West coast style IPA’s have become all of the rage in recent years, and with some of them ranging from mildly hopped single IPA’s to smack you in the face, super hopped, giant Imperial IPA’s, there’s always something for everyone. However, for those looking for one of the most balanced, perfect example of the style, they may want to look for Alesmith IPA. As their brewery continues to expand and production continues to climb, be sure to look for it on your next visit to Der Biergarten in Sacramento, CA. Hailing from San Diego County, Alesmith has risen up the ranks as one of the premier breweries in one of the greatest beer cities in America, if not the world. The beer itself usually comes in 22 oz bottles, has no fancy name, no over-the-top fancy label, just super delicious beer. Coming in at 7.2% abv, the brew pours a very nice burnt-orange color with a nice white head. The aroma that escapes from the bottle or glass is that of citrus, and hints of pineapple or peach. It’s clear as can be, just upon a sniff of this stuff that it’s west coast IPA all the way. Enough of the sniffing and smelling though—now it’s time for the true test, the taste! Oh, it’s everything that you wish it would be, and more. It doesn’t completely smack you in the face with bitterness, but instead delivers a perfect balance of piney notes, some light maltiness, and overall just an incredibly delicious IPA. There’s nothing pretentious about this beer, and it’s clear from the way that it was brewed that the brewers were not trying to create some hop bomb that would destroy the taste buds. Fans of big, imperial IPA’s might be left a little unsatisfied with the amount of hops, but once they take a moment to admire more of the old-school brewing tradition of creating a perfect balance, they should really appreciate and enjoy this one. Alesmith is truly one of the master breweries that consistently churns out one great beer after another, and this one, the simple, straight-forward Alesmith IPA just may be their flagship beer.
With more than 140 breweries now in San Diego County, it’s difficult to single out any brewery in the area as the best of the best, but without question, one of the breweries that continues to stand out is Green Flash Brewing Company. The brewery, which opened back in 2002 is one of the staples of the community, and has delivered one amazing beer after another. As if that wasn’t enough, the recently acquired Alpine Beer Company from Alpine, CA. Also a mastery brewery, the combination of the two definitely puts them near the top of the list of best breweries. In recent years, the brewery has increased their output and production, and with another location set to open up in Virginia Beach, VA, this year, there’s no question that Green Flash beers will be available just about everywhere in the country. Green Flash is largely responsible for the explosion of the west coast IPA style throughout the country. Their India Pale Ale, simply named West Coast IPA is a heavily hopped brew that comes in at 93 IBU. It definitely attacks the taste buds, and delivers a high-dosage of hops and bitterness. If looking for a true, big and bold IPA, this will deliver a great example of the style. The great thing about Green Flash is that they’re constantly releasing special releases to go alongside their year round beers. In addition to the year round brews such as Soul Style IPA, 30th Street Pale Ale, Le Freak, and others, you should also look for a seasonal such as the 10.1% Green Bullet IPA, or the Jibe IPA, a simple session at 4.0%. As mentioned, they recently acquired Alpine Beer Company, so if you are fortunate to secure anything from Alpine, they are definitely worth trying. Their Nelson IPA reigns supreme in their lineup, but others including Pure Hoppiness, Duet, or the rare Exponential Hoppiness are all must-haves. If there’s one thing that can be said about Green Flashing Brewing Company, it is that you will be hard-pressed to find more consistently, well-executed beers. You may not like everything that they brew, as their styles can be far and wide, but it is clear that they know how to brew a good, solid beer. Next time you’re sitting at Der Biergarten in Sacramento, CA, be sure to look over the menu for something from one of these breweries. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!
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Midtown has a new home for foam at Der Biergarten, the long-delayed open-air beer destination that served up its first official brews over the weekend at 24th and K streets.
Local hopheads can try one of 32 draft beers and munch from a food menu of sausages, hot dogs, pretzels, salads and “Belgies”—ham sandwiches on waffles brimming with esoteric extras like mustard, cream cheese or chipotle raspberry sauce. Visitors order from a tap house and kitchen converted by owner Sean Derfield from industrial-size shipping containers, and gather at rows of communal tables or among the boisterous, streetside crowd framed by heavy redwood rails.
And while the place thrums with couples and groups (and even some of their dogs; the establishment is pooch-friendly) from happy hour to closing time, Der Biergarten is both scene and sanctuary for true beer believers of any (legal) age. The selections split evenly between classic German offerings and excellent West Coast brews; one-liter steins of Hofbrau Dunkel and Weihenstephaner share table space with tall, blooming glasses of golden Erdinger and svelte, sumptuous pints of Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery in Oregon.
Choice beer picks include the Alt-Bier from Redlands-based Hangar 24 Brewery as well as Der Biergarten’s house blonde ale crafted by Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka and Buffalo Lager from Sacramento’s own New Helvetia Brewing Co. On the food side, the decadent DerFinator—a cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped, BBQ sauce-doused hot dog delivered on a bun slathered with cream cheese, red onions and Der Biergarten’s “secret garlic sauce”—is a must for meat-lovers, while vegetarians won’t go hungry with options like the hearty pretzel (served with mustard and cheese sauce) or cucumber salad with vinegar and dill dressing.
Der Biergarten is open seven days a week from 3 p.m.-10 p.m., weather permitting (“If it’s raining we are closed,” its website announces up front). Browse the full beer list and more atbeergardensacramento.com. For more on the local beer scene, pick up the February/March issue of Sactown Magazine for our complete Beer Lover’s Guide to Sacramento. Find a location near youhere.
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