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Sunday, 19 May 2013 18:00

May 17, 2013 Beer Pick of the Week

GK-tap2 Picmonkey 



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.”

Nate Folsom Photo Picmonkey



--reviewed by Nate Folsom, a wine merchant in Sacramento



Editor's note: In 2002 the craft brewery Oskar Blues put the first of their line of beers, Dales' Pale Ale, in a can, a revolutionary move at the time. Actually there are many advantages to “bottling” in a can and Oskar Blues, as well as 30-plus other craft brewers who've followed suit, will celebrate the Burning Can Festival at Bohn Park in Lyons, Colorado Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1 of this year. We like their style.

Sunday, 19 May 2013 17:23

May 10, 2013 Beer Pick of the Week

El Steinber Single Picmonkey

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."


M.E. No 

--reviewed by Michael Eady


Saturday, 04 May 2013 21:52

May 3, 2013 Beer Pick of the Week

La Trappe Quadrupel Trappist AleLa Trappe Quadrupel glass  bottle Picmonkey


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 in mid-palate. Almost sweet (but not quite) in its long finish. At 10% it's fairly alcoholic. Definitely for sipping, not slurping."

Food Affinity:  "Your reviewer's notes at tasting suggested smoked gouda cheese; dates stuffed with a little blue cheese, then wrapped in bacon and baked; roast pork with prunes, mashed potatoes and carmelized onions. Later he found suggestions at the brewery website to include stews and spicy dishes, grilled ribs with sweet-sour sauce and rich chocolate desserts. Three specific recipes included a venison goulash, doughnuts with pureed dates and French toast with pear and blue cheese."

mug of Dan  Picmonkey


reviewed by Dan Clarke, who enjoyed this Dutch beer at the suggestion of his friend, Sean-the-Cop, on the day Willem-Alexander succeeded his mother, Queen Beatrix, to become Holland's first King since 1890.


Thursday, 25 April 2013 18:59

April 26, 2013 Beer Pick of the Week


Six Rivers Raspberry Lambic Picmonkey


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 after dinner accompanying anything with vanilla ice cream."


Marlo Beer Reviewer Picmonkey 2


                    --reviewed by Marlo Bakes, who identifies herself as a foodie and beer connoisseur.


Friday, 19 April 2013 21:02

April 19, 2013 Beer Pick of the Week


Twilight Summer Ale Picmonkey

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 doesn't overpower. Twilight Ale goes down easily and one glass invites a second.

Food Affinity:  The “brightness” mentioned earlier makes it a likely companion to much spring and summer fare. Among the possibilities . . . a shrimp cocktail, a Cobb salad or grilled piece of salmon, especially with a citrus glaze.

mug of Dan  Picmonkey 

 Reviewer Dan Clarke is looking forward to more bottles of Twilight Ale with this summer's barbecues.


Thursday, 21 March 2013 19:06

March 22, 2013 Beer Pick of the Week

DBA Tap Handle Picmonkey 

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 rabbit stew.”

General Background: Today's Pick was poured from draft. Firestone Walker considers the DBA (Double-Barreled Ale) their flagship product. It is partially fermented in American oak barrels which the brewery says enhances its fullness and “the clean briskness of the finish.”

Dan Scott Picmonkey


Reviewer Dan Scott lives in Sacramento

and describes himself as a “Beervangelist.”

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

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