Saturday, March 05, 2011

There are good things afoot in the Oakland brewing world.

Y'all know I love a good brew or bourbon now and again. But -- damn those genetics -- I am a lightweight. So I have been one happy camper with the addition of Dying Vines, brewing out of the Linden Street Brewing Company in Oakland.

They seem to be specializing in session beers, with a keen interest in English bitters at that. Crisp, light body, assertive hops, and that all important factor for me, low ABV. I'd only had their Dee'z Mild, which I thought was stellar, though less crisp and more mouthy. But lucky girl I am, last night I was able to taste Dying Vines' newest venture, Old Brick Bitter. Really outstanding -- a true everyday, easy drinking beer. And I had an imperial pint and never even felt it!

I hear from Pete at the equally outstanding Commonwealth** that Dying Vines is looking into doing some barrel-aged beers. Exciting for them, and I will try them for sure because what I have had so far from them is top notch and the complexity of barrel-aged beer can be really fun, but I am a little disappointed as most of those tend to run in the 8 and 9 and up ABV.

Americans. The trend seems to be to build beers that are 8-11 percent and beyond. I recognize the complexity and deliciousness in some, but most just leave me reeling at the alcohol content.

I visited England for the first time in December (I know, I know, why am I just mentioning this NOW?) and had the luck of being in the North, in Yorkshire. Bitters are a specialty, and I was surprised when confronted with the ABVs at the pubs -- low 3s and 4s all. My friends jokingly asked me to not tell Americans that the Brits were such wusses, but I have trumpeted the low ABV factor far and wide. Love it, and also love that the half-pint is commonplace. I like to try many different beers when I go to a pub, and I just cannae do imperial pints of more than, oh, ONE beer in a sitting. And I hate getting sneered at for asking for a halfer!

**also had Commonwealth's Beer and Ale with Yorkshire pudding last night. omnomnomnom.

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