Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bear Republic Cafe 15 Racer

type: double IPA
origin: Cloverdale, CA
price: $8/22oz
ABV: 9.75%
NSP: 7.9

Does Bear Republic have a new facility in Cloverdale?  Probably not -- I've had the blinders on for a while, and didn't realize they're a lot bigger than I thought.  Whatever, this is a badass DIPA.  It's big and juicy, and loaded with fruity hop action.  But there's still a deep bitterness to it, and although the malt base is on the heavy side, it's still very pleasant and not overdone.  Not much else to say here: it's a great all-around double IPA that's very nearly in the this-is-damn-near-a-triple-IPA-if-you-ask-me classification.  And just what the hell is a cafĂ© racer?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Brew Rebellion Amber Ann

type: imperial amber/red ale
origin: Yucaipa, CA
price: $9/22oz
ABV: 10.4%
NSP: 7.5

I wanted to publish on my birthday as a sign of respect to BR, because this reminds me of drinking Perdition: rough around the edges, but interesting and completely delicious.  There's a tremendous amount of complexity here -- as much as a nice barleywine might impart.  Raisins, molasses, and booooooze.  This is damn near the finest of this style I've ever had, although I can't say there've been many I can compare this too (that I can remember).  And it's purty.

If I'd complain at all it would be the alcohol wafting up my nose, and there's a little too much carb for the head-retention qualities.  Although, all that carb may be what keeps the ridiculous ABV in check when you're drinking it.  And, it was full of yeast dregs just churning away at the beer, which means it was probably a lot less carb'd when I bought it, and it's probably significantly stronger now after all those yeast-dumps.

These days it's become increasingly difficult to stick out from the competition.  But it's clear that these guys have tremendous potential, and a great deal of love for the craft.  When I tried their stuff at this year's North Park Festival of Arts, I was sold.  The quality of their bottled brew was the last check for me: these guys stick out like a sore thumb (in a good way), and are a welcome breath of fresh air.  What's interesting too is that they're apparently operating out of the back of Mexican market.  Pretty ironic, huh?
When your beer looks like an ice cream cone, you've got pretty good head retention.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mendocino 30th Anniversary Ale (Cascade single hop pale ale)

type: single-hop pale ale
origin: Ukiah, CA
price: $4/22oz
ABV: 7%
NSP: 11.4

What does it say about a brewery that after thirty years in the game, they decide to make a mildly boring single-hop pale ale?  Not sure, but emphasis on the boring.

Yes, the hop character is very one-note and Cascadian (Brats hates Cascade hops because their overused in the PNW).  Yes, the beer is malty, sweet, but it also tastes slightly metallic.  Good lacing, but not much aroma.  Whoop-dee-fucking-doo!

It seems the only thing that makes this reasonably unique is the ABV; but then again, Ballast makes a 7% hoppy lager in regular production that blows the goddamn lid off most hop-centric beers, including this.

I'm recommending you try this, if only because it's a great value, but I would say search for this like you would search for a shitty, faded tattoo-giving "artist." It's not that this beer is bad, but it's just not interesting, and certainly not worthy of a 30-year celebration other than perhaps after getting that old, shitty, faded tattoo lasered off your body.  No ragrets.

Still in the game after thirty years, BRO.