California Craft Beer Summit – Report 3

First bit of business is last nights quick and rainy trip to Moksa Brewing in Rocklin.

The beer list was just a skosh unbalanced with one lager and about six IPA’s of various stripes and six stouts of various adjuncts. The Chai Times spiced Stout was excellent and beer buddy Rich had a very rich in chocolate stout that I thought was great. The lager, Da Bier was just the antidote after a day of drinking. Moksa also won the weirdest beer award with Freshie Freeze that was super citrusy but it also had a strange diesel note as well.

Back to Wednesday, the 1/2 day. After a visit to fuel up at the Pancake Circus we headed to a Sensory Session with Omega Yeast. This is where the thiol learning from the day before came in handy, I sampled a test brew and boy was it as advertised. Huge grapefruit and passion fruit, almost too much. Amazing to taste what genetics and Crispr can do.

I also sample the Sierra Nevada kombucha with pizza and had a beermosa with Smog City’s Mango Pango.

Today was the day to hear from Pink Boot’s members who talked about the many benefits of the organization which was a welcome upbeat talk before we got the final session where the Cilurzo’s (Natalie and Vinnie) flanked Ken Grossman to talk about what they did with their breweries in the pandemic times as well as what they have in store for the future. More lagers from Russian River and more alternative drinks from Sierra Nevada.

While they spoke, the audience was treated to two special beers. Special being a bit of an understatement. First up was a 2010 Bigfoot that we tasted alongside the newest version. Next was a little bit of newly bottled Pliny the Younger, this year with Nectaron hops in the mix. Not a bad way to call the Summit to a close.

Review – Sierra Nevada Bigfoot / Colonel E.H. Taylor Bourbon Barrel-Aged

Usually, I am a little late to online beer sales. The beer goddesses smiled upon me this time though and I snared one bottle of this Sierra Nevada meets Buffalo Trace barleywine.

Here is the description from the brewery, “Brewers hand-picked vintages of Bigfoot already aging in bourbon whiskey barrels — for up to 7 years — and after a final year in E.H. Taylor barrels, the beer that emerged was simply unreal, and at 15% ABV, full of immense flavor.”

Using the same packaging as the E.H. Taylor bourbon is a great choice, that is some classy, handsome, rugged design. Having it caged and corked is another high-end look.

BBAB pours a dark brown color with a streak of red to it. On the nose, the bourbon is not super big which came as a bit of a surprise (not the biggest one, get to that a bit later). This very smooth with close to a caramel taste to it. The rough, spiky hop notes in regular Bigfoot have been completely sanded down.

The biggest surprise is that this does not taste 15% or anywhere near it. Not in aroma, viscosity or taste. This is not a beer that you need to pace yourself with.

Overall, this was really good but I was letdown by the lack of bourbon.

Santa’s Pint Glass – Day 3

Staying in the land of holiday hops for another day so that we can celebrate another year of what is probably the second most iconic seasonal ale. Celebration Fresh Hop IPA from Sierra Nevada.

Described thusly, “Once we pick fresh hops, the clock starts ticking. Each year, we visit the Pacific Northwest to hand-select the best Cascade and Centennial hops, race the harvest home, and brew immediately to capture citrus, pine, and floral notes at their absolute peak — aromas and flavors for the perfect winter beer. It’s a magical time at the brewery — has been for 40 years now! — when our brewers huddle around the fermentation tanks, toasting the start of a special season. Wrapped in red, consider Celebration IPA your first present of the holidays.”

It’s a Little Bit Sunny

What does the word Sunny convey to you?

Well, if you check the bottom left, you might make out part of the word, citrus. So you may be thinking it is another IPA. But no, the pivot for the next Sierra Nevada Little Thing beer is that it is a wheat beer.

Review – CCBA Summer Box # 1

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.