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Displaying items by tag: beer

Tuesday, 12 March 2013 13:54

March 8, Beer Pick of the Week

Duchesse de Bourgogne pix Picmonkey 

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. Undefinable herbs--perhaps reminiscent of Fernet-Branca.

Food Affinity:  Maybe matching sour with sour if serving with the German classic Sauerbraten? Would be fun to try with a variety of cheeses—nothing soft, better aged and full-flavored. A smoked Gouda or the Welsh Caerphilly?

General Background: A few months ago Gary Sleppy, proprietor of The Shack in Sacramento, gave me a taste of this beer. It was my first “sour.” It was nothing like anything I'd had before. Since then I've sampled several other sour ales, but this one remains my favorite. The Duchesse de Bourgogne invites reflection, contemplation. Slowly sipping one brings the equivalent pleasure of a good vintage Port in front of the fire on a wintery night.

mug of Dan  Picmonkey

Reviewed by Dan Clarke,

who's thinking about booking a flight to Belgium.

Thursday, 14 February 2013 18:46

February 15, 2013 Beer Pick of the Week

Tanilla-Label Picmonkey



Producer: Knee Deep Brewery

Location: Lincoln, Ca

Style: Porter

Alcohol: 6.3%

IBUs: Unknown

Serving style: keg and 22-oz. bottle

Availability: California, Arizona, Nevada, Ohio and Idaho


Appearance:  Very Dark

Aroma:  Smells Sweet—maybe a little like vanilla?

Taste:  Not piney at all. Creamy when sipped, less so when gulped. Slightly chocolatey

Food Affinity:  Steak sandwich and mashed potatoes.

Kristen Watson Picmonkey


--reviewed by Kristen Watson,

a marketing assistant and aspiring food critic

in Sacramento, California.

Friday, 08 February 2013 10:18

February 8, 2013 Beer Pick of the Week


Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer

Crabbies Ginger Beer Picmonkey


Producer: Crabbie's

Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Style: Ginger-infused lager

Alcohol: 4.8%

IBUs: Unknown

Serving type: 11.2 oz bottles

Availability: Distributed in California and much of the rest of the U.S. year 'round


Appearance:  Golden, real golden. Really great carbonation, similar to a Belgian.

Aroma:  Not overbearing, but smells like sweet ginger

Taste:  Carbonation on the front of the tongue. A light sweetness lingers on the roof of the mouth, but not in a “gelato” way. Finishes with a long—but subtle—ginger character. Some ginger beers would burn your throat going down, but not this one. It's smooth.

Food Affinity:  Thai and other Asian foods, because the sweetness would offset the spice. Also, good for summer barbecues.

Christopher Fairman Picmonkey


--reviewed by Christopher Fairman,

  an artist and beer-slinger at The Shack in Sacramento, California

Saturday, 02 February 2013 00:37

February 1, 2013 Beer Pick of the Week

Coronado Brewing Idiot tap handle Picmonkey Idiot IPA


Producer: Coronado Brewing Co.

Location: Coronado, California

Style: Imperial India Pale Ale

Alcohol: 8.5%

IBUs: 90

Serving type: 4-pack bottles, 22 oz. bottles, draft

Availability: Year around in much of the U.S.


Appearance:  Golden/Amber

Aroma:  Somewhat floral

Taste:  Medium bodied, citrus and pine. Quite bitter.

Food Affinity:  Try with slow-cooked and very spicy pork ribs, finished with a pineapple glaze.

General Background:  Sampled on draft. Great tap handle featuring Hotel Del Coronado reference from this San Diego area brewery  .


mug of Dan  Picmonkey

  --reviewed by Dan Clarke, a writer and editor

    in Sacramento, California

Thursday, 24 January 2013 21:27

January 25 Beer Pick of the Week

mongo1 Picmonkey



Producer: Port Brewing Co.

Location: San Marcos, California

Style: Double IPA

Alcohol: 8.5%

IBUs: Unknown

Serving type: 12 oz. bottles, draft

Availability: Year round in National Distribution


Appearance:  Golden/yellow

Aroma:  Hoppy

Taste:  Smooth in the mouth with a sharp finish. Reasonably hoppy without being overpowering.

Food Affinity:  Grilled swordfish.

General Background:  Though the product is available in bottle (see picture at right), this week's "Pick" was sampled from draft.

Michael Mallett Mug Pickmonkey


 --reviewed by Michael Mallett,

  a transpersonal astrologer in Sacramento.

Thursday, 17 January 2013 21:51

January 18, 2013 Beer Pick of the Week

Petrus Aged Pal Ale Picmonkey

Petrus Aged Pale Ale


Producer: Bavik

Location: Belgium

Style: Red/Brown Ale

Alcohol: 7.3%

IBUs: Unknown

Serving type: 11-oz. Bottles

Availability: National distribution in the U.S. through the year, but in limited quantities.


Appearance:  Very light amber

Aroma:  Apple cider, grapefruit

Taste:  Bright, lemony and very sour (that's a good thing!). This is a brew that invites reflection. Savor it. Contemplate your life and consider a trip to Flanders.

Food affinity:  Reviewer thought the crisp acidity would work as counterpoint to chicken prepared with a sticky citrus or apricot glaze or accompanied by a chutney-like fruit sauce. A friend who enjoys cooking and food/wine pairings believed something rich and fatty, like duck or goose, would be good. Website of the beer's U.S. importer recommended smoked or pickled fish, shellfish. Such diversity. But we think it will be fun to experiment in all these directions.

General background:  This product of a family-owned Flemish brewery is matured for 24-36 months in oak barrels.

mug of Dan  Picmonkey

 --Reviewed by Dan Clarke, who had enjoyed only one bottle labeled Petrus prior to this Belgian Ale. That was the fabled Chateau Petrus, a Merlot-based wine from the Pomerol. It was in an era when the current release cost a whole lot less than the $1,999.97 that Total Wines & More charges for it now.

Sunday, 13 January 2013 11:17

January 11, 2013 Beer Pick of the Week

Bonfire bottle shot Picmonkey



Producer: Napa Smith Brewery

Location: Napa, California

Style: Brewery defines as “Imperial Porter”

Alcohol: 8%

IBUs: 30

Serving type: 12 and 22-oz. bottles and draft

Availability: Winter season in all of California and about 15 other states.


Appearance:  Dark/Dark/Dark. Big beige head.

Aroma:  Hard to define.

Taste:  Winery suggests trying "our winter warmer--and set the night on fire!" Our bottle didn't trigger such excitement, but as an alternative to sitting in front of the fireplace with a glass of Port, it would be o.k. We enjoyed its warming, malty presence and the coffee and toasty aspects. Subtle bitter/spicy bite on the finish.

Food Affinity:  Chicken mole, chocolate brownies with walnuts, dark chocolate

General Background:  Napa Smith's Master Brewer, Don Barkley, began his career at New Albion Brewing Company in 1978 and was a founder of Mendocino Brewing Company, perhaps best known for its Red Tail Ale, before taking his current position.


mug of Dan  Picmonkey


--Bonfire was reviewed by Dan Clarke,

a writer and editor in Sacramento, California.

Sunday, 06 January 2013 01:00

February 10-19, 2017 SF Beer Week

Region: SF & Bay Area     City: San Francisco     Contact: www.sfbeerweek.com

Saturday, 05 January 2013 22:11

February 18, 19 2017 San Diego Winter Brew Fest

Region: San Diego County     City:  San Diego     Contact: www.sandiegobrewfest.com


Friday, 04 January 2013 13:12

January 4, 2013 Beer Pick of the Week

Pale 31Firestone Pale 31 Picmonkey


Producer: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Location: Paso Robles, California

Style: California Style Pale Ale

Alcohol: 4.9%

IBUs: 38

Serving type: 12 oz. bottles and draft

Availability: Widely distributed in the Far West, also in Colorado, Arizona and in the Chicago area.



Appearance: Deep golden amber. Not many bubbles.

Aroma: floral, malty.

Taste: Easy-drinking, malty, refreshing.

Food Affinity: Split pea soup, topped with some crispy crumbled bacon and a slice of brown bread.

General Background: Firestone produces an array of beer styles. The “Pale 31” name of this one relates to California being the 31st state admitted to the Union.


mug of Dan  Picmonkey


--Pale 31 reviewed by Dan Clarke, a writer and editor in Sacramento, California who has happy memories of pale ales experienced in Britain years ago.

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