Friday, October 24, 2014

What ALES You?

The Great American Beer Festival wrapped up not too long ago and a couple of the winners are close enough to visit, at least over the course of a weekend. With craft beer continuing to grow, almost everyone can now enjoy a cold one from their own neck of the woods. Those of us in northern California are obviously blessed with an abundance of amazing high-end oat sodas and barley pops. 

The next time I'm headed to Tahoe I'll try and blast over to Reno in order to hit up Brasserie Saint James, awarded best mid-sized brewpub and brewer of the year. Showing good taste, Saint James tends to brew a broader range of ales, going against the grain of the west coast's hop obsession. The Pils De Resistance is a lager fermented near freezing temperatures. They produce a Kolsch inspired by a performance at the Cologne Opera House, the Köln Concert. Daily Wages is a traditionally brewed, herbaceous Saison, which won gold for best French/Belgium Saison. And for the warmth of the golden hour there's California Steamin'.  It's only 5.5% and has a surprisingly low IBU of 39, considering they use four different hop varietals. Not only do they create quality beer, their menus look amazing too.  

Long Beach has the other approachable winner. Beachwood BBQ and Brewery may need to update their website (eek), but apparently their crushing it where it counts. Beachwood was named best large brewpub and brewer of the year. Mocha Machine took the gold for best coffee beer and Un Atout won silver behind Saint James in the Saison category. Beer and barbecue is always a good combination. Hopefully I'll make it down to the LBC. Until then I'll be on the look out for these and others while perusing the beer aisle or at the bar of a good tap room. Cheers.


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