SAN FRANCISCO — Whether it’s darker-bodied, festively spiced or just a new blend, Bay Area breweries have a lot to offer for those looking to keep it local. Check out these new offerings from Bay Area breweries.
The Rare Barrel — Last Friday, the Berkeley brewery tapped a new sour saison, Light Treason. Brewed with grapefruit — as well as being their first sour saison brewed — the brewery describes the beer as boasting aromas of citrus zest and white pepper alongside the grapefruit juicy and tart flavors.
JP Das Brew — The Fremont brewery debuted their Triple Blitz Black IPA on nitro last week. Described as the perfect rainy season beer, this 12 percent alcohol beer boasts coffee and chocolate flavors with bitterness from Cascade hops balancing out the dark malt flavors. But the nitro pour makes this higher ABV brew richer and creamier.
Iron Springs — As part of the Fairfax brewery’s month of chocolate beer releases, Chocolate Sless’ Stout will be tapped this Friday, Nov. 20. Sless’ Oatmeal Stout already features chocolatey flavors of roasty malts and oats, so we can only imagine how delectable Chocolate Sless’ Stout will be. The brewery will only have a keg of this available, so those wanting to get a pour should go in sooner rather than later, or call the brewery to confirm availability.
Bartlett Hall — Dark Bullitt, a coffee chocolate porter, is an offering of the brewery/restaurant that has been on tap before. The smoky flavors and pronounced chocolate flavor make this beer somewhat of a meal itself, and at 6.3 percent alcohol and 40 IBU, is certainly worth a pour or two for the colder evenings.
Anchor Brewing — Now in stores is Anchor’s 41st annual Christmas Ale. A beer that modifies its recipe each year, the rich, complex, and dark spiced seasonal ale this year is displays more of a fruity and roasted malt notes, accompanied by what the brewery calls “a Christmas tree aroma and smooth, chocolate-like texture.” Anchor Brewmaster Mark Carpenter says, “This year, we took a less-is-more approach to the Christmas Ale recipe, using fewer ingredients that can really shine through,” said Anchor Brewmaster Mark Carpenter. “With fewer secret spices, this year’s Christmas Ale is a nod to early Christmas Ale recipes when the malt flavors were more pronounced.”
The brewery is also rolling out its annual Anchor Winter Wheat beer to local retailers this month. According to the brewery, the beer is “smooth, complex, dark brew with a creamy, lacey head; deep, rich mouthfeel; nutty, bread-like, and subtly roasted flavors; and a crisp, clean finish. A special ale yeast provides clean flavors with hints of dark fruit. And a single hop, Northern Brewer, provides earthy, woody, and minty notes with just the right amount of bitterness.”
Hermitage — Last Wednesday, the San Jose brewery released two new winter beers to warm local drinkers’ palates. Ale of the Hermit, a pre-prohibition style IPA dry hopped with oak chips, is descibred by the brewery as “a solid malt body of sweet caramel, balanced by an assertive hop bitterness.” Rounded out with traditional American hop varieties that contribute flavors of wild flowers and delicate fruit to the “vanilla and tannic nuances of American oak.”
An American-style barley wine, Ryetopia is a Kentucky bourbon barrel aged rye barley wine, brewed with malted and crystal rye. At 11.6 percent alcohol, the beer is described by Head Brewer Greg Filippi as boasting “huge amounts of American oak and bourbon deliciousness. The barrel is actually the star of the show with this release, adding such flavors as vanilla, caramel, tannic oak, and of course bourbon. Lots of yummy bourbon. The beer is a heater, and the warming quality is immediately apparent. A perfect sipper for a brutal San Jose winter day.”
Mavericks — The Half Moon Bay-based brewery is debuting two new beers both on draft and in cans this week. The Big Break Belgian Golden Strong comes out at 8.3 percent alcohol and 25 IBUs, and is brewed with Pilsner malt with a touch of wheat, along with European hops, to create an aroma of honey, bubblegum and banana with a “soft spice character.” Belgian clear candy sugar is also used in this beer.
Also new from the brewery is their Coastside Pilsner, a take on the American Premium style lager, brewed with American 2-Row and German Pilsner malt with German and American hops. The flavor profile is described by Mavericks are grassy, woody and floral from the hops, with the California lager yeast rounding it out to create a smooth and well-balanced beer at 5.5 percent alcohol and 31 IBUs.
Peter B’s Brewpub — The Monterey-based brewpub debuted their Elbow Room Belgian Gold. At 6.5 percent alcohol and 25 IBUs, the Belgian ale is described as “medium bodied… with gorgeous fruity aromas of tart apple melon and citrus.” The brewery recommends pairing the beer with cheese curds and the brewpub’s Portola Burger.