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Anchor Brewing Brekle's Brown


People often overlook Anchor Brewing when talking about the modern craft brew world, but were it not for Fritz Maytag the beer market in America would look very different than it does today.  Brekle's Brown is Anchor Brewing's tribute to Gottlieb Brekle, who in 1871 bought the saloon in San Francisco's Russian Hill district that later became the genesis of Anchor Brewing.

As far as the beer is concerned, it's a brown ale that pours a nice dark reddish amber color with a decent head.  If you had to sum this beer up in one word, it would be "malty".  This is a very malty sweet brew, with only a hint of Citra hops to brighten things up a bit.  If you were trying to teach someone new to the beer world what the definition of malty is, this would be a great beer to use as an example.  Though while malty, this isn't a very thick beer, so it would work much better as a session beer than a thicker malty porter or something of that sort.  The 6% abv is perfect here, as it would be tempting to have a few of these if you found it in your local bar.  

All in all, Brekle's Brown isn't anything truly amazing, but it is a good solid beer that I have no complaints about.  



Bear Republic Racer X


If you've spent any time in the Bay Area, odds are you've had a Racer 5 or two.  This quintessential west coast IPA has followers all over the area, not to mention all over the US.  Well once a year Bear Republic offeres of an intensified version of this brew that they like to call Racer X.  

Put simply, this is a Racer 5 with a higher ABV (8.3%) than Racer 5 and more hoppy resiny notes than the original.  In a way, I see this as Bear Republic's answer to Russian River's Pliny the Elder.  If you like big brash double IPA's, this is one worth trying.  I've seen it on tap at the Toronado a few times, and I'm lucky enough to live in San Francisco where it can be had in corner stores, but outside of here I suspect it's much harder to come by.  If you come across it, buy one without hesitation. 



Stone Double Bastard Ale


Those that know me well know I'm a huge fan of Stone brewing.  There are those in the beer world that claim they're a one trick pony, but if that were the case I maintain that they wouldn't have the fan base and staying power in the brewing world that they've exhibited.  For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, Stone brewing is famous for brewing big brash beers and for doing so since before it was popular to do so.  The beer I'm drinking this evening, Double Bastard Ale, is essentially their Arrogant Bastard Ale product turned to 11.    

This is a man's beer (though I know plenty of awesome beer loving women who would love it).  When drinking Double Bastard, Edward Teach (Blackbeard) comes to mind, in that this would be a beer that a man who lit his beard on fire when he went into battle would cherish.  Part of that is obviously inspired by Stone's brilliant marketing, but after a swig or two, you realize that the marketing is in response to the beer and not the other way around.  

Probably the most aromatic beer than I can think of, and pours wito h an decent head.  Flavors are strong and run from sweet, to bitter, to boozy, to grassy, to hoppy, and son.  Suffice to say there's a lot going on with this beer, but it all comes together well.  It makes no attempt to hide the 10.5% abv and in this case that's a good thing.  This is a beer that inspirers one to go pillaging and marauding. 

In closing, I could say a lot about Double Bastard, but probably the best endorsement that I can give it is while I always have a wide selection of beers aviliable in my fride, Double Bastard and Arrogant Bastard are two beers that I always make a point of having on hand.



Deschutes Green Lakes Organic Ale

Pours a nice clear reddish color with minimal head that doesn't stick around. Much sweeter I expected, with floral notes, and a bitter finish. This will sound strange but theres almost a vague jolly rancher undertone in there. An inoffensive easy drinking beer that would be good a good choice when you don't want anything too strongly flavored, but would like a notch up from a pilsner in the flavor department.


Heretic Brewing Shallow Grave Porter

Pours with a great head that sticks around. Malty and sweet without being cloying. Nice toasty grain base and very balanced. If you like porters, it's worth a try.

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