As the holiday season kicks into high gear, breweries throughout the Bay Area are releasing a slew of new beers, including winter warmers, barleywines, barrel-aged specials and other holiday-themed seasonal brews. Here is a rundown of new beer available this week from Bay Area breweries:
Cellarmaker – Casks and a new pale ale are coming out of the SoMa brewery’s pipeline this week. On Thursday, the brewery released Crush a Bale #2, a 4.6 percent alcohol pale ale with grapefruit and pine flavors. Three pounds of hops per barrel made up of Simcoe, Amarillo and New Zealand Southern Cross hops give the session pale ale a lot of flavor. The brewery will release a cask on Saturday of “Blammo!” with cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon and pasilla chiles.
Mission Creek Brewing – The rooftop brewery of the new Whole Foods in downtown San Jose has released its first beer. The Punch List Pale is a 6.5 percent alcohol and 48 IBU tropically flavored pale ale. Brewmaster Guy Cameron describes the aroma as ” juicy, citrusy hop flavors from the heavy late kettle whirlpool hop and dry hop additions… one may describe the flavors as having tropical fruit flavors reminiscent of orange, tangerine, passion fruit, and guava. It has a clean, but noticeable malt character with a medium light body and a dry, crisp finish. It pours a golden color and has a medium-light body, medium carbonation, moderate bitterness, and a high amount of hop flavor and aroma.”
Hermitage – The San Jose brewery released their Boysenberry Sour and barrel-aged Hermit. The Boysenberry Sour is one of Hermitage’s first sours, which they began aging back in 2012. Head brewer, Greg Filippi describes the process and flavors: “The base beer was actually fermented in the wood, so the beer spent its entire life inside California wine barrels. After a long, slow aging process of about two years we added hundreds of pounds of Boysenberries to the barrels and let the fruit deliciousness meld with the delicate wine-like character of the beer. The end result is a complex-yet-drinkable,
The Barrel-Aged Hermit Ale is described the brewery as “hiding in a dark, oaky cask for six months, and our brewers are ready to let him out into the world. As described by Brewmaster Peter Licht, “It’s like the Ale of the Hermit, but more hermity. This ale is obscure in the most palate-pleasing, interesting way. Rich malt backbone leads the way as a nice hop prole emerges. Lots of oak, mystery and deliciousness round out Barrel-Aged Hermit.”
Schubros – The San Ramon brewery is releasing their Festivus Miracle winter warmer. Clocking in at 8 percent alcohol, the Festivus Miracle is described by the brewery as “dark, rich and warming, with a delicate blend of cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and cardamom,” in addition to “warm bread pudding flavors and roasted aromatics.”
Highway 1 Brewing – The Pescadero brewery released their Krampus Christmas Imperial Stout on December 12. The 9 percent alcohol black stout is still on tap and features traditional Christmas spices, such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. The tasting notes from head brewer Jim Hansen describe the beer as “… slight hints of fruit esters like apricots, cherries, and other stone fruit. The taste is very rich and complex. Intense coffee flavors and dark chocolate. There is also hints of vanilla, and fruit esters.”
The brewery is imminently about to tap a Belgian IPA, called Jean Claude Van Damme-Its-A-Good IPA. The flavor and nose profile are described by Hansen: “The nose is spicy hops, and pear. There is also some plum and white pepper detected. Has a great mouthfeel. Good bitterness and a spicy and floral hop flavor. Slight lemongrass flavor is also found. The Belgian fruit esters come through at the end with taste of plum, pear and other stone fruits. Intense hop flavors that are complemented by the yeast profile.”
Half Moon Bay Brewing – The brewery just tapped the 10th pale ale of their single hop series, a brew featuring the Australian hop, Ella. The brewery describes the taste as “displaying flavors of grapefruit and tropical fruit. Ella’s flavors are slightly more subtle, however, with delicate spice notes and floral characteristics.”
Dempsey’s – The Petaluma brewery just tapped their 2009 Tank No. 9 Barely Wine. Described as mellow and smooth, the brewery cautions only a small amount if available, so contact them to make sure it’s still on tap.
Third Street Aleworks – The Santa Rosa brewery released their 2014 Brass Parachute Barleywine, a 12.4 percent alcohol strong ale for the holiday season. The brewery only produces their Brass Parachute Barleywine every few years, so be sure to catch this rare release.
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing – The winter warmer, Ginger, is now available at the Potrero Hill, SoMa and Franklin Whole Foods stores in San Francisco. The brewery’s traditional seasonal release, the 6.2 percent alcohol Ginger is described as a strong ale with a spiced orange aroma, ginger finish and sweet body from the malt.