The combination of piney, resinous Simcoe with mango-esque tropical fruit bomb Galaxy may not make sense on the face of it. Yet this unorthodox combination has found favor with a select group of brewers around California. Drinkers here in San Diego may know it best from Chief Peak, the flagship IPA of Ventura-based Topa Topa – but whereas that one is firmly West Coast in style, this offering from Cellarmaker is hazy and opaque. With Cellarmaker’s move across the Bay under way as these words are typed, we are looking forward to more of their delicious beers in 2023.
Devotees of Czech-style lagers are well familiar with the term “Tmavý”, meaning simply “dark”. Our colleague Devin here at Bottlecraft North Park even has a dog named Tmavý, to take one such local example! A Tmavý Pivo in Bohemia and Moravia is a malt-driven lager with deep russet coloration and the ability to be both hearty and refreshing at once. The even more obscure style Polotmavý is usually rendered as a “Czech Amber Lager”, but literally means “half-dark”. This three-way collab between Oregonians Wayfinder and Heater Allen and the incomparable Colorado-based Bierstadt Lagerhaus is a tribute to U Zlatého Tygra (= “At the Golden Tiger”), one of the finest places in Old Town Prague for fresh draft lager. Na straví!
Inspired by true Pajottenland lambic, Hood River’s pFriem Family Brewers produces a stunning array of barrel-fermented tart ales with judicious applications of local fruits. Taking the concept one further, some of these funky and acidic beers are aged not simply in neutral oak, but rather in used wine barrels. The characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc in particular lend themselves well to such creations, accentuating zippy and zesty notes in the final measure. Nectarine Golden Ale boasts a layering of vibrant stone fruit as well. This beer has been a longstanding recurring favorite of ours on draft over the years – this limited drop is the very first time it has been available in bottles in San Diego.