I only had time for one taste at Pacific Coast Brewing Company in Oakland, California. The Mermaid’s Revenge, a Belgian triple, was a strong, sweet and spicy beer.
I stopped very briefly at Cellarmaker Brewing Company in San Francisco, California. The tasting room is a really neat industrial space. I enjoyed the Admiration IPA which is an excellent west coast IPA. I would have liked to have spent more time here but other responsibilities prevented that.
I stopped in at the Drake’s Brewing Company Barrel House back in June of 2013. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what beer I enjoyed at that time. However, Drake’s recently brought several of their beers to a conference social event and I enjoyed a few of them. The first one I tried was the Denogginizer Imperial IPA. This is a bold, hoppy and malty beer that really packs a punch. The next one I tried is the Jolly Rodger Imperial American Black Ale. This was both smooth and crisp. And, finally, I tried the Drakonic Imperial Stout which was smooth and creamy with a flavor of coffee and chocolate. A great way to end the evening.
I had the opportunity to tour Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, California twice. The first time was in December of 2012 and the second time was today. This time I was joined by a good friend and business colleague. He graciously joined me when another good friend and business colleague was unable to tour with me due to changing job responsibilities. Taking a brewery tour with a friend is much more fun that on my own. This tour starts with a great history lesson. Anchor Steam Beer gets its name from the way in the past the brewer used the cool night air in San Francisco to cool the beer in vats on the roof and steam would rise from the beer. That’s just one tidbit. I’d recommend this tour to anyone interested in craft beer and beer history. And, of course, I enjoyed tastes of several of their beers which were generously poured by the tour guide. Rather than detail each one I’ll comment on Liberty Ale which was the first IPA brewed in the US (according to the tour guide) which is a solid, if understated, IPA but is smooth enough to drink several glasses. The more recent addition of Anchor IPA is a hoppier IPA and also very enjoyable. Both satisfied my desire for hops. I will also point out that the fine folks from Anchor Brewing also participated in the conference social event we were in town for and shared their beers with the participants. Oh, and if you haven’t tried Anchor Christmas Ale I recommend that as well. It’s a darker beer with holiday spices. The recipe changes slightly each year. It comes in a large bottle which is perfect to bring to a Christmas party.
I stopped in the Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur, California. I just had to try the Raspberry Trail Ale and although it’s not particularly my style I did enjoy it. It was light and bready with a distinct flavor of raspberry. Then I tried the Altar Boy Belgian style pale ale which tasted like a fruity Belgian ale. I also sampled the Mt Tam Pale Ale which is their flagship and turned out to be a smooth, solid pale ale. And, finally, I tried Earl which is an Imperial IPA. This was rich and heavy, malty and hoppy.
I stopped in at the Mill Valley Beerworks in Mill Valley, California and tasted a few of their beers. Manzanita is a red ale with a smoky flavor almost like barbeque. I really enjoyed this beer. The New IPA tasted like grapefruit to me which is one of the reasons like I like IPA so much. Great beer. The Villager IPA was more mild with understated hops characteristics. Finally, Lobos was a double IPA that was strong and rich, dark and heavy, malty and hoppy. This was a complex beer that I saved for last and am glad I did. Mill Valley Beerworks is a really neat place. I would have enjoyed staying for a meal which I’m sure would have been fabulous but I needed to move on.
I stopped in at Triple Rock Brewing Company in Berkeley, Califonia and tasted two of their beers. Red Rock Ale is a combination of malty caramel and bitter hoppiness – very good. IPAX is a west coast IPA that would satisfy and hop head’s tastebuds – like mine. Oh, and they offer a great menu but I wasn’t able to grab a meal this time. It ws a great spot to stop for a beer and looks like a great place to have lunch or dinner as well.
I made a quick stop into Elevation 66 Brewing Company in El Cerrito, California. What a great neighborhood hangout feeling. It made me wish I lived nearby. I tried a sample of the East Bay IPA which had a solid hoppiness with just the right bite. Again, something I’d be a regular for if I lived in the area.
At the Triple Voodoo Brewery and Taproom I enjoyed small samples of four beers. The first one I tried was Breaka’ Dawn, a Belgian inspired pale ale which was smooth and malty. The next beer was Anarchy IPA which both smelled and tasted of hops with a solid bite. Third, I tried the Inception Belgian golden ale which is their flagship beer. Belgian style beers are growing on me and this one was very good. And finally I saved the King Leopold Belgian stout for last. This stout is brewed with both malt and oats and is smooth and rich. The taproom has an artsy industrial feel to it and was pleasant to relax and enjoy the beers.
I stopped in at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company in Half Moon Bay, California just to sample their beers. For starters, what a beautiful location. My pictures don’t do it justice. Sitting inside or outside with a meal and/or drinks and enjoying that view is well worth the experience. The food looked good as well. I tried the Princeton-By-The-Sea IPA which was really tasty. This beer is brewed with seven varieties of hops which is obvious based on the number of varied hop tastes with each sip. It is also brewed with a sweet malt which cuts some of the hop bite. I also tried the Amber Ale which is an award-winning beer. This beer is brewed with four different malts and has a rich sweet flavor. And, I tried the Tunnel Vision IPA. This beer has a strong bite to it and uses experimental hops. Definitely a winner for a hop head like me.