What’s new, and why you should come join us for a pint, or three.
By James Holt
If you’ve had the opportunity to visit Marin or Sonoma County in the last year, and you did anything more than coast straight through, you’ve probably discovered a thriving Craft Beer culture in wine country. It’s ubiquitous around here, and seems to fit us just right. Over the last decade, I’m positive that you’ve seen tap handles at your local dives start to transform into Lagunitas, Bear Republic, and perhaps even Moonlight, but there is so much more happening with local brew these days. This year, the number of Craft Breweries up here will easily clear 20. The quality and variation is unequaled; and the prospective new breweries, collaborations, and beer projects seem endless. 2013 is going to be a ridiculous year forNorth Bay Beer. If this is the first time you’re hearing about it, then it’s time to stop swirling that wine glass, fold your pretentious pinky finger back in, and strap on a brand new pair of beer goggles instead! It’s going to be a hell of a ride, and I just don’t think you’ll have time for wine this year.
Welcome to Craft Beer Country!
Over the next several entries, I would like to expose you to some of the highlights of the next year in the North Bay Brewing Scene. The next time you make it up here, you’ll know what to look for, where to go, and even a few tips and tricks you may not know unless you’re a regular. Make sure to check back weekly for 2013 North Bay Beer updates and information!
1/15/2013- Malty Big Beers to Fight the Winter Chills
If you’re in the North Bay right now, you know it’s been colder than a gravedigger’s shovel lately. Since global warming is still a few years away from transforming Northern California into a tropical paradise (or drowning us all), Craft Beer drinkers must unite and seek solace in the power of Big Beer. Nothing returns feeling to your extremities like a menacingly strong stout, or a killer scotch ale. Here’s to the malty beers that make us feel good when mother nature isn’t doing us any favors!
Here are a few Malty Winter Beers out right now that might put a little more sunshine in your day:
- SleeperWave Wee-Heavy Third Street Aleworks
This is a great example of a strong scotch style. Big, sweet, and easy to drink, the SleeperWave isn’t too dark in flavor, but you can pick up on some mild smokey notes. Check yourself before you order too many of this one!
- White Cat Vanilla Porter Third Street Aleworks
This is a great take on Third Street’s traditional Black Cat Porter, which is light on the mouthfeel, but sinister and dark in flavor. This round differs from the standard with one simple change: They strung a single pound of vanilla beans end to end and floated them in the fermenter. The balance of sweet and dark is wonderful.
- Naughty Aud Russian Imperial Stout 101 North
For those of you that haven’t heard, there is a new brewery basically across the street from Lagunitas, in Petaluma. For those of you who have had their Heroine IPA, its time to check out the dark side of 101 North Brewing Co. This is a gigantic, chocolatey Russian Imperial Stout, and it proves these guys showed up to the brewing scene with some cajones. The ABV is extreme and the mouthfeel is a little on the lighter side, but this is an outstanding winter beer!
- Brown Shugga Lagunitas
Back again after Lagunitas fans had to stave off their anger from last year, the Shugga lives! This beer is completely out of control. Malty and smooth is an understatement. Hints of brown sugar are likely the last thing you’ll remember of the day you start drinking this stuff. Rumor has it that this beer was born when the mash didn’t go so well in a batch of their Gnarly Wine, so they bought the city of Petaluma out of brown sugar and tossed it in the fermenter.