After years of varying inventory and out of stocks I hope Bear Republic is here to stay. One year ago we got the bad news that one of our distributors had gone out of business and some of their beers were favorites among our customers and employees. BR is a brewery we got to know over the last 4 years and they truly are one of California's hidden gems. A small brewery hidden in the town of Cloverdale just north of Healdsburg in Sonoma county, CA. For those of you that know this part of CA this is wine country and they placed this brewery right in the middle of it.
Bear Republic is truly a west coast style brewery but their beers are not overly hopped these guys are about balance and know when to crank it up.
Racer 5 - A hoppy golden 7% ABV and 75 IBU American IPA brewed with large amounts of Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial hops. This beer has a big malty body with a crisp, citrusy nose and a piney crisp finish. This ’09 GABF gold medal winning beer is a must try and hopefully we will have another keg of it soon to fill growlers with. This is their flagship and comes in 6pk, 12pk, 22oz and every once in a while growlers.
Hop Rod Rye – This is a fun beer and different from many of the beers that are available in this area. Adding Rye to beers is a fun change to your everyday IPA. I have grown to love different rye beers but it did take a little bit. There was always something about them that didn’t fit my palate, but like anything new the more you try something the more your palate begins to accept it and start to enjoy it. This rye IPA has a nice spice and earthiness to it backed by the great hop blend of an IPA. A beer that I would defiantly throw in on a trade as an extra because this is a fun one to try that people might not pick off the shelf. Hop Rod comes in at 8% and 80 IBU’s.
Red Rocket – This beer rounds out their 6pk line and it's a hoppy, strong American Red Ale. This amber has a nice maltiness balanced with earthy flavored hops and finishs with a caramel sweetness. According to BR’s website they call it a bastardized scotch ale and it is true this is a big Amber at 6.8%.
Also in the lineup is a selection of 22oz bottle consisting of their XP Pale, Pete’s Tribute Brown Ale and Big Bear Black Stout.
Bear Republic is one of my top 10 breweries and we are definalty glad to have them back. This is one of the breweries I have not yet been able to visit but we will have our one and only Kelli traveling out there this next summer we will have her inform all of us on her travels when she gets back. Enjoy the new beers and I hope we can keep them around.
With the craft industry changing so fast we have started to notice a lot of people are focusing on just the American craft side of the beer wall and are still kind of scared of the imported specialty beers. Craft beer is exploding all over the world and the US is not the only country that is pushing the envelope when it comes to great craft beer. So I took a little tour around the store and picked out six different imported beers that are new to us and are a little confusing to some and still rank with some of the best in the world. A lot has to do with the foreign languages that are on the labels and just like French wine they don't always tell you what is in the bottle.
The first brewery is Epic Beer and not to be confused with Epic Brewing out of Utah this brewery is from New Zealand. New Zealand's craft industry has been one of the faster growing in the world and there are small regional and nano breweries popping up everyday. Epic is one of the larger and we carry their Mayhem which uses a native NZ hop called riwaka in their American Strong Pale Ale that gets B+ on Beer Advocate and a 95 on RateBeer.com.
Next we will go to Denmark and check out Norrebro Bryghus La Granja Espresso Stout. Some times you have to read to the end of the label to find out what type of beer it is. This Espresso Stout has a slight sweetness to it with a well balanced coffee flavor and it receives a B on BA and a 96 RateBeer.com
Also in Denmark is the brewery Amager Bryghus and we carry their Imperial Stout which receives an A- on BA and 99 rating on RateBeer.com. At 10% ABV this is an extreme beer that presents flavors of vanilla, coffee and chocolate.
A brewery that we here at the store have grown to love in the last couple of years is Haandbryggeriet and one of their more interesting beers besides Norwegian Wood is Darkforce which is a double imperial wheat stout. As their label says this is the only known beer of this style in the universe so why not give it a try. Beer Advocate tried it and gave this Norwigian beer a B+ and RateBeer.com said it was worth a 99.
Keeping with the Norwegian theme we will try out Nogne O and their Two Captains. This is their double IPA that some say is a Pliny the Elder clone but I will let you be the judge. It is a 100 IBU beer with an 8.5% ABV that would be a fun gift or worthy of bringing to your next beer tasting with friends. BA gave it an A- and RateBeer.com a 98.
And last was a new beer I brought in after trying it on cask and it was a treat to say the least. Thornbridge Jaipur IPA is and English IPA that has more earthiness flavors in it compared to American hopped up IPA's we are accustomed to in the US but it is definatly a very well balanced beer that can be enjoyed my many. BA gave it an A- and RateBeer.com said 95.
Here was just a quick snapshot of some imported beers that some might pass by so if you are looking for a little adventure try grabbing one of your favorite beers and pick up an import you have never heard of that is in the same style and have your own tasting to see if the craft breweries on the other side of the world have the same tastes that you might.
Cheers and enjoy something you've never tried before
On a recent trip out west to The Great American Beer Fest with a couple of my fellow beer consuming colleagues we stumbled across Oskar Blues Brewing Company. What we didn't know when we were driving around Longmont, CO is that there are 3 OB locations. Their brewery and tasting bar called the Tasty Weasel which is located in a industrial district and has a decent size tasting bar connected with their production brewery. During our tour of the brewery we found out they were also affiliated with a bar right around the corner. Upon walking into Home Made Liquids and Solids we made sure to try several of their one off OB brews and there were several that we had never even heard of. The third location is their original brewery and located in Lyons, CO. Once you’re done at the brewery having your pitcher of Deviant Dales and listening to over the top open mic you can walk around the corner and enter one of the largest pinball arcades in the US, and it's in some dudes house. Don't think this is some run of the mill arcade because these people are hardcore and way into their pinball. This was is defiantly worth the trip and this brewery/ bar/ arcade/ karaoke joint defiantly keeps you on your toes.
Now on to their beers OB's was started in 2002 with Dale Katechis with his vision to put great craft beer in a can. He is a huge outdoorsman and wanted to be able to bring his beer biking and backpacking with him and not have to deal with the glass. Dales Pale Ale was his first beer he put in a can and it started strong and has won several accolades since its inception. Old Chub Scotch ale was their second beer in the line which had been rated the top Scotch Ale by Beer Advocate and received a medal at GABF this year. Next is G'Knight their Imperial Red ale (also known as Gordon) and Mama's Lil Yella Pils which comes in 6pk cans and also new in 2009. They also have two premium beers that come in 4pk cans GUBNA Imperial IPA and 10 Fidy Imperial Stout. These both run $16.99 for 4pks but are well worth the extra change.
10-Fidy is the seasonal release that just came out and we were lucky enough to get a small keg of it for The Nova and it tastes great this year. In recent years it has been a little hot but this year it is ready to drink. It has thick, black almost oily pour with a nice mocha head that turns into creaminess fit for a mustache. On the first sip you get that intense roast that coats your mouth like a fine port. With hints of chocolate and tobacco this would pair fantastic with some chocolate or lets be real I would drink this with just about anything but it's really nice when it's snowing out, it keeps you warm at 10.5%.
OB's is one of my favorite breweries and who can turn down a great craft beer in a can and I can't wait until their new Deviant IPA comes out after winning a Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival. This beer should be available in 16oz cans in the next few months. Keep your eyes peeled.