I know that I sound like a broken record (or is it, broken streaming audio?), but I love the presentation of the Ruhstaller bottles (cans too). I like the kid with the bad boy look, I like the netting on the neck of the 22oz bottle. The marketing copy is not only readable but fun. For their California Tripel, they talk about an artist, a curator and the brewer plus have room for the beer ingredients. Cause that apparently is the most important thing if the blogosphere is to be believed. Made with California Metcalf & Copeland barley and California Cluster hops, this Belgian Style Tripel comes in at 9.5%.
Which is a good thing because this is another of the unintentionally aged bottles from Total Wine. This beer came out in July. This being June, I assume that this beer is from 2013. The production was limited to 230 cases.
It pours a bright orange color with a disturbing amount of floaty bits in it. As you can probably tell from the photo. Tripels can be evil. Their high alcohol masked until you finish the glass and this one doesn’t quite succeed in that. You can get a little heat from it. That is strike 2. Which I am holding Total Wine accountable for, not the brewer. There is some typical Belgian spice in there but the finish is a bit watery despite the alcohol. I am getting some of the sweetness that you might sense as well which is good but overall, I would have to recommend buying this beer fresh and popping the cap then. And do not buy it in June in hot Southern California.
I love the design on the Ruhstaller beers. They are playful and simple. The neck is adorned with fabric and tape and though the graphic is busy, it isn’t annoying. It is like a piece of art that some may like and others may not. Plus their backstory on the beer is simple and straightforward as well. This hoppy beer made with hops grown in Dixon, California at the Ruhstaller farm. It is part of their Rapid Fire R&D series.
That bodes well but what about the beer itself? It pours a really dark reddish/brown. Akin to an imperial red, hence the lack of an IPA moniker in the name. The initial aroma has balsa wood notes and some caramel as well. It is one of those beers with a low ABV that taste stronger. The hop character is mostly woody and herbal and is pretty strong without being overwhelming. Their website alludes to a licorice taste that I don’t quite pick up myself. But I do get some toast notes here that balances the affair out.
I have had a couple Ruhstaller beers now. They of the distinctive netting on the bottle necks and the detailed information on the provenance of the beer’s ingredients from this Sacramento brewer. Then I see this hoppy lager (in a can) which I immediately grabbed knowing that I would review it later. So here goes….
Pours a medium yellow. Foamy head at first. Nice amount of bubbles, very sparkly and festive looking. Cereal aroma hits me first with a spicy hop note on the side. Taste marks this as more of a hopped lager. Initial flavor is that malt crispness that is quickly hidden by the piney hops. Though the grain does make a comeback at the end of a sip which is cool. Love the stick on label attached to the plain silver can. And I love even more the listing of the hops and barley. Makes for a more informed customer!
And what am I reading now. you ask? Well it is Double Feature by Owen King. Yes, another writing son of Stephen and Tabitha. Must be genetic. I have just started but I am partial to father-son dynamics so it should be up my alley.
Just when I think that I have a handle on all of the breweries another new one pops up. Case in point, scanning the beer shelves at my Glendale Whole Foods, I ran across a canned four pack with a weird face on the silver can.
It was the 1881 California Red Ale from a brewery in Sacramento called Ruhstaller. And they have taken the novel step of having an Oregon hopped version and a California hop version. Screams for a side-by-side comparison for sure.
As I mentally noted this Raider color schemed can, I saw another Ruhstaller beer with a black fabric around the neck. A CAPT California Blk IPA. That is the name.
When space in the ‘fridge opens up, I will have to investigate these new offerings from the state capital.