I have been really enjoying the best of California breweries boxes that I have bought through the California Craft Brewers Association. And this month, the summer box arrived so it is time to dig into reviews of some of the noteworthy beers from it.
We start with two styles that are off the beaten track. A double named beer from Sierra Nevada and a cream ale with a candy twist from High Water Brewing.
I was psyched to have the pale bock but the yellow / orange hued beer was a little one note. A nice malty note with a touch of apple cider but not much else and for a beer that is 6.8%, it tasted bigger alcohol wise. A twelve ounce can would have sufficed.
Break Apart was as advertised. Big orange aroma and flavor. Soft, giving it a creamsicle taste that was quite nice. I didn’t get a large hit of chocolate but the little amount there conveyed that Christmas orange taste.
Two from Eureka Brewing to dig into today starting with a hazy pale using the Pink Boots hop blend.
Pandora Wakes pours a bright yellow with a top heavy haze to it. Crisp taste with a little watery edge to it. I know that is contradictory but this beer comes across more session/light. Some bitterness up front with a cherry note. Not what I would consider hazy though.
La Brea Stout promises chocolate and coconut. I get some of the former and none of the latter. It pours a nice dark color but no head to it. There is a soft roasty character that I like.
Hazy and N/A? Let’s dive into the next Free Wave from Athletic Brewing
First item of visual business is that it is not holding the haze very well. It isn’t crystal clear but a little added murk is in order. The aroma is very much orange candy or soda. That carries over into the taste which has a pretty good level of piney dank bitterness but I am not getting the pillowy quality that should be in the style. Then the body fades at the end a bit. If this was labeled West Coast, it would get higher ratings but for a hazy, it misses too many marks
The second of the Three Weavers featured reviews is Light Trails IPA. Getting quite a bit of grape character to this one Soft texture here as well, the bitterness is nicely understated. The aroma is very red wine barrel. Not the usual aroma which wakes up the senses. Overall, a very tannic experience, the IPA for wine fans.
My interest in the Oscars has waned over the last few years but if the movies nominated one of the few that caught my eye was Minari, so when I saw that Southland Beer Co. was selling a unique witbier honoring that movie, I picked it up along with another beer from this unique brewery, Dokkaebier.
Not their Kimchi sour though.
Let’s start with the Grand Quimen Pilsner which starts off well but the crispness slides into a more silky mouthfeel. I get a weird tannic but smooth note. I would hazard a guess that I would not like this tea straight. The tea does come through which is what you want but this just doesn’t quite reach the mark for me.
On to the water celery! And Citrus Witbier. This pours a dark amber. Not what I was expecting. The aroma is straight up celery. A little more expected. There is a big malty note sitting under the celery taste but the citrus is missing. And to me, this isn’t a wit really. I would need to get some spice and any citrus (lemon, lime, traditional orange).
Of the two, I would go with the tea pilsner even though the tea was not to my liking, it was in balance with the beer where the celery was not.
I got a nice care package from Three Weavers Brewing with an exciting single hop beer, featuring Simcoe.
This pale ale pours a vibrant yellow. Pine and earthiness are first to make their presence known followed by a minor note of grapefruit. For a pale ale, Deep Thoughts has a strong layer of bitterness to it while still being lighter in body. Additional citrus notes come through as the beer warms up making the flavor profile more complex.
I am hoping that maybe, down the road, there will be a mixed 4-pack each can featuring a different hop.
Peanut butter beers are the rage right now, but what would an N/A one taste like? Let’s see what Athletic Brewing can do with Nature Nut a collaboration with Justin’s Nut Butters.
Double N pours a nearly black color. The aroma has a slight peanut butter aroma to it. Akin to the smell when you stir up a natural peanut butter when first opened. Again, Athletic has made a beer that does not taste thin like others in this category. There is a bit of a cherry note amidst the carbonation that hits upon first taste which quickly leaves and then a pleasant but light peanut tastes lingers.
I went straight up the ladder you 10 since Trappistes Rochefort does not have a 9 which is my favorite number.
10 – pours a dark amber red color. The head just doesn’t diminish. I watched as it took many minutes to flatten down. Yeast esters on the nose headlined by banana. Not so much spice though that I would expect. Quite bready and sweet. A dessert quality to it. A “wet” beer but not viscous.
We head to Topa Topa for another Pink Boots blend. The boot imprint is on the label of this IPA which makes it hard to miss.
I get a bit of raspberry aroma off of this beer. Fruity bitterness as well. Very west coast IPA in the execution. Tastes stronger than the ABV. As it warms, there is more grassy notes that come through. It is a different mixture of flavors and aromas from the typical IPA for sure.
Whichever High Seven reaches higher? Let’s dig into the two anniversary IPA’s from Highland Park Brewery.
H7 – pours a darker yellow color. Spicy and grassy aroma. Light and lively for 7%. Grapefruit pith is the first flavor identified. Getting a rye character as well. Has a medium hop bite to it.
DH7 – this was a gusher. I set the can down, turned away and eruption. After the cleaning, the beer was super hazy. Sweet tart and lactose. Soft with a fruit punch spike. Tongue scrape action like in my first hazies.