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Beer Pick of the Week

  Dad's Little Helper   Rogue Ales Location: Newport, Oregon Style: Black IPA Alcohol: 6.2% IBUs: 70 Serving Style: 22-oz. bottles and in keg (our sample from draft) Availability: Seasonally produced for national distribution   Appearance:  “Very dark. Creamy head.” Aroma:  “Deep roasted malt.” Flavor:  “Starts with a dark roasted malt, but with hints of chocolate. Just as you are savoring that, the bitter hoppiness slices through and finishes.” Food Affinity:  “Raspberry-Chocolate souffle.”      Reviewed by Michael Mallet, a trans-personal astrologer in Sacramento.  
    Double Tap IPA    Berryessa Brewing Company  Location: Winters, Caifornia  Style: Strong IPA  Alcohol: 8.5%  IBUs: 70+  Serving style: Keg only at this time  Availability: Year-round in Northern California   Appearance:  "Medium-amber" Aroma:  "Floral hop aroma, but subtle compared to the floral hoppy taste." Taste:  "Substantially bitter with a strong citrus flavor with floral undertones. It's pretty good." Food Affinity:  "Dried sausage with fennel served with a sweet-hot, honey mustard and dark rye bread."     Reviewed by Sean Montgomery, a homebrewer in Sacramento.  
    Gösser    Brauerei Göss  Location: Linz, Austria  Style: Euro style lager  Alcohol: 5.2%  IBUs: unknown  Serving style: bottles, cans and keg  Availability: Year-round   (This week's selection was sampled from draft)   Color:  “Straw-like to light golden.” Aroma:  “Lightly hoppy, almost Pilsner-like. Evocative of beers that reviewer caged as a child.” Taste:  “Restrained carbonation, but bright. Short, but crisp finish.” Food Affinity:  “Something German (well, Austrian) seems appropriate. How about weisswurst mit kartoffelsalat or maybe Californian summer food like fish tacos with avocado slices and lots of cilantro.”   Reviewed by Dan Clarke  
  Hofbräu Dunkel    Hofbräuhaus  Location: Munich, Bavaria (Germany)  Style: Dark lager Alcohol: 5.5% IBUs: Unknown Serving style: Draft and 12-oz. bottles  Availability: Distribution in most of the U.S.   Appearance:  “Deeply copper colored.” Aroma:  “Beer, it's clearly that, but not especially distinctive.” Taste:  “Roasted barley. Carmel. Nicely carbonated. Typical of German beers, it came with a nice, firm head on it. Long finish—a lot of these dark lagers have a longer finish. The malt is roasted, making the flavor more complex. Has a touch of sweetness at the end.” Food Affinity:  “Weisswurst or pork chops baked with sauerkraut. Possibly…
  West Coast IPA    Green Flash  Location: San Diego  Style: West Coast IPA  Alcohol: 7.3%  IBUs: 95  Serving Style: 12 and 22-ounce bottles and on draft  Available: Year-round in California and 40 other states   Appearance:  “Clear. It's an IPA, but it's not pale, which speaks to its malt characteristic.” Aroma:  “Pronounced hoppiness.” Taste:  “A lot of West Coasts IPAs are one side (just hoppy), but this has a significant malt profile. So it's balanced. Food Affinity:  “Pork tenderloin, prepared with rosemary, garlic and mustard—my favorite dish.” General Background:  The reviewed beer is West Coast IPA made by Green…
    Censored    Producer: Lagunitas Brewing Co.  Location: Petaluma, CA  Style: Red/Copper Ale  Alcohol: 6.7%  IBUs: 39  Serving Style: 12 oz. bottles and draft  Availability: Year-round in California and 37 other states.   Appearance:  “Like a bright, well-used penny,” Aroma:  “Very light malt nose.” Taste:  “A full-bodied, surprisingly crisp malt flavor with a very gentle finish. Food Affinity:  “Would go with barbecued foods—ribs for sure, maybe pork tenderloin.” General Background:  Brewery says this beer was originally named “Kronik,” but federal authorities deemed that to be a marijuana reference and put the kibosh on it. As a joke they resubmitted…
  Sour in the Rye   Producer: The Bruery  Location: Placentia, CA  Style: Sour Ale  Alcohol: 7.8%  IBUs: Unknown  Serving style: 750ml bottle  Availability: Released in limited quantity one time a year, usually somewhere between January and March. Distributed in California and 20 other states nationally.   Appearance:  “Cloudy amber.” Aroma:  “Spicy. Pungent.” Taste:  “Tart with strong rye spiciness, faintly resembling a rye whiskey with a hint of oak. Finishes with a pretty strong sour note and fairly dry, though not totally so.” Food Affinity:  “Because of the tartness and acidity, it would need something to offset—something with a cream…
  G'Knight   Producer: Oskar Blues Brewery Location: Longmont, Co and Brevard, NC Style: Imperial Red Ale Alcohol: 8.7% IBUs: 60 Serving style: draft and pint cans Availability: Year-round nationally.   Appearance:  “Nice amber color.” Aroma: "A little citrussy hoppiness, followed by malt. Taste:  “Nicely balanced beer between hoppy and malty. Has a malty backbone balanced by an appealing hoppy bitterness. Food Affinity:  “Would be good with spicy foods. It has enough malt to balance any of the spices.”     --reviewed by Nate Folsom, a wine merchant in Sacramento     Editor's note: In 2002 the craft brewery Oskar…
El Steinber   Producer: Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Location: Boonville, Mendocino County, CA Style: dark lager Alcohol: 5.5% ABUs: 25 Serving Style: Draft and 16 oz. cans Availability: Year-round in California and much of the U.S.   Appearance:  “It's dark.” Aroma:  "Nose is subtle, but some toasty malt apparent." Taste:  “Roasted malts give you more of that roasty/toasty, grain flavor that is typical of dark lagers. 'Chewier' than typical light lagers.” Food Affinity: "Sauerbraten mit Spätzle und Rotkohl."     --reviewed by Michael Eady  
La Trappe Quadrupel Trappist Ale   Producer: Brouerij Koningshoeven Location: Tilburg, The Netherlands Style: Quadrupel Trappist Ale Alcohol: 10% IBUs: unknown Serving style: Sampled from 11 oz. Bottle Availability: (Presumably) world-wide, year-around   Appearance:  "Dark amber to reddish-brown." Aroma:  "Fruity, some prune and toffee." Taste:  "Maple and sour cherries, but mostly prunes. Viscous and rich, yet with a lightness and subtle effervescence in mid-palate. Almost sweet (but not quite) in its long finish. Big and fairly alcoholic, it's a drink for sipping, not slurping.Maple and sour cherries, but mostly prunes. Viscous and rich, yet with a lightness and subtle effervesence…
    Raspberry-Lamic Style Ale    Producer: Six Rivers Brewery  Location: McKinleyville, CA  Style: Belgian lambic style ale  Alcohol: 7.4%  IBUs: 13 Serving Style: Available on draft throughout Northern California and in growlers only at the Humboldt Co. brewery.   Appearance:  “Somewhat cloudy. Not as deep red as Lindemans Framboise, more of a darker, brownish red. Aroma:  “You can smell the raspberries.” Taste:  “Dry and light. Refreshing and 'cideresque'.” Food Affinity: “I've had it with a big pretzel from Freeport Bakery with chipotle aioli and that was good. It would best as a starter or aperitif before a meal. or…
  Twilight Summer Ale   Producer: Deschutes Brewery  Location: Bend, Oregon  Style: American light pale ale  Alcohol: 5%  IBUs: 35  Serving Style: 12-oz. Bottles and draft  Availability: May through September most of the western U.S. and British Columbia and Alberta in Canada.   Appearance:  Golden to light amber in color, lots of small-bubble carbonation and a nice head. Aroma:  Faint hoppiness with some citrus aspects. Maybe a little pine resin and orange peel. Taste:  Malt with restrained hoppiness and subtle citrus. Light-to-medium body. The carbonation gives an overall brightness to the feeling in the mouth. There's flavor here, but it…
  Odd Job Ale   Producer: The Brewing Lair Location: Blairsden, CA Style: Hoppy red session ale Alcohol: 5% IBUs: 60 Serving Stye: On draft and in growlers Availability: Plumas County and many spots along the Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, Reno, Nevada corridor.   Appearance: “Medium brown, similar to Guinness, but not quite as dark and with a smaller, less-frothy head. Aroma:  “Slightly sweet, but with a hint of oak, smoke and dried fruit.” Taste:  “Ideally rich with a small, smoke-like aftertaste.” Food Affinity:  “Versatile. Perfect by itself, but ideal with a juicy burger, tacos or just with a side of…
    The Pursuit of Hoppiness   Producer: Grand Teton Brewing Company  Location: Victor, Idaho  Style: American Amber/Red Ale  Alcohol: 8.5%  IBUs:100  Serving style: Draft, growlers, 12-ounce and 750-ml bottles  Availability: Year-round in 15 states, including Northern California   Appearance:  “Amber-red, very clear.” Aroma:  “Gentle, but the hop aroma comes through.” Taste:  “There's a malty backstory going on, but that just highlights the hoppiness that brightens it up. It doesn't seem particularly high in alcohol.” Food Affinity:  “It goes very, very well with St. Louis-style ribs.”   Reviewed by Michael Mallett, a trans-personal astrologer in Sacramento.  
Black Racer IPA   Producer: Bear Republic Brewing Company Location: Cloverdale, California Style: Black IPA Alcohol: 8.1% IBU's: 75+ Serving Style: 22-ounce bottles and in draft Availability: Limited seasonal distribution on the West Coast and in some national markets beginning April 1st. General Background: Co. HQ in Cloverdale, but their brewpub is in Healdsburg.   Appearance: “Black” Aroma: “Too many smells coming from food cooking in the (adjacent) kitchen to be able to tell.” Taste: “Has a creamy, Guinness-like style with the kick of an IPA—or vice versa. For a fan of British ales, it's a nice transition beer.” Food…
  Firestone DBA   Producer: Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Location: Paso Robles, California Style: English style bitter/amber ale Alcohol: 5% IBUs: 30 Serving style: 12 and 22-ounce bottles and draft Availability: Year around on the West Coast   Appearance:  “Golden brown/amber brown. Beautifully clear considering it's not filtered.” Aroma:  “Very little.” Taste:  “It's an older, English style of beer, not one that punches you in the face. It's what an ale is supposed to be—smooth and complex. Food Affinity:  “It's a very food-friendly beer for richer food. A roasted meat dinner—something with gravy. Or perhaps with mushroom parmigiana or a…
Fusion 16   Producer: Lagunitas Brewing Company Location: Petaluma, CA Style: Grandslammer Alcohol: 4.9% IBUs: 34.20 Serving style: draft only Availability: A seasonal beer, available for a short-duration throughout California and in many markets in other parts of the U.S.     Appearance:  Clear, straw-like in color Aroma:  Light, hoppy, but without the IPA sting. Taste:  Mild, for an IPA. Pleasant. Doesn't seem very alcoholic. Food affinity:  Would go pleasantly with anything that's light—a salad or maybe chicken. General Background:  Fusion 16 is the latest in a series of quasi-experimental seasonal offerings produced by Lagunitas. The brewery tells us they…
  Duchesse de Bourgogne   Producer: Brouwerij Verhaeghe Location: Vichte, Belgium Style: Flanders Red Ale Alcohol: 6.2% IBUs: Unknown Serving Style: bottles, draft and growlers Availability: Year around in most major US markets and around the world.   Appearance:  Reddish-brown, with not-quite-white head Aroma:  Vinegary, but not in an unpleasant way. More like a good balsamic oil & vinegar dressing. Some fruit qualities there, like cherries or cranberries. Taste:  First impression is sour (again, that's in a good way), but cornucopia of subtle flavors requiring consideration. There's more sour cherry, but also some darker elements—raisins, maybe, and dark brown sugar.…
  Double Hopped Golden Lager   Producer: Black Star Brewing Location: Whitefish, Montana Style: Lager Alcohol: 4.6 % IBUs: 15 Serving Style: 12 oz. bottles and kegs in some markets. Availability: Year around in most of the U.S.   Appearance: Just a shade darker than most lagers. Aroma:  Light hoppiness. Taste:  Definitely hoppy in the forefront. There's some bite—more than in a typical mass-produced American lager, but much less than in a California-style IPA, so popular here these days. It is fairly crisp and has a lingering finish. Food affinity:  Plate of cold cuts and slices of cheddar and gouda…
  River Ale   Producer: Deschutes Brewery Location: Bend, Oregon Style: Light Ale Alcohol: 4% IBUs: 28 Serving Style: 12 oz. Bottles and draft Availability: Year-round in most states     Appearance: Light gold. Very clear. Aroma:  A little fresh hop. Really clean nose. Taste:  No hop harshness. No Bite. You get a little fresh hop on the end. Finishes very clean, with a little Kolsch character. It's an impressive light ale—it would be a really good summer beer. Food Affinity:  Summer grilling—hot dogs, sausages and potato salad.   --reviewed by Tim Smith,    a geologist who recently relocated   …
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