Now I don’t normally feature more than one brewery in my themed brewery tours for each month, but I am making an exception here…
For Black History Month, three black-owned breweries — Hunters Point Brewery in San Francisco (aka Speakeasy Ales & Lagers), Oak Park Brewing Co. (Sacramento) and Full Circle Brewing Co. (Fresno) — and another in planning, Hella Coastal Brewing in Oakland, collaborated and developed a mixed IPA 4-pack celebrating champions of American history:
James Baldwin / America’s Native Son Black IPA – Hunters Point
Ella Josephine Baker / All We Want Is What You Promised Red IPA – Oak Park
Fred Allen Hampton / Eye Am a Revolutionary Hazy IPA – Full Circle
Fannie Lou Hamer / Everybody Is Free West Coast IPA – Hella Coastal
Please check out these breweries when you visit the North of California.
The second stop of the short month is to Livermore and Shadow Puppet Brewing Company from whom I received a Strong Beer Sampler Six-Pack. Two of whichever I have already tasted and have ranked higher than average especially for a brewery that I knew nothing about.
But let’s talk some of their lighter beers today…
Cinch Vanilla Cream Ale – “Very light with a smooth drinkability at the forefront w/ hint of vanilla on the finish.
Pipe Down German Pilsner – “Crisp & bright golden pilsner brewed with noble Hallertau hops. Floral undertones.”
Over the Rubicon Blonde Ale – “A light, refreshing & flavorful blonde ale with notes of citrus & melon.”
CA Craft Beer Week started on Friday with a load of virtual speakers plus cheese! Here are my takeaways from the evening….
Philly Beer Week inspired SF Beer Week which is now (at least this year), CA Craft Beer Week
Greg Koch thought that Stone Brewing had started too late. He also boldly declared that craft beer has “won” which he is both right and wrong about and ended his portion of the night talking about how there is so much happening now in craft beer.
Next up was David Walker who spoke about craft brewers as tinkerers and how California really brought hops back into the conversation. He said we all will still be chasing the perfect beer and that we need to keep curiosity as a tool in our brewing tool box.
Next was a three-way discussion of hops from North Park Brewing, Silva Brewing and Cellarmaker. What caught my attention were a few comments about how yeast had been somewhat forgotten about in early IPA’s and now has garnered probably too much credit especially when you take into consideration that some customers order IPA’s based on the featured hop.
I also like the idea of a blind tasting that has three Hazies and three West Coast IPA’s. It is something new that the Hop Grenade bar has done that should be replicated to see which style I should favored.
The last session that I watched was the beer and cheese pairing. Learned a golden rule to have a sip of beer first, then the cheese. Also that contrast is usually best with this type of pairing but if you have a really bold beer that a striking cheese can work.
Happy Valentine’s Day and enjoy the beer week.
Our initial CA Craft Beer Week stop is in Berkeley and Gilman Brewing Company. Let’s virtually step inside and try these beer descriptions on for size…
Blackberry Barillet– “A medium bodied saison made with our house yeast strain. Fermented until it’s nice and dry, and then aged in oak barrels with blackberries. A secondary fermentation in the barrel allows for a wonderful, tart, dry finish. The aroma of oak and blackberries make this ruby hued offering perfect for anyone who loves wine as much as our craft beer.”
Belgian Quad – “This beer was brewed with all local malt from Admiral Maltings in Alameda. The grain bill included Admiral Pils, Admiral Caramel 35, and Admiral Red.”
Box of Fluffies – “A hazy, juicy glass of New Zealand’s finest Motueka hops. Smooth, cream body, soft malt notes with a massive tropical aroma and citrus notes of orange, lemon and lime.”
5W30 Stout – “Bourbon barrel-aged for one year at time of bottling. A monster imperial stout with a thick, creamy, inky black body and a brown creamy head. Rich aromas of vanilla, chocolate, coffee, toffee, bourbon, and dark roasted malt. Luxurious flavors of bittersweet chocolate, toffee, and round roasted malt; subtle notes of vanilla, oak, tannins, and bourbon from twelve months in bourbon barrels round it out for a silky smooth finish.”