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 BlackStar bottle and pint Picmonkey

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 cheese, with some pumpernickel and dark mustard on the side.

General Background:  Reviewer first noticed this beer next to six packs of high-volume national beers in a grocery store. They were all priced similarly, so it was worth a try. Later, it was frequently on sale at a buck less than Bud, Coors, et al, so things got even better. Eventually, there were coupons near the Black Star display that gave the buyer an instant $5 credit on any meat purchase of $5 or more when bought along with the beer. Who could resist? Black Star's website emphasizes its folksy beginnings, but does acknowledge that the brewery has expanded production to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is a pretty big operation. But what does that matter? I really like the beer and it's good value--even at full retail and without the free meat.

mug of Dan  Picmonkey

Reviewed by Dan Clarke, who wonders if big IPAs

are the brewing industry answer to 16% alcohol Zins.

River Ale bottle  Picmonkey


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.

Tim Smith Beer Taster Picmonkey 2


--reviewed by Tim Smith,

   a geologist who recently relocated

   from Orange County to Northern California.

by Dan Clarke

President of the Capitol City Auto Club Thunderbolts, Harold “Baggy” Bagdasarian talked his fellow members into sponsoring a car show in November of 1950. Twenty-two entries were displayed at a downtown Chevrolet dealership and 500 spectators paid 74-cents each to attend (apparently, a price of 75 cents or more would have subjected the sponsors to a federal amusement tax). While the Thunderbolts car club backed out of involvement after a couple of years, Bagdasarian decided to go it alone, using the name “Autorama” for the first time in 1953 (that year Hollywood was experimenting with “Cinerama,” a revolutionary process that had the country abuzz with anticipation). Ownership and management of the show eventually passed to others, but every year the Sacramento Autorama, now held at Cal Expo, continues to display dazzling hot rods and custom cars.

While interest in modifying cars is pretty much world-wide these days, the phenomenon has its roots in California's car culture. A few of the cars entered in this February's show that we found interesting included:


Autorama Oldie RoadsterFord Roadster, an oldie.

40 Caddie Sophia Picmonkey"Sophia," a sleek 1940 Cadillac Coupe


















60 Dodge Dart Picmonkey1960 Dodge Dart awarded the H.A. Bagdasarian trophy as World's Most Beautiful Custom

Candy Apple Red MercMercury from the '49-'51 era. Candy Apple Red and Lake Pipes--Wow!

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