Drakes Brewing Co. | Hefe
Did you know Drakes made a hefe? We didn’t either until we sat for into San Jose’s Smoking Pig BBQ, a BBQ joint with an extensive craft beer menu. Honey, Orange and Citrus notes. Kept the pepper sauce at bay. Tasty.
Devil’s Canyon Brewing | Belle Bière Brut
I may have approached this beer completely wrong, I mean a sparkling ale? What is one supposed to think? Is the proper serving glass a champagne flute, a wine glass (white or red?), a pilsner glass, a pub pint, a tulip? We settled on white wine glasses as the champagne flutes are such a pain to wash.
Effervescence with small to medium bubbles, but did not have the fine line of micro bubbles one expects in fine champagne. A very closed nose and a palate of completely subtle tasting notes. Some yeast, some citrus, but very difficult to get any enjoyment out of it. It honestly tasted a step above a second beer for me. Was not it’s biggest fan.
However, if this beer was crafted for celebratory toast purposes it did it’s job quite well. I could definitely imagining myself beginning a pre-fixe meal or celebration with this bottle. Although it lacked the expected ‘pop’ upon uncorking, Belle is able to open up palates, and start appetites. It’s also celebratory in itself, which makes a great ice breaker.
Would we purchase again? Probably not. Would I turn away a flute? Absolutely not.
Trappist Westvleteren 12 | Quadrupel Ale
Westvleteren 12, or better known as Westy 12 has enjoyed the lofty placement of the Top 1 on many Top 100 lists. A lofty position for being renowned as the world’s best, and most sought after beer.
I can tell you one thing for certain - it’s damn tasty, and I could probably quaff this all day even though I’m not the biggest fan of Quads. However, just how tasty is it and how much better is it then other beers, or beers of its style? I didn’t pay for these, so cost was not an issue and wasn’t taken into consideration. This said, it was mind opening, like the secret key to a long lost kingdom.
The only real comparison I could compare it to was my initial taste of Chimay Blue. It may be in an entirely different league then Chimay all together, but Chimay changed the world of Belgian Quad Ales for me, and beer in general. It’s affect was monumental and very memorable. Westy 12 allowed to me re-live that instant.
Stillwater Artisanal | Table Beer
This one caught us off guard, like an unprotected left hook. It made us see stars. Typical nose of hay, straw, and grassy notes. Tastes hones in on citrus, apricots, honey, and a big floral component. However it finishes bitter and rather harsh. A crazy juxtaposition of profiles that somehow lean more toward tasty rather then not.
Note - do not pour the entire bottle out, lots of sediment in the bottom and will cloud up your beer.
St. Bernardus | Abt 12
With an 100 of 100 overall score, and a 99 out of 100 category score on Beer Advocate; St. Bernardus’ Abt 12 is the real deal. This is serious and quality beer.
Old world flavor profiles. Bready, Yeasty, and Malty. It also posses notes of cocoa, brown sugar, and a multitude of fruit and spices. Incredibly complex, and very…very…very delicious.
Stone Brewing Collaboration Series | The Perfect Crime
This is the result of a collab between Stone Brewing, Evil Twin and Stillwater Artisan. A smoked black saison. Although I have nothing against smoked or black beers, this one was just off the mark for me. It was interesting and continues to push the envelope on craft beer but just wasn’t ‘there’.
Dogfish Head | 75-Minute IPA, Barrel Conditioned with Maple Syrup
Although Dogfish Head has no limits when it comes to brewing beers, most of recently have been some crazy out of this world combination of funkdafied ingredients - this bottle of 75-Minute IPA keeps it simple with just Maple Syrup. Pours a very fizzy golden amber and drinks crisp and bright. Enjoying this beer quite a bit, excellent job.
Almanac Beer Co. | Honey Saison
Slight difference from the Fairmont Honey Saison and Almanac’s California Table Beer series Honey Saison - although both honeys are procured by Marshall Farms, the honey used in this beer is actually from Marshall Farms where as the honey in the Fairmont’s version comes from the roof top hives of the Fairmont on Nob Hill.
Pours very similar. Bright, crisp notes. Big on the honey, and floral factors. Most excellent for a hot summer day.
Almanac Beer Co. | Biere de Chocolat
Almanac paired up with Dandelion Chocolates of San Francisco and added Biere de Chocolat to their line of 12oz table beers. If there’s one thing to be said about this beer is the ridiculous amount of chocolate taste it has, and retains. Chocolate hits your olfactory senses right away, then as you take a taste…your front, mid and back palate. If that wasn’t enough, chocolate lingers for just an incredible finish.
One of the most chocolatey beers I’ve had - evAr.
Almanac Beer Co. | Pale Ale
Part of Almanac’s newly released Table Beer series, a departure from it’s iconic 750ml bottles to 12oz necks sold in 6pk handles. Well balanced and drinks with a round profile. This one goes down easy, a definite crowd pleaser.
Almanac Brewing Co. | Fairmont Honey Saison
Almanac brews a Honey Saison in their 12oz line with honey from Marshall Farms, however they produce a distinctive line just for The Fairmont Hotel’s Nob Hill location. The honey is made from the hives up on Fairmont’s rooftops, which are managed by Marshall Farms.
This beer pours bright and crisp. Notes of apricots, honey, and mint. Has a nutty element which I couldn’t place and a good evanescence with small consistant bubbles.
Knee Deep Brewing Co. | Simtra - Triple IPA
We’ve had IPAs, Imperial IPAs, and even that over-hopped one off by Sierra Nevada’s brewer school but never a Triple IPA. Knee Deep Brewing’s Simtra was particularly exciting as many compared it to Russian River Brewing’s Pliny the Elder - the grail of IPAs as many are concerned. Being a big fan of PtE, the suspense built up early.
Pleased to tell you that this did not disappoint. Not as bitter as one would expect, or skunky, but a linear hop profile with complex notes of apricot, honey, citrus and some burnt caramel.
I’m going out to procure more for this holiday, you should too.