Bottles and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Seasonally in Germany and the U.S.   Appearance:  “Old gold. Light amber. Not much head.” Aroma:  “Malty, but only slightly so.” Taste:  “Good carbonation—more than the bubbles would suggest. Malty, almost a caramel-like presence in the mid-palate, Nice balance. Good length.” Food Affinity:  “Well, several possibilities come to mind: Big Bavarian pretzels mit senf. Pig knuckles, also with mustard. Or maybe something maybe more familiar—how about a Reuben sandwich?”   Reviewer Dan Clarke to inspired to remind all that…
Dead Canary   Ol' Republic Brewery Nevada City, California Style: Dortmunder Export Alcohol: 4.5% IBUs: Unknown Serving Style: Kegs Availability: Year around in Nevada City/Grass Valley area and in much of Northern Californa   Appearance:  “Extremely clear. Golden.” Aroma:  “Nice sweet aroma.” Taste:  “Amazing and refreshing. Very well balanced. One of my favorite beers that I've had this year. Food Affinity:  “White fish—maybe bass. Mediterranean dishes. Thai food. Sushi.”   Reviewer Christopher Fairman is sure no canaries were harmed in the production of this beer
Sapporo   Sapporo Breweries, Japan  Style: Japanese rice lager Alcohol: 5% IBUs: Unknown Serving Style: 22-oz.cans, 12, 16 and 23-ounce bottles, 12-ounce bottles and keg (our sample from draft) Availability: Worldwide, year around.   Appearance:  “Exactly what I want in a beer.” Aroma:  “There's a distinctive aroma. I can tell it's Sapporo.” Taste:  “I like all the Asian beers—Kirin, Asahi, Singha . . . they're all superior to domestic lagers, but I like Sapporo the best." Food Affinity: “I don't really put (the concept) together. Beer goes with almost anything, but I think it's a totally separate deal.”   Reviewer…
1881 California Red Ale   Ruhstaller Sacramento, California Style: American red ale Alcohol: 5.6% IBUs: 35 Serving Style: Cans, bottles, keg (our sample from draft) Availability: Year-around in much of California and a few other states.   Appearance:  “Dark coppery shade. Almost mahogany colored. Ivory head.” Aroma:  “Sweet and malty. Somewhat floral.” Taste:  “Hops are there, but malt predominates. Heavy caramel and toffee presence. There's a fullness, a richness that seems to make this a better choice for fall drinking than as a summer quaff.” Food Affinity:  “We enjoyed this beer at Roxy in Sacramento with a beef rib appetizer…
  Icelandic Pale Ale   Einstök Olgerd Akureyri, Iceland Style: Pale Ale Alcohol: 5.6% IBUs: Unknown Serving Style: 330ml bottle (11.2 oz) Availability: Limited distribution in national markets   Appearance:  “Dark golden. Amber” Aroma:  “Malty. Somewhat fruity. Taste:  “Like the flavor. Not especially hoppy. Nice roundness and malt-hop balance. It's mild, but has good character. It makes its point” Food Affinity:  “Lamb chops. Summer sausage. Munster and Gouda cheeses.     Reviewer Ray Thompson is a retired attorney in Sacramento
Black Butte XXVI Reserve   Deschutes Brewery Bend, Oregon Style: Imperial, barrel-aged, Porter Alcohol: 10.8% IBUs: Unknown Serving Style:22-ounce bottles Availabilty: Limited quantities in national markets   Appearance:  “Not quite black. Coffee-colored.” Aroma:  “Vanilla from bourbon barrels and a little bit of fruitiness from the cranberry. You can tell it's higher in alcohol.” Taste:  “Chococate and rasperry (perhaps from the pomegranate). A sweet beer, better suited as an after-dinner or dessert beer.” Food Affinity:  “Vanilla ice cream. Canolli.”   Reviewed by Chris Moo, a food service professional
Red IPA   Dust Bowl Brewing Co. Turlock, CA Style: Red IPA Alcohol: 6.8% IBUs: 70 Serving Style: Kegs Availability: Produced intermittently throughout the year. Good distribution in Northern California.   Appearance:  “An amber or reddish shade. Appealing and really a seductive color.” Aroma:  “Definitely draws your attention. Not like a conventional, mass-produced ale. A unique aroma that draws you in.” Taste:  “Delicious. Like a good steak. A beer that stays with you, but doesn't overwhelm the tasting experience.” Food Affinity:  “Would work with a wide range of foods—from tacos to a good American hamburger.”     Reviewer Phil Pantages,…
Mission IPA   Mission Brewery San Diego, California Style: India Pale Ale Alcohol: 6.8% IBUs: 66 Serving style: Bottles and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Good distribution throughout California   Appearance:  “Beautiful golden color.” Aroma:  “Not a lot of hop aroma.” Taste:  “Really easy to drink. Perfect carbonation and very, very balanced.” Food Affinity:  “I think this beer would go well with a homemade egg roll and a spicy sauce.”       Reviewer Christopher Fairman really is a Renaissance Man
Helles Lager   ol' Republic Brewery Nevada City, California Style: German lager Alcohol: 5.3% IBUs: 22 Serving style: Kegs, growlers at the brewery Availability: Year-round in much of Northern California   Appearance:  “Clear and golden.” Aroma:  “Some malt.” Taste:  “Bright (helles), crisp with some malt showing, yet not overpowering. Nice finish. Refreshing as a beer should be on a warm summer day, but enough different so you know that you're not just re-hydrating.” Food Affinity:  “Grilled fare—chicken thighs, large shrimp marinated in rosemary vinaigrette, lighter fresh sausages such as Bockwurst.       Reviewer Dan Clarke says this beer reminded…
Sam Adams Summer Ale   Boston Beer Company Boston, Mass Style: American Wheat Ale Alcohol: 5.3% IBUs: 7 Serving Style: 12 oz. bottles, kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Nationally through the summer   Appearance:  “Golden color. A little cloudy.” Aroma:  “Fresh, with a little citrus in the nose (there's lemon zest added)” Taste:  “Not like typical wheat beers, but a lot of personality. Very bright flavors. Here's a bit of esoterica: Brewery says recipe includes something called Grains of Paradise, a rare African pepper first used to spice beers in the 13th Century. Whether it's this or the lemon…
Lev Lion Lager   Mëtansky Pivovar Havlickuv Brod AS (Czech Republic) Style: Pilsner style Lager Alcohol: 4.7% IBUs: Unknown Serving Style: 500ml bottles Availability: Widely distributed in western US   Appearance:  “Dark golden. Good head that dissipates fairly quickly.” Aroma:  “Malty.” Taste:  “Bright flavors that make it seem likes there's more carbonation than what's visible. Malt predominates, but is nicely balanced with a little bitter in the background. Long, lingering finish.” Food Affinity:  “Smoked pork chops. Rye bread and Gouda cheese. Potato pancakes with smoked salmon and sour cream.”       Reviewer Dan Clarke enjoys trying whatever the locals…
Foot Path Pale Ale   Berryessa Brewing Co. Winters, California Alcohol: 4.8 % Style: American Pale Ale IBUs: 35 Serving Style: Kegs Availability: No. California--mostly SF Bay Area east through Sacramento   Appearance:  “Golden-amber color. A little cloudy, rather than crystal clear.” Aroma:  “No discernible aroma” Taste:  “Mildly hoppy. Surprisingly understated and delicious. Very nice lingering finish. I think it would be pretty easy to drink a lot of these before you realized you shouldn't have.” Food Affinity:  “Grilled chicken, corn. Would be good with a barbecued picnic lunch.”   Reviewer Johnnie Beer is a Northern California guitar player.
Foray   Deschutes Brewery Bend, Oregon Style: Belgian-style IPA Alcohol: 6.5% IBUs: 60 Serving style: 22-ounce bottles and on draft at the brewery's pub Availability: Limited distribution in many national markets   Appearance: “Light straw color. White head with small bubbles. Medium carbonation. Crystal clear.” Aroma: “Apple, pear aroma. Belgian yeast comes through. Maybe a little 'Bretty.' Maybe some citrus.” Taste: “Apple/pear. Typical grassy/peppery flavors of Belgian yeast. A little doughy. Grapefruit.” Food Affinity: “Poultry, soft white cheeses.   Reviewer Charles McClain is a restoration ecologist
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