- Humble Sea Double NorCal Meds | Hazy Double IPA (8.1%)
Not long after Humble Sea Brewing began sending cans our way, their mid-April 2019 release, NorCal Meds, turned some heads. I distinctly recall how enthusiastically this early drop was received in San Diego, in the days before they had altogether settled into their signature cartoony iconography. The cheerfully irreverent Santa Cruz brewery had stuffed a hazy (“foggy” in their parlance) IPA with a rogue’s gallery of Pacific Northwest hops (Mosaic, Simcoe, Cascade, Amarillo and the lesser-seen Eureka) for an intensely herbal sensory experience. Now the recipe and the ABV (alcohol-by-volume) have been scaled up for a double edition, promising thicker and more resinous clouds for the occasion.
- Enegren Dunkel | Munich-style Dunkel (5.5%)
A good Dunkles Lager is hard to find. Literally translating to “dark lager”, this southern German style is the brown bread of beers, offering toasty aromas yet a lighter body. As usual, Enegren Brewing absolutely nails it. Nutty Munich malts predominate, while the lagering process makes for a dry and clean finish. With such a low ABV, this is a beer to be enjoyed in multiples. Prost!
- Allagash Coolship Red | Spontaneously Fermented Sour Ale (6.2%)
Groundbreaking Maine-based Allagash Brewing has a place in the pantheon of American craft beer history for a number of reasons, not least their being the first domestic operation to install a coolship. These open-topped vessels (the Anglophone name calqued from the Flemish/Dutch koelschip, a surefire clue towards their lambic-producing origins) allow for spontaneous fermentation. Combined with judicious oak-aging and blending, the resulting funky and sour beers are prized by devotees. This limited-release iteration features a healthy amount of raspberries, as well, with zingy fruit acids melding beautifully with the base beer.