San Diego’s craft beer scene is one of the best in the country. Standing out is no easy task, but AleSmith has managed to do just that for over 20 years.
They made a name in late 1990’s and have been awarded Small Brewing Company of the Year, Brewer of the Year as well as #1 Best Brewery in the world by RateBeer.com.
In recent years they’ve moved to a new state of the art facility, boasting the largest tasting room in San Diego. This Mexican Style Lager is brewed by AleSmith with Southern California natives Sublime to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut album “40oz. to Freedom.”
Pour: Golden in color with a slight haze to it and mild carbonation. Slim white head forms and fades leaving some lacing on the glass.
Nose: Not much going on, some light hop notes and aromas of caramel give it a sweet twist.
Pallet: Light bodied, there’s a hint of hops but very mild. This is an easy drinker with a slight malt background and great balance. Finish is clean and crisp with no acidity.
Overall: Balanced is the best way to describe this one, it has a feel of a traditional Vienna-style lager with a SoCal twist. Alesmith suggests this as a go to beer for hot days on the beach or tailgating and I think they nailed that feel. A great pairing with burgers, grilled sausages or some spicy pulled pork.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Pints
Brooklyn has become the new hot spot, and the beer culture is no exception. It seems like a new brewery opens weekly, but there are a few that paved the way for others. Sixpoint is one of those breweries.
Founded in 2004 with six core offerings, 12 seasonal and rotating offerings, and dozens of specialty concoctions, Sixpoint has mastered crafting old-world classics with modern flavors and materials.
Their Crisp Lager is no exception. At its heart it’s a classic lager but can also give off the feeling of an old world Czech Pilsner. This brew pours a clear pale gold color, with plenty of carbonation. A frothy white head slowly dissipates with time leaving a fair amount of lacing behind.
On the nose is a pure malty profile and has a particularity clean scent to it. Light fruit notes mix with an earthy almost grassy aromas with a sharp hop finish.
On the first impression it shows more as an old world pilsner then a lager. A medium body with smooth doughy malt profile balanced out by the hops. Finish is clean and crisp, mildly bitter but refreshing and easy drink.
Overall an interesting merger of two classics, has the weight and appearance of a lager but with the profile of a pilsner. Classic and refreshing but updated with some modern ingredients and a few twists. One of the great things about lagers is its versatility with food. A great match for soft to semi hard cheeses, BBQ pork sliders and mussels.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 Pints
Bolero Snort Brewery is one of North Jersey’s latest entrants to the craft beer world. After a year and a half of recipe development, commercial production of their flagship beers: Blackhorn and Ragin’ Bull began in January 2013. They strive to create hand-crafted ales and lagers that are influenced by both traditional and emerging styles with their own bold spin. As the folks at Bolero love to say, “No BS…Just Ragin’ Good Beer!”
One of their limited releases is a Javahorn, a black lager brewed with espresso and vanilla beans.
The beer pours a rich chocolate brown color with slight garnet edges when viewed in the light. The one finger soapy tan head shows moderate retention and leaves a light lacing atop the beer once it has had time to dissipate.
On the nose you’ll find aromas of bready malts, along with rich notes of roasted coffee. The coffee notes are lifted and accented by notes of baker’s chocolate. Creamy vanilla aromas tantalize the senses and add a sweetness to the bouquet.
On the palate the flavor profile of the black lager really shine through. Hop notes of pine and citrus are balanced with notes of rich bready roasted malts. The hop bitterness that hits right off the bat transitions to a bitter espresso note on the finish. Notes of vanilla appear on the mid-palate and continue to the finish where the espresso notes dominate and linger.
A very interesting beer from Bolero Snort. Using the black lager as a base instead of a traditional stout or porter (that most breweries would use to add espresso and vanilla) created a unique and complex beer that is anything but ordinary. Try pairing this one with Havarti, grilled smoked sausages with potatoes and onions or vanilla bean custard with pomegranate seeds.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints
Hop City Brewing Company is the brainchild of two long time brewers, Kevin Gray and John Gagliardi. Kevin and John set out to create flavorful and balanced brews with ingenuity and passion without rules, reverence or sales projections to meet. What resulted was their first award winning recipe, Barking Squirrel, a delicious rich amber lager.
The beer pours a copper amber color with rusty orange hues when viewed in the light. The one finger off white head shows good retention. Once the head dissipates a light lacing remains, mainly on the sides of the glass.
Aromas of biscuity malts dominate the nose. Notes of grain and toast complement the biscuit aromas. A touch of caramel adds depth and an undeniable sweetness. A touch of woody, earthy hops are detectable underneath the strong malt and grain notes.
On the palate, notes of biscuity malts and caramel hit first. There is a toasty nuttiness that highlights the biscuit flavors. A hint of fermented fruit, namely apple, elevates the caramel notes. Arriving at the mid-palate are hints of citrus and grassy hops that balance the malts perfectly. The beer finishes clean but very dry.
Hop City’s Barking Squirrel Lager is a clean and easy drinking lager that is sure to please the masses. Try pairing this one with smoked Gouda, BBQ chicken or apple pie.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out of 5 Pints
Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory!
In 1989, Old Dominion Brewing Company opened its doors to the public and was an immediate success. Word spread throughout the DC area like wildfire. Their loyal following continued to grow and soon became the craft beer of choice for thousands of fans. The Cherry Blossom Lager is their spring seasonal paying homage to the cherry blossoms of their hometown, Washington DC.
The beer pours a light, translucent tan color similar to a weak iced tea. There are defined pink hues when viewed in good light. The head is thin and white in color. It dissipates quickly to a lacing and then disappears all together.
The nose is similar to that of a lager showing crisp malts. There is a light floral hop aroma which is accented by the fruity notes of the cherries. The cherry aroma is faint and presents as a sweet, candy like sour cherry.
The beer is light to medium bodied with a honey-like mouth feel that seems to lightly coat the palate despite its weight. The palate parallels the nose. There are an abundance of grain and malt notes, just as you would expect to find in a lager. On the midpalate there a slightly sweet note. There is no noticeable hop presence, but you know they are present because of beer’s balance (the beer isn’t overly sweet). There is a light cherry note like that of fresh cherries, not an artificial candy flavor. The fruit is notable but not over powering.
A nice effort by Old Dominion. The lager flavors definitely over power the cherry notes but this helps to create a crisp, clean and refreshing session beer. Ideal for pairing with BBQ foods, Thai cuisine and good friends on a warm spring day!
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 2.5 Pints out of 5
Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory