Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pacific Coast Brewing Co.

Checked out Pacific Coast Brewing Co. in Oakland today. Had a Northwest feel to it with brick walls and big windows, complete with nautical artwork throughout. Loren thought it was more Boston, although he's never been to Portland or Seattle, and I've never been to Boston, so that basically makes him wrong and me right.

Newton kicked it off with a Racer X--claimed it was two times as good as Racer V, and promptly called Joe L to taunt him. About the beer: "mmmmmm... very herbal, slightly citrusy; tastes like happiness." It had an exquisite color- the late-afternoon sun beamed through the half-oblong copa, radiating a deep brownish red glow. The beauty of a good amber.

Loren stepped up with the sampler--a brilliant move. I don't even know where to begin describing his selection. Colorful would be one way. One of the beers, the Emerald, was crystal clear and a deep bronze. The clarity and hue bore resemblance of a precious gem. It was pleasant to the taste. Loren's reaction: "Wow. Slightly medicinal and alcoholic, but in a good way." Newton detected a spiciness, while Loren's second go round detected a similarity to apple.

I went with the cask brew of the day... the Millenium IPA. Definitely fruity, warmer than almost any beer I've ever had fresh from the tap (too warm, in fact). Had the essence of butter toffee, or perhaps honeysuckle. I enjoyed it, but I don't think I'd have another on the same day.

Random thought: we're thinking we need to go around and smell some hops and barley to re-orient our beer senses.

Also tried the Blue Whale Ale... overall a great beer. Hoppier than the millennium, a real beer taste.

Brendan's selection was a strong, dark pour. "Perfect size, perfect beer, perfect everything"--the Leviathan Russian Stout.

My final beer was the Gray Whale. The color was slightly lighter than the blue whale, but not quite as clear. Similar to the Millennium in flavor, but not as fruity. Well balanced and worthy of another round, but not today.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lanesplitter Redux

Sure as school's back in session, we're back at Lanesplitter. We've got a good crew here today, the Joes, Newton, Loren and myself. We all finished a midterm today, so we thought it the perfect occasion for a Haas Beer Industry Club meeting of the minds [read: happy hour]. I talked up the LS enough after the last outing to compel Newton into an "incredible craving" for a return visit. So here we are.

As per, my first selection was the cask conditioned variety. Afternoon Bitter Brew from Moonlight in Santa Rosa. It didn't have the head of a quality cask pour, but it was the perfect temperature. It had a beautiful amber hue and went down smooth as velvet. Seavey also went with the Bitter Brew, and thought it, well, it left him speechless.

Newton crashed the party with a big ol' pitcher of Russian River Damnation, a Belgian Ale. It had a citrus aroma, light in color, with a nutmeg yeasty overtone. Lazar felt it had a well-balanced hoppiness.

Anderson Valley Belks ESB was next up for me. It was the lightweight cousin to the more mature Boondt Amber, one of my all-time favs. A delicious beer, great medium color and a crisp, refreshing flavor. Definitely would recommend this brew.

Loren went for the Death and Taxes, and described it as dark, like tax day. He spoke of a hint of coffee with a definite bite. Newton detected a whiff of molasses, and his taste this time around improved upon a previous memory.

Loren enjoyed a Porter... Iron Springs--I detected a touch of chinese herbs. It was certainly a strong porter.

My last selection was from Bear Republic, a brewery in Mendocino. It had a rich deep color... like the study of a railroad tycoon. I would definitely drink this beer again; it was hearty at 7%+ but not too intense.

We'll be hitting the Bears Lair for Days@Haas on Friday... I'm sure there will be a good beer or two to be had there...


Pizza and Beer (hold the pizza)

One of the best spots in Berkeley for pizza and good beer is Lanesplitter Pizza and Pub. Over spring break Sleave and I headed out to the location on San Pablo (you'd never know it's there unless you were looking for it) and enjoyed several regional delights. My first inclination is usually to go for whatever is on nitro, or cask conditioned. Cask conditioned beers are usually so smooth you don't even know your drinking them. Another thing I don't mind about them is they are usually a touch warmer than most draughts. Call me crazy but it just tastes right.

The first sampling was the Russian River on the cask. It was hoppy, and actually a bit cold. It was light in color, and had a nice head, typical of most brews on nitro. A great start to the evening.

My second offering was a Santa Rosa lager called Death and Taxes... apparently there's a 65 yr old dude that crafts his own and sells it to some of the local establishments. It was dark, but refreshing. Don't know that I'd have it again (of course that's a relative phrase), but delicious nonetheless.

Next up was Twist of Fate... It had a mild hoppiness, and I would characterize it as malty, kind of like a red--actually it was reasonably red in color. It gave off a hint of sweet hops but I wouldn't say it was a sweet beer. Joe described it as somewhat like bbq sauce. It smells faintly like a stout, like a light stout, or a thin stout. All these beers we've had are complex--fun to drink and challenging to describe. They've definitely been serious beers; beer club beers.

I had a sample of Joe's Scotch Ale... it was sweet meaning sweet not sweet meaning neat.

My last beverage was a Drake's Blonde. A perfect beer to end on; mostly light yet flavorful. Floral, really. Almost a breakfast drink, but still a quality beer.

So I highly recommend Lanesplitter, if you're hungry the pizza will do the trick, but I'd go there more for the beer.