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Beer Pick of the Week

Carrack Imperial Red Ale   Mission Brewery San Diego Style: (Imperial) red ale Alcohol: 10.2% IBUs: 71 Serving Style: Draft and 22-ounce bottles Availability: Distribution in California and parts of the western U.S.   Appearance:  “Dark chestnut brown. Nearly opaque.” Aroma:  “Some, but hard to define.” Taste:  “Some carbonation evident, but there's an overall viscosity in the mouth. Tastes like a red ale—a big one, but not overly/unpleasantly so.” Food Affinity:  “Chicken curry with chutney. Pepper Pot soup. Dark, moist fruitcake.”     Reviewed by Dan Clarke  
  Black Butte XXV (25th Anniversary Reserve)   Deschutes Brewery Bend, Oregon Style: Imperial Porter Alcohol: 11.3% IBUs: 64 Serving Style: Draft and in 22-oz. bottles Availability: The Black Butte Reserve is brewed one time a year (in June) and is available in limited quantities in Oregon and 22 other states.   Appearance:  “Lighter than I would have expected. Still dark, but I can see some light through it.” Aroma:  “Toffee and a lot of alcohol.” Taste:  “Dark fruit, bitter toffee. Not as much coffee as I would have expected. After the beer warms a bit, there is far more…
  Hop Henge   Deschutes Brewery Bend, Oregon Style: IPA Alcohol: 9.3% IBUs: 99 Serving Style: 22-oz bottles Availability: January through April in the western U.S. and Canadian Provinces of British Columbia and Alberta   Apperarance:  “Amber color/maybe hay or straw.” Aroma:  “Honey. Sweet aroma, but still a very floral, hoppy nose--maybe like Cascade hops?” Taste:   “Alcohol is disguised by the citrussy hoppiness. It's a little like tart grapefruit—a little more tart than most.” Food Affinity:  “Cajun Bacon Blue (a burger).”     Reviewed by Chris Delgado
  Kona Pipeline   Kona Brewing Co. Kona, Hawaii Style: Porter Alcohol: 5.3% Serving Style: 12-oz. bottles IBUs: 23 Availability: Fall and winter in of the U.S.   Appearance:  “Dark brown with a nice oatmeal-colored head that dissipates fairly quickly.” Aroma:  “More subtle than I would have thought. Faintly like coffee—or maybe root beer?” Taste:  “Encountered this beer in a half-case sampler of different styles made by the brewery. The label reads (in part) 'Porter with 100% Hawaiian Kona Coffee'. A gimmick? Maybe. A hybrid? If so, more likely to work with a porter than a lager. The idea seemed…
  Victory at Sea   Ballast Point Brewing Co. San Diego Style: Imperial Porter Alcohol: 10% IBUs: 60 Serving style: 22-oz. Bottles Availability: Limited in California and several other states.   Appearance:  “Dark as night on a new moon.” Aroma:  “A dark or toasty maltiness.” Taste: “Like a deep, dark and rich bite of chocolate brownie . . . and almost as chewable. Dark chocolate pudding. Very smooth and elegant.” Food Affinity:  “A dessert on its own. A wonderful taste to be consumed about an hour after dinner when you say 'I'm ready for dessert'—that final touch of the evening.”…
  The Abyss 2013 Reserve   Deschutes Brewery Bend, Oregon Style: Imperial Stout Alcohol: 11% IBUs: 70 Serving Style: 22-ounce wax-dipped bottles and draft. Availability: On the West Coast and in many other states in which Deschutes is sold   Appearance:  “Light carbonation, but nice and dark in color—blacker than night.” Aroma:  “Slightly metallic. Chocolate undertones.” Taste:  “Medium-to heavy body. I get the caramel right away, with a bitter, dark chocolate later. A little cherry on the finish. Extremely drinkable.” Food Affinity:  “A dessert by itself. Good for sipping by the fire.”     Reviewer Mr. Moo is a server…
  Session Premium Lager   Full Sail Brewing Co. Hood River, Oregon Style: American Lager Alcohol: 5.1% IBUs: 18 Serving Style: 11-ounce “stubby” bottles and in kegs. Availability: Year-round up and down the West Coast and in much of the rest of the U.S.   Appearance:  “Light golden color, bubbles from substantial carbonation, light & frothy head." Aroma:  “Melon and grapefruit." Taste:  “Bright entry, vaguely sweetish—but not in a negative way. Clean finish. A happy counterpoint to the sea of West Coast IPAs.” Food Affinity:  “A snack of cheese (gouda), salted peanuts and salami made for happy snacking while analyzing…
 Black Blizzard    Dust Bowl Brewing Co. Turlock, CA Style: Russian Imperial Stout Alcohol: 9.4% IBUs: 80 Serving style: 22-ounce bottles and draft Availability: Fall and winter in Central Valley of California, S.F. Bay Area and Sierra Foothills   Appearance: “As dark as the inside of a cave. Totally opaque.” Aroma: “Sweet malt. Hints of chocolate and coffee.” Flavor: “Chocolate covered coffee beans in liquid state.” Food Affinity: “Would be delightful with mocha chip ice cream. Try it as a float.”   Jointly reviewed by Michael and Julie Mallett  
  Hop Notch   Uinta Brewing Salt Lake City, Utah Style: IPA Alcohol: 7.3% IBUs: 82 Serving style: Kegs and bottles Availability: Year-round in most of the USA   Appearance:  “Beautiful clear golden color.: Aroma:  “Medium-hoppy, with some sweetness.” Taste:  “Bright bitter, citrussy hop profile. Well balanced between malt and hops. Good example of a West Coast IPA, but well-balanced." Food Affinity:  “Cheeseburger Benedict” (slider patty with bacon and cheddar cheese and Hollandaise sauce).     Reviewer Jake Albus is a beer-slinger at The Shack in Sacramento.
  Pale Ale   Device Brewing Co.  Sacramento, CA Style: Pale Ale Alcohol: 6.5% IBUs: 50 Serving Style: kegs Availability: Greater Sacramento area (to this point)   Appearance:  “Dark straw – old gold.” Aroma:  “A little citrussy. Slightly piney.” Taste:  “Really well balanced, Has a strong—but not overly strong—hop bitterness. The finish is nice. A very good pale ale, that's for sure. It's a little higher in alcohol, but not out of the realm for pale ale. It's just a really solid beer from a new brewer and I think they're going to do well.” Food Affinity:  A friend deputized…
  Green Bullet    Green Flash Brewery  San Diego, CA Style: Triple IPA Alcohol: 10.1% IBUs: Over 100 Serving Style: 4-packs, 22-ounce bottle, kegs Availability: Seasonally (Autumn) in national markets.   Appearance:  “Light copper. Not too much head. Not much lacing because of the high alcohol content.” Aroma:  “A little pine, a little raisiny. A note of citrus and a lot of alcohol.” Taste:  “A lot of alcohol warmth and a little resiny. I get lots of grapefruit. There is a heavy bitterness that lingers long into the finish. There's also a biscuity, cracker-like quality from the malt profile.” Food…
   Freshie    Berryessa Brewing Co. Winters, CA Style: Pale Ale Alcohol: 5% IBUs: 45 Serving Style: kegs Availability: Seasonal. Available in the fall in Sacramento, Davis and parts of the San Francisco Bay Area   Appearance:  “Dark golden in color or maybe amber.” Aroma:  “Slightly fruity, but subtle.” Taste:  “This fresh-hopped beer has an underpinning of maltiness. It's crisp, hoppy but not overpowering. It's entirely pleasant.” Food Affinity:  “Something equally bright and zingy. Maybe spicy deviled eggs or curried meat balls grilled on a skewer.”        Reviewer Dan Clarke sips his beer in Sacramento
  1849 Ale   Old Glory Brewery Sacramento, Ca (Editor's note: Business is undergoing name change and is soon to be New Glory Craft Brewery) Style: California Common Alcohol: 5% IBUs: 32 Serving style: kegs Availability: Year-round in the Sacramento area.   Appearance:  “Dark copper color.” Aroma:  “Nice nose, but subtle.” Taste:  “Not too heavy, not too sweet. Very drinkable.” Food Affinity:  “Tasted good with fresh and salty sweet potato fries. Would be good candidate to pair with barbecue.”     Reviewer Colin Aiken is a musician who plays keyboards with Home by Dark      
Maximus Ale   Lagunitas Brewing Co. Petaluma, Ca  Style: Imperial IPA Alcohol: 8.2% IBUs: 59 Serving Style: 12, 22-ounce bottles, kegs Availability: Year round in California and some national markets.   Appearance:  “Big initial ivory-colored head over medium to medium-dark copper body.” Aroma:  “Very hoppy. Some pine and a little citrus.” Taste:  “Big. Fills the mouth with hops, then malt becomes apparent. Thick texture, seems almost syrupy. Finishes somewhat sweet.” Food Affinity:  “The sweetness might offset some spicy foods. Maybe jalapeño poppers. Might work with some full-flavored cheeses. Try aged cheddar, smoked gouda, possibly a creamy blue cheese.” Reviewer Dan…
    La Divine, St. Landelin   les Brasseurs de Gayant France Style: bière de garde Alcohol: 8% IBUs: Unknown Serving Style: 11.2 ounce bottle, 750 ml bottle  Availability: Year round   Appearance:  “Cloudy-mild. Nice effervescence. Dark gold color.” Aroma:  “Very light, not very much at first. As it opens up it's herbal, but fresh and outdoorsy.” Taste:  “Tastes like a Biere de Garde. Clean grain. Malty with a pleasant, yeasty aftertaste. It's not like your typical, sweet farmhouse ale. It's earthy and herbaceous. Finishes minty—a very slight wild mint.” Food Affinity:  “Try with a mild, softer cheese (but not…
  Citra Solo   The Brewing Lair Blairsden, CA Style: Hop Session IPA Alc.: 5% IBUs: 49 Serving Style: Kegs Availability: A seasonal beer, one of a series of single-hopped ales available in much of Northern California.   Appearance:  “Light straw color.” Aroma:  “Very citrussy nose.” Taste:  “Hop-forward. A balanced amount of bittering and a nice citrus finishing. Very drinkable. A good session beer—there's nothing overpowering about it.” Food Affinity:  “Grilled chicken which has been marinated in a dry white wine, lime zest, ginger and lemon grass.”     Reviewer Sean Montgomery is a home brewer in Sacramento.  
  Anchor California Lager   Anchor Brewing San Francisco Style: American lager Alcohol: 4.9% IBUs: Unknown Serving Style: 12-oz. bottles and keg (our sample from draft) Availability: Year round in select U.S. markets.   Appeaance : “Dark straw color.” Aroma : “Smells like beer.” Taste : “Solid, assertive, but not aggressive flavor. Not fruity like some Belgians. Nice finish. Piquant, but not astringent. Some character there, but not in a way that's going to stay there and bother you.” Food Affinity : “Would stand up to a whole lot of possibilities. More character than most American lagers. Would go well…
  Estrella Damm   Estrella Damm Brewery Location: Barcelona, Spain Style: Lager Alcohol: 5.2% IBUs: Unknown Serving Style: Bottles and kegs (our sample from draft) Availability: Year round in much of the world   Appearance:  “Medium-gold. Decent head.” Aroma:  “Light, but some presence of hops detected. There's just a touch of 'biscuit' reminiscent of Champagne.” Taste:  “Good carbonation and a tangy, yet subtle, bitterness. Fills the mouth with an interplay between the crisp and the creamy. Long finish.” Food Affinity:  “First enjoyed this beer in Catalonia and would love to have it with the excellent seafood tapas I enjoyed there.…
  Propaganda Pils   Berryessa Brewing Co. Location: Winters, CA Style: American Pilsner Alcohol: 7% IBUs: 60 Serving Style: Kegs Availability: Seasonal in Northern California   Appearance:  “Lemon/amber color. Somewhat cloudy.” Aroma:  “No discernible aroma.” Taste:  “A little sharp, somewhat saison-like. However, it fills the mouth in almost creamy style. Finishes cleanly.” Food Affinity:  “Lightly beer-battered prawns, deep fried and served with soy sauce and Chinese mustard.”    Reviewer Dan Clarke likes beers that pair well with food.
  Little Sumpin' Sumpin'   Lagunitas Brewing Company Location: Petaluma, California Style: Wheat IPA Alcohol: 7.5% IBUs: 64 Serving style: 6-packs and kegs Availability: Year-round in California   Appearance:  “Golden” Aroma:  “Citrussy” Taste:  “Light with a nice hoppy finish, but not overbearing. It's a sessionable IPA. I think they use 50% wheat, which lightens the body.” Food Affinity:  “Carnitas street tacos.”   Reviewer Gary Sleppy is the proprietor of The Shack in Sacramento.  
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