Alvarado Street / Burial Protracted Period of Uncertainty | Landbier (5.1%)
The northernmost part of Bavaria is a region known as Franconia, with its own long history of independence and autonomy. Locals are often a bit put out to be yoked politically to the large southern state, with the grousing refrain of “Franken ist nicht Bayem!” (Franconia is not Bavaria!) to be heard. The western part grows minerality-driven, dry white wines while the eastern specializes in spectacular lagers, known colloquially as “Weinfranken” and “Bierfranken”, respectively. One vague subcategory of lager much-prized in Franconia is landbier (lit. “country beer”, in the sense of locality rather than nation-state delineation). Such beers are meant to be consumed fresh, capturing a specific place and time. It is this tradition that Alvarado Street Brewery, in tandem with the North Carolina’s exceptional Burial Beer Co., is evoking with this beer. The grain bill incorporates both Weyermann Pilsner and Munich malts while hopping involves strictly German-derived Noble varieties. On the temporal side, its title accurately encapsulates our particular moment in existence.
8 Bit The 8th Wonder | Hazy Double IPA (8.8%)
Murrieta-based 8 Bit Brewing has quietly built a loyal following with their hazy IPAs and intriguing fruited kettle sours, coupled with frequently pixelated iconography and beer titles echoing gaming and pop-culture references of bygone decades. Distribution to San Diego has been sporadic but enthusiastically received, and now appears to be picking up pace. The can label for this beer, which is dry-hopped with Nelson, Simcoe and Cashmere, depicts the climactic scene of King Kong in which the misunderstood monster clings to the Empire State Building while warplanes buzz around his head.
- Little Beast Ms. Marvelous | Sour Ale w/ Mango (5.5%)
Portland’s Little Beast Brewing has its pedigree in Logsdon Farmhouse Ales out east in Hood River, Oregon, but has expanded the scope of the cornucopia of fruits utilized in sour-beer production these days. The “little beasts” in question are our friends Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus, which impart such wondrous aromas and flavors when properly coaxed. Following on the heels of her counterpart, Mr. Nice (a canned sour with passion fruit), Ms. Marvelous trades it out for mango. Is this incipient series of beers a sly reference to the Mr. Men line of children’s books by the British author Roger Hargreaves? Only time will tell.