Wednesday, May 6, 2015

PUBlication: Boonville Review

Boonville became a beer mecca on May 2nd as it does every year, by hosting perhaps the best beer fest in the west. This event is pretty much a can't miss (I did miss last year due to a wedding). Each time I've attended it's been a blast—even that time I was mangled the morning after. This year I was far more adult. Agent M and I set up camp while mentally and physically priming ourselves for mass ale consumption, we did well on this front. With a good crew of friends nearby and my younger cousin, who was a first-timer, it felt familiar yet exciting. There were seven breweries that I had to hit. I only missed one, Oakshire out of Oregon. So without rambling too long I'll get into my favorites and skip writing about those that didn't live up to my hype. 

My first of the day was an Easy Jack session IPA from Firestone Walker—I'd had it before and I'll have it again. It's one of the best session IPA's out there. It's dry hopped with a global array from North America, Europe and New Zealand. 4.5% | 45-50 IBU

Next up and a few tents away was Ballast Point, father of the Sculpin. I've had plenty of their magical suds and still had never had Grapefruit Sculpin*** on draught. The nose was even more citric and fresh. I can't believe how good this beer is. It has ascended into my all-time desert-island list. Already a darling in the bottle, on tap it's even more fragrant. With, if you can believe it, a smoother finish. Hopping an ale along five stages does produce something unique—the gold-medal standard for fruit infused IPA's. 7% | 70 IBU 

Drakes puts out a great line of beer. I've found most of their stuff to be on point. One particular session of theirs I'd never tasted was the Alpha Session IPA. It had a nuttiness up front, but it was the crazy good aftertaste that encouraged me to get another one immediately. Multiple hop varietals and 2-row barley create this delicate yet fierce limited seasonal session. 3.8% | 50 IBU

Rubicon is representing the capitol city quite nicely. Having been acquainted with the Hop Sauce, I knew they could kick out an awesome IPA. At Beer Fest I wanted to dive into something new from them. I went for the Monkey Knife Fight (great name). I'll be looking to pick up the Knife Fight whenever I can. Mount Hood hops are used initially and then dry hopping occurs later with Cascade hops. 5.4%

Faction also brought the heat. As far as pale ale's go, this was one of the two best, more on that note later. Simply named the Faction Pale Ale***, this beast epitomizes the west coast influence on being hop forward. The medley of hops dictate all the action up front. The finish is so smooth. That's all I kept saying, "smooth." Considerable amounts of Simcoe, CTZ and Mosaic hops produce the profile. 5.2% | 45 IBU 

The best "Kölsch" of the day, or any day for that matter, belongs to Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. They were new to me and won me over. They two dudes manning the tent were also super friendly and knowledgeable, one of them was a brewer. The FMB 101*** is Kölsch inspired, fermented like an ale and cold-conditioned like a lager. Straight delicious. 4.8% | 20 IBU

Berryessa Brewing Company creates some damn fine beer, they were also one of my two favorite breweries of the day (the other is below). Keep in mind I was frequenting brewers that were new to me or hard to get locally. The brew master at Berryessa is a Washingtonian who set up shop in the small town of Winters. As for double IPA's, Double Tap*** was the finest I tasted in Boonville. 8.5% | 70+ IBU

Berryessa's other libation was a Session Saison, which was phenomenal. There was a mellow sweetness mingling in the foggy body, with slight notes of banana and tangy citrus. 4%

Pizza Port was one of the two breweries I wanted to taste from the most. The other shall remain nameless. As mentioned earlier, I had two favorite pale's, The Ladies Man*** was the other. An assortment of citrus fruits came through first, then a mix of floral memories. Not too bitter and good on the back end. Being on the pale ale train was rewarding. 5.7%

Pizza Port was also offering a blonde. I'm pretty sure it was Revelation, sorry for the lack of certainty. It was Belgian styled and banana was prevalent, which I like. Thanks for pouring. 8.5%


*** denotes favorite beers | underlined denotes favorite breweries

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