- Threes Brewing Kicking & Screaming | Oak-aged Pilsner (5.2%)
In the first week of January 2020, I took a long walk through Brooklyn. It was unusually warm out for the season, a relief for a Californian visiting the East Coast. One of the places I stopped in at was Threes Brewing in Gowanus. There was a rollicking atmosphere at their main bar on the ground floor, while it was much more sedate in the upper rafters. For reasons I don’t need to elucidate, this all seems very far away and a very long time ago, even though only one calendar year has passed. The lagers at Threes were excellent. I inquired as to whether any distribution was planned for the West Coast, and now we are delighted to debut Threes in San Diego with a smattering of IPAs alongside their house pilsner, which is briefly aged in large oak vessels known alternatively as foeders (in Flemish) or foudres (in French). Fans of Foeder Ice from Modern Times Beer will be intrigued by this one, as the oak imparts a delicate toastiness to a rounded cereal-grain pils.
- Cervejaria Japas Sawā Peach | Fruited Sour Ale (4.7%)
Many readers of this weekly column will surely be surprised to learn that the single largest Japanese diaspora is located, not in Los Angeles or London, but rather São Paolo. Brazil as a whole easily hosts the greatest number of Nikkei (persons of Japanese heritage living outside of the Home Islands) of any country on Earth. Three women from this sprawling, multifaceted community have formed a brewery emphasizing both their Brazilian identity as well as their ancestral roots, and the first of their beers have just landed stateside. Reclaiming the hitherto somewhat pejorative term Japas for the name of their Cervejaria (the word in Portuguese will be instantly recognizable to readers of Spanish, with its direct counterpart being Cervecería), the triumvirate of Maira, Yumi and Fernanda are drawing attention well outside of South America. Their Sawā series rotates various tree fruits through a tart ale base, with gorgeous artistic impressions of each one imprinted on the label. The first of these to reach us is the peach iteration. The beer is light-bodied and pleasantly tart, with a noticeable stone-fruit character in the aroma. Saúde / Kanpai!
- Beachwood DDH Thrillseeker | West Coast IPA (7.1%)
Beachwood Brewing is at it again! With their anthropomorphic hop character appearing to be shot out of a cannon (replete with goggles and coiffed mustache) in a comic-book-style recalling Roy Lichtenstein, the label makes it clear that this will be a forceful IPA. The classic recipe of Thrillseeker calls for a host of classic West Coast hop varietals—Simcoe, Chinook, Centennial and Summit—while this propulsive double-dry-hopped edition layers another round of Simcoe and Chinook on top for maximum pine marsh.