Midtown Monthly Beer Issue Reviews

We are very pleased and honored to be featured in the issue of Midtown Monthly that is on newstands now.  To highlight the upcoming Sacramento and San Francisco Beer Weeks, we did tasting notes for beers from four local (and local-ish) brewers – Sacramento’s Track 7 and Ruhstaller, San Leandro-based Drake’s, and the Auburn Alehouse.  One of the most exciting things about the current brewing renaissance going in the Sacramento area is seeing local beers for sale at local stores, and all of the beers we reviewed for MidMo are available at places like Taylor’s Market, the Pangaea Bottle Shoppe, the Davis Bottle Shoppe, or even Whole Foods and BevMo.  We decided not to put star ratings on our MidMo reviews in order to encourage you to get out there during Sacramento Beer Week (February 24 – March 4) and sample some new brews for yourself.  Cheers!

PU240
(Auburn Alehouse)

8% ABV, 100 IBUs
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($6.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

His Notes:

This Imperial India Pale Ale tips the scales at 100 International Bittering Units (IBUs), and pours a brownish orange with a slight white head.  The strong nose contains butterscotch hard candy, tangerines, tropical fruits, and wet grass.  Honeyed sweetness greets you on the palette, but it’s all a smoke screen for the powerful hop punch waiting on the back end.  PU240’s hop bitterness is rooted more in zesty citrus (especially tangerines and grapefruits) than oily pine, and it’s less assaultive than you might think.  There is little in the way of complexity or surprises here, but if the goal was to create a mouth-puckering Imperial IPA for hop-hounds, then PU240 is a definite success.

Her Notes:

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Drakonic Imperial Stout
(Drake’s Brewing)

8.75% ABV, 40 IBUs
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($6.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

His Notes:

San Leandro-based Drake’s brews this sublime imperial stout, which pours an impenetrable onyx with a thick, cola-style head that features dancing ruby highlights.  The nose is strong with dark chocolate, fresh coffee beans, and old oak.  Drakonic has a powerful yet never bullying taste that mixes artisan chocolate and roasted coffee beans, throws in some yeasty wood and dark berry notes, and tops it off with the warming glow of alcohol.  This masterpiece of a beer is knock-you-out strong but extremely nuanced, seemingly stimulating different taste buds with each new sip.  You can purchase Drakonic locally in 22 oz. bottles, or head to Drake’s Barrel House in San Leandro for one of their barrel-aged versions.

Her Notes:

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Daylight Amber Ale
(Track 7 Brewing)

6.25% ABV
Purchased at Track 7 Brewing ($4/16 oz. serving) and poured into pint glasses.

His Notes:

New kid in town Track 7 Brewing serves this tasty amber ale, which pours a cloudy orange with a minimal white head.  It smells of peaches, citrus, grass, pungent hops, and baked bread, and the taste is dry and honeyed, with a creeping bitterness that settles in as the golden nectar fades.  Daylight Amber has a biscuit-like crispness that’s similar to a Widmer’s Drop Top, or a less aggressively malted Fat Tire.  Malt flavor is ever-present here, but it’s not annoying, and is balanced well with mild citrus fruit notes, especially oranges and grapefruits.  Daylight Amber is drinkable and unpretentious, but the lingering hop flavor lends it a surprising complexity.

Her Notes:

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1881 (Ruhstaller)

5.6% ABV, 35 IBUs
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($7.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

His Notes:

Former Sacramento Brewing/Odanata brewer Peter Hoey returns with Ruhstaller 1881, a “California style red ale” with several ties to Sacramento beer history.  It pours a transparent light brown much like the color of iced tea, and comes with a tight off-white head.  1881 smells of an open-air forest, all wind-swept pine and wafting orchard fruits.  A touch of rich sweetness on the front end quickly gives way to the pine needle hops and fresh lemon flavors.  This beer has the full-on hop assault and citrus notes of a west coast IPA, but it’s modified by the tangy-smoky malt and the earthiness of the barley. The mouth-coating finish is long-lasting and the aftertaste is bitterer than expected given the relatively low IBU count.

Her Notes:

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