Saturday, January 23, 2016

Anchor's new Go West! IPA

When I toured Anchor's brewery in mid-November, head brewer Mark Carpenter offered us guests samples of a still-experimental IPA that the brewery was considering as an addition to its line-up of beers.  Well, those experiments have borne fruit and this month Anchor released its newest beer: Go West! IPA.

Go West! Launch Party

To mark the release of Go West! Anchor is holding a series of public release events at different venues throughout SF Beer Week. However, I was able to attend a special invitation-only launch party at the brewery itself on Thursday evening.

There I joined other guests in tasting Go West! as well as many of Anchor's other beers, all flowing freely from the tap room and from draught stations set up throughout the brewhouse, along with hors d'oeuvres including cured meat and cheese pairings, beer ice cream, beer floats, and more. (I highly recommend making your float with Anchor Barrel Ale, by the way.)

The Beer

Ok. So, on to the beer itself...

Anchor's own literature describes Go West! IPA as
"Made with 2-row pale barley malt and dry-hopped with a unique blend of American hops. Its mouthwateringly complex aromas of citrus, pine, and the tropics; spiky bitterness; gleaming golden color; and clean finish unite to create this singular 24-karat IPA."

I found it to be very enjoyable, and somewhat unique for an American IPA, and particularly for a West Coast IPA.  

Of couse, being an IPA, it is hop-forward in flavour, but bucking the trend out here, it is not a palate-numbing hop bomb, and it doesn't include Cascade hops. Instead, fruit and citrus flavours do stand out, but the beer is well balanced, and finishes really clean.

The fact that Go West! IPA is so balanced and not overly hoppy is a testament to the skill of Anchor's brewers, particularly since --I was told-- it includes the addition of 3 types of hops in the kettle and 4 more during fermentation.  I can't remember them all, but I do distinctly recall that Citra hops were one of the ones that went into dry-hopping.

Like I said, I really enjoyed Go West! IPA. I think that Anchor hit it out of the ball park with this beer!

As for the stats: Go West! clocks in at 6.7% ABV and 75 IBUs. I didn't inquire about it's SRM.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

1 step forward, 2 steps back

In a month's time, Contra Costa County has gained a brewery, but lost another plus a tap room.

Ale Industries got its start in the county, with its original brewery having been located in wharehouse space next to the MoreBeer! showroom in Concord, where some of guys also worked.  After a few good years there, they felt the need to expand their facility, and to brew closer to the owners' homes in Oakland.  The story is that in 2013 they moved the brewery piece by piece, in a pickup truck, to the new Oakland facility, which opened in 2014.

However, Ale industries did not abandon Contra Costa, and opened their Concord tap room, The Pig & The Pickle, even as they were opening the brewery in Oakland.

Unfortunately, on December 7th Ale Industries announced on the The Pig & The Pickle's FaceBook page that, in order to "restructure and reinvent our retail presence" it was "temporarily" closing The Pig & The Pickle, inviting everyone to instead visit their brewery tap room in Oakland.

Then, on January 12th, Pyramid announced on FaceBook and on its webpage that the Pyramid Alehouse in Walnut Creek was closed. Following the closure of the Berkeley alehouse, this move leaves Pyramid with no taprooms or brewpubs in California.

On the plus side, the county has had the opportunity to welcome a new face to the beer scene: Concord's Epidemic Ales.  

Epidemic held the grand opening of their brewery and tap room at 150 Mason Cir. on Jan. 2nd.   They managed to get it all set up in time for SF Beer Week, which they are participating in.

I hope to get to their facility soon to sample some of their brews.

 Correction:  I stated above that Pyramid has no taprooms left in California. They do in fact have at least one small one, in Terminal 2 of the Oakland International Airport. (5/28/16)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


With twenty-eight bottled beers and another three or four on tap, Barrelista Coffee House is working out to be one of the better beer spots in downtown Martinez!

Barrelista Coffee House
736 Main Street
Martinez, CA