Friday, February 18, 2011
San Francisco - Lagunitas
Very impressed with the Gnarlywine, a barleywine. Hoppy nose with some sweetness in it. Flavor begins with some hops followed by a ton of sweetness in the form of caramel and toffee. It finishes slightly bitter but doesn't linger. Really enjoyable barleywine and very tasty.
The Fusion 5 is a triple bock (or at least that's what the waitress told us although BeerAdvocate has it as a double IPA. I'd have to have it again to be sure I guess.) There wasn't much aroma but I thought it tasted of caramel, figs, plums and ending with a bit of bitterness. Either my perception was totally off after tasting wine all day or someone is confused. Not really sure who.
Next up was the Imperial Stout which was super tasty. Smelled a bit roasty with some chocolate backing it up. Interesting roast, coffee and chocolate followed by a fruity flavor came in the first sip. Decent bit of sweetness continued throughout which I find pleasant in imperial stouts. You can't find this outside the area so it was nice to try.
Finishing up this sampler was Maximus a double IPA. I had a bunch of double IPAs over the course of the different breweries and found this one to have the most sweetness in it. Hoppy nose, but there was a nice mix of hops and sweet in the flavor which was nice. Not quite as good as Elder but enjoyable in a different way.
After that was another sampler.
After having the Gnarlywine, Brown Shugga was just wicked sweet. I've had it before and enjoyed it, but this time it was almost overwhelming. Has some hops in the aroma but those are quickly taken over by the sugary sweetness in the body. Not the best to have in the middle, I'd say.
The Dogtown Sumpin was the first terrible beer I had in San Fran. It smelled inviting, hoppy and citrusy, but ended up tasting like grassy water which is as appealing as you'd expect. Very thin mouthfeel, very grassy and very planty. Just kind of gross. Guessing the flavors disappeared in the cask and just turned it blech.
However, the San Francisco Beer Week made up for it nicely. Citrusy nose similar to the Dogtown, but it had some actual flavor following. They started sort of earthy but were quickly supplanted by a delicious citrusy edge. Very nice.
Finally was A Little Sumpin Sumpin. This is one of their flagship beers and it's an American Pale Wheat Ale. Whatever it was, it was tasty. Mild citrus nose like the two above followed by a nice balance of hops and wheat flavors. Not quite as sweet as the Maximus but not as hoppy either. I can see why people like it.
Last, but not pictured, was a sample of the Bourbon Barrel Aged Gnarlywine. Huge sweet bourbon nose. Starts with bourbon, then some vanilla, and ends with more bourbon. Just like some other bourbon beers, I found the beer base to be way overpowered by the bourbon aging. Without loving bourbon it was a bit too much.
That's it for the brew pubs outside the city. Look for one more wrap up post with some of the beers I enjoyed in San Francisco proper, my meeting with Bryan Kolesar, the guy behind The Brew Lounge, at The Social Kitchen, and some comments on San Francisco Beer Week.