Red, White, and Brews
Although Independence Day is the highest-volume day for serving beer, sales start peaking after Memorial Day for a reason. Ahead of summer, breweries start rolling out their most quaffable styles. There’s something for hop heads, mega hop heads, and a few who lean toward the malt side.
Fortem 8.2% | From the hop meisters in Central California comes this new expression of what a mélange of Washington’s Yakima Valley hops and Germany’s Hallertau-grown hops can do to create a robust, unfiltered imperial IPA teeming with fruit cocktail notes atop a firm malt body.
Pacific Rain Pale Ale 5.4% | We’re seeing some return to classic styles and nothing’s more characteristic of this trend than American pale ale. Even with the additions of nouveau hop varietals like Citra, Simcoe, and Mosaic, the Nugget hops prevail with a weedy flavor embellished by near rye spiciness. Pairs with either a steak sandwich or a roasted beet and chevre panini.
Loral Crush, 6.2% | New England is the buzz word, and style, for IPAs—and that means beers like this one burst with citrus or stone fruit notes (in this beer's case, you’ll find peaches, nectarines, and tangerines with a cloud of perfume), while appearing opaquely opalescent thanks to flaked oats and wheat in the grain bill. This has ceviche written all over it.
Flesh & Blood IPA, 7.5% | Also hot and buzzing now are citrus-infused IPAs. When centrist grapefruits and oranges didn’t slice it for off-centered Dogfish Head, they turned to blood oranges and lemon peel (flesh) to tart up this brash hop-forward IPA with citrus-accented hops such as Centennial and Citra. A rare dessert IPA, this beer counterbalances sorbet or orange honey cake.
Cetacea Saison with Szechuan Peppercorns 6.5% | The spiciness in this saison is, as it should be, derived from a Belgian strain of yeast, and the Szechuan peppercorns are there just to add a complimentary kick that’s more sharp and citrusy than spicy. This beer’s custom-brewed for a cheese board.
Citradamus IIPA 9.5% | On top of the viscous body that creates this 9.5 percent imperial IPA and the mounds of sticky Citra hops, the trifecta is completed with orange peel. The result is a sultry sauce that could almost be a reduction for duck a l’orange.
Milk Stout 6% | As delicious and silky smooth as their milk stout on nitro version is, there’s something to be said for the scrubbing bubbles of carbonation in a stout like this, which lets the more astringent roast flavors through. Instead of a creamy milk shake this is all milk stout. Partners with braised short ribs.
Hopworks Urban Brewery
Organic Wave Train Amber Ale 5.4% | “Vienna-style” has always been reserved for lagers (Mexican lagers like Negra Modelo, historically), but Hopworks has taken that medium dark-toast flavor and painted it onto an ale. It’s slightly less dry, but still goes nicely with a plate of tacos al pastor.