Cellarmaker / Highland Park Loza Farms | West Coast IPA (6.8%)
When the last batch of this beer arrived in November, I was not only excited by the pedigree of the breweries behind it (S.F.’s Cellarmaker Brewing and L.A.’s Highland Park Brewery), but floored by how delicious it was. My colleagues can attest that I drank a great many cans and recommended it to more or less everybody who enjoys West Coast IPAs. Its iconography depicts a whimsical, Diego Rivera-esque mural of hops-farming, albeit with the cones as large as hay bales! The beer is named after the eponymous Chicano-owned Yakima commercial operation, paying specific homage to its paterfamilias Leon Loza, Sr. With heavy Citra additions alongside Cascade and Amarillo, this is a beer to be consumed immediately while freshness is at its peak.
pFriem Bretta III | Brett Saison (6.6%)
Over the years, Hood River’s pFriem Family Brewers has proven utter mastery in every style they put their minds to. Frequent visitors to Bottlecraft will note this brewery’s overrepresentation on our shelves and taps, as we are true believers in their abilities in brewing and impressed by their fair prices. Thus, not only are their “clean” beers (lagers, IPAs and barrel-aged stouts) to be found in abundance, but also their more esoteric mixed-fermentation creations. Bretta III (following slowly upon the heels of Bretta I and II in sequence) is a strangely inexpensive, beautifully balanced funky saison. Fans of Jester King, Fantôme and Allagash beers are well-advised to investigate.
Japas Taiyaki | Pastry Stout (10%)
The women of Japas Cervejaria are back! Last profiled in this column back in late-January, Maira, Yumi and Fernanda are Brazilians of Japanese descent whose beers and can-art are a testament to their multifaceted backgrounds. This imperial stout is inspired by taiyaki, a dessert snack found in Japan that’s frequently filled with anko, a sweet azuki bean paste not dissimilar to mochi. Featuring chocolate, vanilla, a touch of lactose and that selfsame anko, this is, to my knowledge, the world’s first bean paste-ry stout!