Beer 511

Exploring the Craft Beer and Homebrew Scenes in Peru (Country Code 51) and the USA (Country Code 1)

Category: Beer Reviews (Page 1 of 3)

Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co. (Watsonville, CA)

Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co. is one of a growing number of breweries ringing the wide half-moon arc of Monterey Bay. Located in a semi-industrial neighborhood on the northern outskirts of Watsonville, it is a surprisingly cozy place given its surroundings.

There are several couches and armchairs arranged between the no-frills bar and the space given over to the 7-bbl brew-house, forming little nooks for patrons to sit at, drink, and talk.  There is clearly a sizeable corps of regulars and most seem to be on a name-basis with the servers. Moreover, the place is decidedly dog-friendly (servers even know the regulars’ dogs by name!).

The vibe is friendly and open.  In fact, I got to chatting with one of the regulars, a former cop named Dave, who, upon learning it was my first time at the brewery, insisted on buying a me few beers, so I could try some beyond the flight I had ordered.

The beers are quite enjoyable. A solid line-up.  Elkhorn Ale, a smooth, copper-colored, 6.7% abv California lager, and Pajaro Gold, a 5.9 ABV ale, seem to be their flagship beers. Both are admittedly nice, but I was drawn more to their selection of wilder brews.

Sucrosity is a “wild farmhouse wheat beer aged in Chardonnay barrels”. It is mildly sweet-tart, with notes of fruit and plum. It  checks in at 6.8% ABV.

Lemon Kush is a  Tequila barrel-aged sour-mashed “wild” lemon gose.  It has ample notes of citrus, with a touch of spice. 6.2% ABV.

My favorite, I’d have to say, was probably Green Jewel.  It is a 7.2%  ABV “barrel-aged wild sour blonde ale with Cannabis terpennes”.  Green Jewel is golden in color, light-bodied, with a mild tartness.

 

 

Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co.
65 Hangar Way, Unit D
Watsonville, CA

elkhornsloughbrew.com

Drake’s Aroma Coma 2x IPA

In July, San Leandro’s Drake’s  Brewing Company released their latest edition of Aroma Coma IPA.  The company sent me a sample bottle, along with a nifty branded glass to drink it in, which I found waiting for me upon my return from Peru.

The 2017 Aroma Coma is double IPA.  The brewery press release indicates that they have added more Citra hops and more rye malt and light caramel malt. The ABV has also been bumped up to 8.0%.

I found Aroma Coma 2x IPA to be intensely hoppy –as befits a double IPA– with citrus notes, particularly grapefruit and a touch of orange. It is malty, which helps balance the hoppiness.  It is a big beer, but not over-the-top in any regard, and is easy to drink. I’ve gotta say, I found it altogether pleasant and a lovely way to treat myself after the workday.

 

Tasty IPA

A little over a week ago 21st Amendment Brewery in San Leandro (CA) released the latest in its “Insurrection” series, an IPA brewed in collaboration with and named after homebrewer Mike McDole, aka “Tasty”.

As explained in the brewery’s press release:

At one point, Mike “Tasty” McDole was just a mild-mannered home brewer who stumbled into the universe of The Brewing Network, the premier multimedia website for brewers and beer lovers. A regular on the Network’s “Session” show, Tasty gained notoriety with advice to listeners that was 50% informative, 35% conversation and the remainder too inappropriate for this paragraph.

Today, Tasty’s legendary status among the craft beer community is trademarked by his award-winning home brew recipes and his signature caricature sticker, which you’ll find affixed at nearly every good beer place around the country. And so with great pleasure, and McDole’s personal sticker of approval, 21st Amendment Brewery presents a delicious collaboration, Tasty IPA, a beer that is rooted in friendship, created for the common love of home brewing and dedicated to the American beer beauty known as Tasty McDole.

Tasty is, of course, a regular at The Hop Grenade tap room and bottle shop in Concord, which is also home to the Brewing Network’s studio.   As it happens, Mike is also a longtime member of my homebrew club, the Diablo Order of Zymiracle Enthusiasts (DOZE), and a friend of mine.  A bunch of us DOZErs met him at the Hop Grenade on Monday night for Tasty IPA’s premiere on draught outside the brewery itself.

Tasty IPA is a 6.8% ABV, straw-colored IPA hopped with CTZ in the boil, and dry-hopped with Citra, Mosaic, and Ekuanot lupulin powder.  The aroma is crisp, with some citrus and pine, while there is some pine and fruits in the flavor.

The word “balanced” maybe gets overused, but in this case its use is warranted I think. Even though Tasty IPA clocks in at 70 IBUs, one would’d never guess it.  The hops don’t smack one in the face.  There is a pronounced bitterness, to be sure, but it plays nicely off the maltiness of the brew. It goes down really easily, believe me.

Tasty IPA is a really nice beer, and a fitting tribute to its namesake.

 

Maharaja India Pale Ale

Lima’s Cerveza Brewson has just released their latest creation: Maharaja IPA.

Maharaja is a 7.1% abv American-style IPA brewed with Mosaic, Centennial, Columbus and Citra hops.  It has a medium hop nose and bitterness.

Maharaja has a smooth mouthfeel and holds carbonation well. In appearance it is a light amber -perhaps around 10 SRM. It is a tasty, well-executed beer.

Cerveza Brewson is year-old craft brewery created by Rimson Lobo, a homebrewer turned nano-brewer from India who now lives in Lima.  Maharaja is Brewson’s third offering, following upon Sunshine Pale Ale and Garam Massala Belgian Dubbel.

Beer Review: Saca Tu Machete

I’m in Peru at the moment, and last night I went to the Barranco Beer Company‘s brewpub in Lima for the 2017 Saca Tu Machete release.

Saca Tu Machete is a 9% abv, 55 IBU, imperial stout brewed with algarrobina syrup, native limo hot peppers, and Tettnang, Chinook, and Columbus hops.

The beer is hearty without being “chewy” or cloying. There is some coffee in the nose and in the taste, as well as some chocolate and raisin notes –probably contributed by the algarrobina.  While there is no discernible alcoholic “heat”, the limo peppers provide a pleasing undertone of “warmth” throughout, but particularly at the back end, but without making the beer at all spicy.

Despite the relatively high hopping rate, Saca Tu Machete is not an overtly bitter beer. In fact, it is a bit sweet.  If you like dark beers and beers with a lot of flavor but without the bitterness of, say, an IPA, this is one to try.

The beer is available at Barranco Beer Company’s brewpub in Lima’s Barranco neighborhood (Av. Almirante Grau #308) on tap with nitrogen and in 24 oz. bottles.

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