Beer-a-Day

Expanding my beer horizons daily.

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Beer 392 - Triple Rock’s Proper Lunch

My favorite brewpubs are the ones that when I visit, they always seem to have something new and different to try. While I understand that it is important to have a consistent set of year round brews, for too many brewpubs those beers account for too much of their taplist. This is not without exception though, and one such exception is Triple Rock. Their newest beer is an IPA called Proper Lunch and here is what I thought of it.

The beer pours a slightly hazy golden-orange with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing. The aroma is a mix of grapefruit, citrus, grassy, pine, and spicy hops with some caramel and biscuit malts. Nice and danky as promised.

The beer hits the tongue with some grapefruit and tropical hops with some bitterness and some sweet caramel malts. Through the middle, the pine, grassy, and lightly spicy hops come through with some more lightly resiny bitterness and some biscuit malts. The finish is a mix of grapefruit, pine, and grassy hops, bitterness, and sweet, lightly bready malts. It feels medium bodied with moderate carbonation. It feels smooth with a dry, bitter, and lightly sweet finish.

I am really impressed with the quality of all of the recent new brews from Triple Rock. My beer interest is deeply rooted in the variety of beer available and continually trying different things. In this regard, Triple Rock is one of my favorite breweries in the Bay Area. I just hope they keep coming up with some more new and interesting brews.

Beer 391 - High Water’s Rio d’Oro

I am always very excited when I see a new brew from High Water on the shelves. Pretty much everything from them has been fantastic from some great IPAs and some awesome barrel aged stuff. So here is the newest offering from High Water, a Belgian Strong Pale Ale called Rio d’Oro.

This label on this one goes along the same lines as the past beers from High Water with only the color changing. No reason to stop when you have a good brand image. The beer pours a clear golden-orange color with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing. The aroma is a mix of caramel and pilsner malts with lemon zest and citrus hops, coriander, banana, clove, and other Belgian yeast smells.

The beer starts off with a mix of pilsner and caramel malts with some citrus hops, coriander, and clove. Through the middle some floral hops come through with some mild bitterness alongside more Belgian yeast flavors including some banana, more spices, and some other farmhouse esters. The finish is mix of caramel and pilsner malts, Belgian yeast esters, and spices. It feels medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. If feels smooth with a dry and estery finish.

Here is another solid offering from High Water. It stays fairly close to the style of a Belgian Strong Pale Ale with a more yeast forward character. That being said, it retains good overall balance with the body and malts balancing out the yeast flavors.

Beer 390 - Triple Rock’s Stable Boy

Triple Rock is really doing some interesting things lately. Lately we have gotten two session beers, one of which was a GABF Pro-Am entree, and now we get a Dunkelweizen. Dunkels are one of my favorite types of lagers (just behind Weizenbocks), and it is not a style that you see often from American Breweries, so it is great to see Triple Rock taking a shot at the style. Without any more rambling on, here is Triple Rock’s Stable Boy.

The beer pours a dark murky brown color with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing. The aroma is a mix of wheat, caramel, and bready malts with some brown sugar, banana, clove, other spices, and a touch of dark fruit. So far a pretty good take on the style.

The beer starts off with a mix of sweet wheat and caramel malts with some clove and a bit of dark fruit. Through the middle, some banana and more spices come through with some bready malts and a bit of brown sugar. The finish is a mix of sweet caramel and bready malts with some banana, clove, and a hint of dark fruit. It feels medium bodied with fairly mild carbonation (mine came from a growler, so maybe a bit more carb from the tap). It feels smooth with a sweet and estery finish.

Kudos to Triple Rock here for making a solid, traditional Dunkelweizen. Far too often we see American breweries take on various Lager style beers, and completely drain them of some of the major characteristics (for example, American Wheat compared to a traditional Hefeweizen). The yeast flavors and esters that are a part of the Dunkel style are in this one, and make for a good, balanced example of a style we need to see more of around these parts.

Beer 389 - Triple Rock’s 2nd Breakfast

I am really digging the resurgence of the session beer category. With more releases in the style, your options are becoming much more plentiful for beers that you could have a couple off and still wake up without feeling it. The most recent example of the style that I enjoyed was a new release from Triple Rock. This was was an English Style Brown Ale called 2nd Breakfast, and here is what I thought of it.

The beer pours a dark ruby-brown with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing. The aroma is a mix of sweet caramel and bready malts with some fruity English yeast, and some nuttiness. Really nice English elements here and it is clear this even though this is on the lighter side, it is far from empty.

The beer starts off with a mix of sweet caramel malts with some dark fruit English yeast flavor and a touch of bitterness. Through the middle, some nuttiness come through with some bready malts and a bit more English yeast character. The finish is a mix of sweet bready malts with some nuttiness, dark fruit, and English yeast. It feels a tad shy of medium bodied with moderate carbonation. It feels smooth with a sweet and lightly bitter finish.

This was another great release from a brewery that seems to really be getting it right. Ever since taking over, Triple Rock’s new brewer Jeff has been keeping up the expectations and traditions from Rodger’s time of great beer and great variety. Hopefully, the new and different beers from Triple Rock keep on coming.

Beer 388 - Almanac’s Extra Pale Ale

Today’s beer is the other beer that was recently released as part of Almanac’s California Table Beer Series. This one is a Pale Ale that used Mandarin Oranges and American Oak. Similar to the Honey Saison, this one is available in 4 packs of 12 ounce bottles, a smaller and more affordable format that their previous releases. So here is Almanac’s Extra Pale Ale.

This label is pretty similar to the Honey Saison and retains all of the things I liked about that label. I really like the coloring on this one especially though, it really stands out to me. The beer pours a clear golden-orange with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing. The aroma is a mix of grapefruit, pineapple, and pine hops with citrus zest, sweet caramel malts, and some oak.

The beer starts off with a mix of grapefruit and citrus hops with some bitterness, orange zest, and sweet caramel malts. Through the middle, some pine and grassy hops come through with some more bitterness, some oak, and a touch of bready malts. The finish is a mix of sweet caramel malts, citrus zest, citrus and pine hops, bitterness, and some oak. It feels medium bodied with moderate carbonation. It is smooth with a dry and bitter finish.

I found myself really enjoying this one. The hop profile was really nice and accented well by the oranges. The overall balance was really spot on having a great balance of hops, malts, bitterness, and body. Definitely a beer you could have four of and not tire of.

Beer 387 - Alamanc’s Honey Saison

Recently, Almanac took a bit of a shift from their Farm to Barrel Series and released their first two beers in their California Table Beer series. Contrasting their previous releases, these beers are year-round releases sold in four packs of twelve ounce bottles. Lets see how they they stand up. Here is one of those beers, their Honey Saison.

The design on these bottles continues the great label design on the previous format from Almanac  The look is very clean while still being eye catching and attractive. The beer pours a clear golden-orange with a finger of frothy white head atop. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing. The aroma is a mix of sweet grains, honey Belgian yeast, lemon zest, coriander, some floral and citrus hops, and a touch of bread.

The beer starts off with a mix of sweet grains with some lemon zest and a bit of citrus, with some honey. Through the middle, some Belgian yeast comes through with some floral hops, a touch of bitterness, and a bit of pepper. The finish is a mix of sweet bready malts with some lemon zest, Belgian yeasts, and honey. It feels a bit lighter than medium bodied with moderate carbonation. It is smooth with a sweet, estery, and lightly spicy finish.

While still a solid Saison, this one did not quite stand out as did many of the previous Almanac beers did. I thought there was a bit too much honey sweetness that damaged the delicate balance of the Saison. Otherwise, this still serves as a solid table beer and provides a less expensive entry point to a fantastic local brewery.

Beer 386 - High Water’s Campfire Stout

When I first head the concept of the beer, I sort of did not believe that it would work. Basically a s’more of the beer world, brewed with marshmallows and graham crackers, it sounded like a beer that could so easily go awry during the implementation phase. Lets see how Steve from High Water did with his Campfire Stout.

I do not love High Water’s label but the color scheme works better than some of the others. The logo is still a bit pixelated, but the color scheme livens things up a bit. The beer pours a dark brown-black color with a finger of frothy khaki-chocolate head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing. The aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts, graham crackers, marshmallows, vanilla, a bit of smoke, and lactose.

The beer starts off with a mix of roasted chocolate malts, marshmallows, vanilla, and a bit of smoke. Through the middle, the graham crackers come through with some more smoke, and some milk chocolate. The finish is a mix of chocolate malts, a bit of smoke, graham crackers, and marshmallows. It feels medium bodied with moderate carbonation. It is smooth with a sweet and roasted finish.

While I was skeptical at first, this beer turned out to be really fantastic. It had so many of the rich characters of a s’more without taking things too far and still staying a beer. This is without a doubt one of those beers that the components come together to create something larger than a sum of their parts, and I recommend you go give it a shot.

Beer 385 - Stone’s Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans

Here is the third and final beer in this mini Stone Smoked Porter series. I am usually a big fan of vanilla beans in beer, so I made sure to save this one for last hoping that it would be the best of the bunch. Lets see how it holds up.

Again, there is not much new to say about the label here. Stone does a great job with labels and my only criticism ever is that for a label collector, these labels can be a bit of a bummer. The beer pours a dark brown-black with a finger of frothy khaki colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing. The aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts, smoke, and vanilla, with a bit of lactose sweetness and some light coffee.

The beer starts off with a mix of roasted chocolate malts with vanilla and a bit of smoke. Through the middle, the smoke and vanilla flavors get stronger with a touch of coffee and lactose. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate, vanilla, and smoke. It feels a bit heftier than medium bodied with moderate carbonation. It is smooth with a smokey and sweet finish.

Thankfully, this one did live up to my expectations. The vanilla really comes through nicely and blends really nicely with the smoked porter base. I feel the vanilla really gets highlighted a bit more than the peppers did, making this one my clear favorite. I hops Stone tries something like this again, since I really enjoyed these beers.

Beer 384 - Stone’s Smoked Porter with Chiplote Peppers

After getting a baseline impression of Stone’s Smoked Porter, it is time to move on to one of the variations. This variation added Chiplote Peppers to the mix. Hot and spicy ingredients can be a hit or miss thing in beer, easily being overpowered by the beer itself, or killing your palate with heat. Let’s see how this one turned out.

The label here is very similar to the normal Smoked Porter label with the addition of the peppers and on a smaller format bottle. The beer pours a dark brown-black color with a finger of frothy khaki colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing. The aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts and smoke, with some chipotle peppers and coffee.

The beer starts off with a mix of roasted chocolate malts with some smoke and some milk sweetness. Through the middle, the chili flavor and heat comes through a bit with a bit of roasted coffee and some more smoke. The finish is a mix of chocolate malts, chili pepper, a bit of heat, and some smoke. It feels a bit heavier than medium bodied with moderate carbonation. It is smooth with a sweet, hot, and smoky finish.

This beer fell somewhere in the middle of the chili beer range, and that is a good thing. The heat and spice was there and noticeable, but did not take away from the base beer flavor. The added heat was a nice addition, adding some complexity and depth to an already great Smoked Porter.

Beer 383 - Stone’s Smoked Porter

Stone recently released two different variations on their iconic Smoked Porter. Before getting to those, I thought it would be a good idea to get a baseline of what the regular (I was about to write vanilla, but that would be a bit confusing in this context) version was like to better highlight the two variations. So here is Stone’s Smoked Porter.

I really like Stone’s use of the clear labels and overall styling of their labels. Sure, some of the text can be a bit over the top, but that is Stone’s thing. The beer pours a dark brown black color with a finger of frothy khaki colored head. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some nice lacing. The aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts with some smoke and licorice, and a touch of coffee.

The beer starts off with a mix of roasted chocolate malts with some lactose sweetness and a bit of smoke. Through the middle, some licorice comes through with a bit of bitter coffee and a bit more smoke. The finish is a mix of smoke, roasted chocolate, some earthy hops, and a touch of lactose sweetness. It feels medium bodied with moderate carbonation. It is smooth with a roasted, sweet, and smokey finish.

This is really a fantastic version of a Smoked Porter, and the really great thing is that this is a year round beer. The balance here is pretty much spot on with the chocolate and other malty flavors and the smoke character. At the price that this one goes for, it has to be one of the best values in the Smoked Beer category.