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It's Time for Oktoberfest
Written by Mike Reis   
Friday, 25 September 2015 20:53

It's Time for Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest started 6 days ago--how many liters of lager have you drunk this year? if your answer is anything like mine, that number is disappointingly small. It's time to break out the bratwurst and start getting in the spirit of this legendary beer holiday. But why settle for the dusty, travel-worn bottles of last year's imported Oktoberfest at your grocery store? Michigan's North Peak Brewing Company makes a beautiful example, and we've got cases of it ready for your festive enjoyment right now.

It's a copper-colored, malty lager that is exceedingly food-friendly, as comfortable alongside those mustard and sauerkraut-covered sausages as it is with the roasted turkey and stuffing of your Thanksgiving dinner. It's got a wonderful balance of lightly-toasted, softly-caramelly malt richness and just enough hoppy bitterness to keep that malt character from overwhelming the drinker. It's a great example of the style.

BYO lederhosen.

Now available in 12 ounce bottles ($48.75/24x12oz).

Also available from North Peak:

Diabolical - An assertively hoppy, floral and pine-like IPA. Available in 12oz bottles.
Hooligan - An unusually-hoppy pumpkin ale with an underlying spiciness. Available in 12oz bottles and 1/6bbl kegs.
Majestic - A refreshing wheat ale built for the last sunny days of summer. Available in 12oz bottles  and 1/6bbl kegs.
Maylem - A sturdy, malt-driven English-style strong ale. Available in 12oz bottles.
Sinuous - A crisp, malty "Celtic ale" unlike anything else we carry. Available in 12oz bottles.
Siren - An extremely aromatic toasty and citrusy hoppy amber ale. Available in 12oz bottles  and 1/6bbl kegs.
Vicious - A pungent IPA built on a tangy and smooth wheat malt base. Available in 12oz bottles  and 1/6bbl kegs.
Wanderer - A rare balanced session IPA! Available in 12oz bottles  and 1/6bbl kegs.

Crushable Ciders of Character
Written by Mike Reis   
Friday, 25 September 2015 20:45

Crushable Ciders of Character

Austin, Texas' Argus Cidery makes bracing, intriguing ciders with in-your-face character derived from the cidery's choice of expressive fruit, ambient-yeast fermentations, and aging on oak. They are delicious ciders worthy of long, deep contemplations--not what we'd usually call "crushable."

Their new line, sold as Argus Fermentables, are absolutely crushable. Each at 4.5% ABV, their Ciderkin and Ginger Perry are built for affordable, sessionable satisfaction.

Ciderkin is a dry cider made from the reconstituted ground apples used to make Argus' bigger, stronger ciders. It retains the delicate aromatics and tannic bite of the fruit in a lighter, lower-alcohol package. Citric, stonefruity, and food-friendly.

Ginger Perry
An intensely-gingery pear cider inspired by spicy ginger beers. Wonderfully invigorating on its own, but also great as a mixing ingredient for your favorite gingery cocktails. Floral, spicy, dry, and drinkable.

Now available in 12 ounce bottles ($56.20/24x12oz).

Also available from our friends at Argus:

Perennial 2013 - A tart and aggressive, but well-balanced oaked dry cider made from Blaze, Cameo, Gala, Mutsu, and Jonathan apples. Now available in 750ml bottles.

Two New Ones from Gigantic
Written by Mike Reis   
Friday, 25 September 2015 20:35

Two New Ones from Gigantic

Setting up an order with Gigantic Brewing Company is always an exciting experience. They rarely make the same beer twice, and their explorations into the untrodden corners of the beer universe are always intriguing, if not totally revelatory.

Receiving an email with the subject line "Current Product Availability" always gets me a bit giddy with the anticipation of reading about the tasty new creations that await. Last week, my inbox was graced with information about two new beers, SOLID! and Ume Umai, each paired with eye-catching label art from two Japanese artists, Tsuyoshi Nigamushi and Yu Suda. These are lovely beers--perfect for this late-summer heat--and they're here in California for the first time.

Now available in 22oz bottles and 1/6bbl kegs:

SOLID! is a juicy wheat beer with insanely citrusy aromatics. Rumor has it, it was inspired by the cult-classic beer Gumballhead from Three Floyds. Whatever the inspiration, this stuff is bright, smooth, and packed with refreshment.

Ume Umai
Looking to elevate your sushi beer game? Look no further than Ume Umai. Taking cues from the "Japanese flavor palette," it's brewed with black rice and ume plums and fermented to full dryness. Don't expect a cloying sugar bomb--this is crisp and light in body, with a bright fruitiness from the plums and a subtle black rice earthiness.

Introducing: Snowdrift Cider Company
Written by Mike Reis   
Friday, 28 August 2015 23:15
Introducing: Snowdrift Cider Company

Our relationship with Snowdrift Cider Company started at Portland, Oregon's Bushwhacker cider pub. There we sat, glass in hand, wow'ed at what we were tasting in a room full of amazing cider. We wanted this stuff in California. Several dozen emails and a small handful of phone calls later, and here we are today: Snowdrift Cider Company is available in California for the first time.

We're really excited about this stuff. These folks are making wonderful ciders of deep character, largely from cider-specific apple and perry-specific pear varieties that they grow in their own orchards. Very few producers can say that, and the dedication from limb to bottle shows. Check them (and their beautiful bottles) out!

Now available:

A stunning cider made with Washington-grown English bittersweet cider apple varieties like Bramley, Yarlington Mill, and Bulmer's Norman. Delicate and light-bodied but well-structured with tannic texture.
Available now in 750ml bottles.

A blended cider that gains loads of complexity from rare bittersharp apple varieties and the charred whiskey barrels in which the cider they produce is aged. Deeply complex and satisfying stuff.
Available now in 750ml bottles and 1/6bbl kegs.

Red Cider
Made entirely from hard-to-find red-fleshed apple varieties, this pinkish cider is lush with flavors of watermelon, rhubarb, and summer berries.
Available now in 750ml bottles.

Seckel Perry
A well-rounded and smooth perry made from 100% Seckel pears. Rich and full, with flavors of coconut, toffee, vanilla, citrus, and spice.
Available now in 750ml bottles and 1/6bbl kegs.

Perry Reserve
Perry-specific pear varieties are extremely hard to come by in the United States, but the search is worth the reward. In the right hands, they can produce incredibly complex and satisfying drinks of unparalleled character. That's what you get with Snowdrift's Perry Reserve. Expect flavors of grapefruit and dried pear, with a subtle woodsiness.
Available now in 750ml bottles.

Ale + Cider + Punk Rock = Snakebite
Written by Mike Reis   
Friday, 21 August 2015 23:30

Ale + Cider + Punk Rock = Gigantic's Snakebite

Gigantic Brewing's Snakebite is the spirit of collaboration in liquid form.

It was conceived and created in partnership with Beau's All Natural Brewing from Ontario and the folks at Portland's Cider Riot, but that's just the beginning of the various displays of camaraderie that went into this beverage.

As a part of Gigantic's "Artist & Artisan" series, even the label represents a collaboration, bearing the work of
Edward Colver, photographer known for his work documenting the early days of the Los Angeles punk scene.

And then there's the drink itself, in which beer, cider, and black currants team up to bring the drinker 22 ounces of flavor-packed refreshment. The base is about two-thirds Kölsch-style ale, blended and co-fermented with black currants and tart cider. It is smooth, delicious stuff, kept extra-crushable with a touch of acidity and tannin from the currants and apples and a soft hoppy bitterness from the Kölsch.

Now available in 22oz bottles.

Another great seasonal now available from Gigantic:

White Light White Heat
A tropical white IPA brewed with Belgian yeast to produce a beer with distinctive aromas of kumquat and pineapple.
Currently available in a limited quantity of 22oz bottles.

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