Monday, July 30, 2007


In the mid-1990s I used to make a few appearances at a brewery/restaurant called BURLINGAME STATION in Burlingame, CA – an affable sort of after-work place with beer that was “good enough”. In the interim said established has been turned over to the STEELHEAD BREWING small family of brewery/restaurants, and is one of only a tiny handful of breweries along the Silicon Valley peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose. I spent my teenage years in San Jose, and currently live in San Francisco, so what better place to suggest for a 20-year-reunion with some high school pals still living in San Jose? After all, it was a 25-minute drive for me and 45-minute drive for them, right?

Biggest surprise of the night – STEELHEAD BREWING makes some very tasty beer. I had heard suggestions to the contrary for the past couple of years. Exhibit A was the BOMBAY BOMBER IPA, which was too tempting to not start with, despite the conventional wisdom to save the hoppy beers for later in the programme. This uber-hoppy IPA virtually holds its own with anyone else in the Bay Area, with an intense mouthfeel of deep malts and really piney, citrus-packed hops. I was expecting something much more mild. It’s a golden IPA, no orange present, but it tasted something like a more carbonated version of MOONLIGHT's IPA, also called BOMBAY BY BOAT. Not quite in that league, but at 7.5/10, it’s damn good.

I don’t know how I even dared to pull the trigger on something called HAIRY WEASEL HEFEWEIZEN, but I did. Probably because I was driving and it looked like the lightest offering on the menu. It was OK, again better than expected – a fairly thin-to-medium bodied hefe, sans lemon, also quite carbonated (they say “effervescent”) but packing some malty flavor punch. I might try some of the more adventurous offerings on the menu next time, but reckoned this rated a 6.5/10 and that’s not too shabby. In short, for those that carp and bark about “no good beer on the Peninsula”, I beg to differ. If you’ve got a layover at the SF airport, you can get over that by cab in like 10 minutes, tops, enough to get one of those Bombay Bombers. Maybe I’ll see ya there, because if I can hoodwink a few more friends I’m heading back.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Is LAGUNITAS BREWING one of the United States’ most severely underrated brewers? If you’ve only tried the sub-standard, barely-passable LAGUNITAS IPA, which 9 times out of 10 is the one you’re going to see in the store or on tap, you’re gonna say no-way-jose. I postulate that outside of that one-dimensional brew, these guys are totally on fire. I’ve never had a Lagunitas besides that one that I’ve thought was anything less than excellent, and that goes for this UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION SHUTDOWN ALE as well. Said beer, a hopped-up double IPA, is available both on tap and in bottles. It commemorates a twenty-day license suspension the brewery received for some ridiculous transgression of some kind. Now this is the third Lagunitas souped-up IPA I’ve totally adored, the others being FREAK OUT and MAXIMUS. I learned that the former, a Frank Zappa tribute ale (!), is never to be produced again, while the latter is still regularly available in your finer retail beer establishments.

Anyway, UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION SHUTDOWN ALE is a dark amber/ruby ale that I honestly thought was just an “Imperial Amber” until I learned otherwise. It tastes very hoppy, of course. It pours with a large head and has a delicious, almost eye-watering scent, but it’s not that citrus/floral scent you typically get with such beers. I don’t really know what it is, I was too busy drinking the thing. It’s a little bit bitter but only if you’re not ready for such a thing – if your palate has been readied for double IPAs in the past then you’re ready for this. It’s actually “smooth” by the standards of the form. Man, it was really, really good. I’m going with 8/10 and picking up a sixer or two when I can.


According to my Site Meter at the bottom of this page, this site averages roughly 70 “unique visitors” per day. I’m going to assume that about 4 or 5 of you live in the city of San Francisco. This is for you. CITY BEER STORE have a few pretty goshdarn special bottles of beer on the shelves right now – I know because I just returned from there. Fancy some RUSSIAN RIVER DAMNATION, BATCH 23? (this is an oaked version of the incredible Damnation ale). There’s a bunch there, and I even hear they’re all sold out at the brewery itself. What about LOST ABBEY DEVOTION ALE? Cases and cases of it await you, along with PORT BREWING OLD VISCOSITY and LOST ABBEY RED BARN ALE & AVANT GARDE. Wow. Get on your high horse and head on out there, Folsom between 7th & 8th streets.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Like you, I’m a big fan of the “witbier”, the Belgian white popularized by Hoegaarden and Celis White and countless others. It’s defined thusly on Beer Advocate:

A Belgian Style ale that's very pale and cloudy in appearance due it being unfiltered and the high level of wheat, and sometimes oats, that's used in the mash. Always spiced, generally with coriander, orange peel and other oddball spices or herbs in the back ground. The crispness and slight twang comes from the wheat and the lively level of carbonation. This is one style that many brewers in the US have taken a liking to and have done a very good job of staying to style. Sometimes served with a lemon, but if you truly want to enjoy the untainted subtleties of this style you'll ask for yours without one. Often referred to as "white beers" (witbieren) due to the cloudiness / yeast in suspension.

I love that cloudy, yeasty taste that often reeks of oranges & crisp spices. I was pretty excited to try the LOST COAST GREAT WHITE because some folks had written nice things about it, and besides, it’s crafted right up the coast from me. Somehow I’d missed it all this time. Well good thing for that! This beer, as delivered in a bottle at San Francisco’s Knockout Tavern, was a bit of a minor mess. Thin, sourish, watery beer. No hints of orange peel nor coriander – well maybe some coriander, but that by itself doesn’t a beer make. And no, I didn’t put a lemon slice in it - and they offered. I was expecting something much more juicy and refreshing, sour-ish in a good way – even that SOUTHAMPTON DOUBLE WHEAT I tried last year (that everyone but me seems to love) was a good deal better. I’m going with 5/10 and plan to stay away from this one unless I can be convinced I got a bad bottle or something.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


21A as in 21ST AMENDMENT PUB AND BREWERY in San Francisco, CA. There’s a new beer up on the board every time I go there, which is quite often, and more than half the time they’re really good – as is the case with BRAVO VICTOR ALPHA IPA, a new India Pale Ale. Once again, these guys have put together a refined, tingling-with-hops beer, this time more in the English style as a simple bittering agent and not in the American style as hops-unto-hops for their own sake. Though the beer was a bit on the thin/watery side, I minded not the least. Its dryness and yet quick drinkability ensured a quickly-emptied pint glass over a “working lunch” last week, and though alcohol wasn’t too big (I believe in the high 5’s), it was all I could do to keep myself from saying “Yea” to the beckoning barmaiden who asked me if I’d have another. I like it far better than the brewery’s flagship (and canned!) 21A-IPA, and think it also outperforms the DOUBLE TROUBLE double IPA they’ve got going. 7.5/10.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Among the bevy of bountiful delights sent to me from darkest Michigan a couple of months ago was a beckoning bottle of RED TULIP ALE from the NEW HOLLAND BREWING corporation of Holland, MI. If I haven’t said it enough, let it be said once more: Michigan is a craft beer beacon of light, with some of the country’s finest brewers competing for shelf space – Dark Horse, Founder’s, Great Lakes, Bell’s and others. Ring up another one for the “show me” state, home of the Buckeyes! NEW HOLLAND have put together a very interesting amber ale here. Rather than a thin-bodied refresher, you’ve got a fairly dark and deep amber going on here, with tastes of darker fruits to match – plums, prunes, that sort of thing. It’s a cloudy pour, and it tastes a bit on the more dry side, but you won’t mind. A hoppy effervescence adds some points of well, and I like how they’re experimenting just a wee bit with the burgeoning American Amber-slash-red ale form. I’m giving it a 7/10 with all the due respect it deserves.

Friday, July 20, 2007


It took a couple of months of building up the bravery, but I finally took the wraps off the bottle of DOGFISH HEAD 120-MINUTE IPA that my good buddy KG mailed over. He told me he couldn’t finish his because it made his stomach hurt. Others have said it’s too overpowering, so hoppy it makes your eyes water. Still others have fallen down meekly in the face of a beer comprised of 21% (!!!) alcohol. Here’s what I think.

I think 120-MINUTE IPA deserves a few plaudits, with the caveat that I’ll probably never drink it again. First, to make a beer this high in ABV and still render it moderately drinkable is an achievement in & of itself. The general sweetness (almost to the point of being syrupy) reminds one of a barleywine, albeit one that has more hops that man thought possible even five years ago. Second, it did not “destroy” my tongue – after gingerly sipping it for a while and finding it lacking, all my internal workings started to adjust and recalibrate, and all of a sudden I found myself saying, “Hey, I can drink this!”. Its deep orange color gave off the unmistakable smell of hops, as well as the grapefruit aromas that often accompany them. I even finished it, but I won’t say it was a particularly revelatory experience. I also knew there was no way I could enjoy another beer after this one, both from an ABV standpoint and the fact that I’d likely not even taste the next one.

So why should anyone even care? Fair enough. This beer is an experiment in envelope-pushing, and not something that is really set up for enjoyment. I suspect that DOGFISH HEAD concocted it as a publicity move more than anything else, and the fact that they made it tolerable – well, right on fellas. I’m even willing to go as high as 6.5/10 on this one – but do you need to beg, borrow and steal for a bottle or a glass? No my friends, you most certainly do not. Save your shekels for a HOPSICKLE instead – a triple-IPA bargain even at twice the price.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


If you’re looking for a killer drink-three-and-keep-your-wits sort of session ale this weekend, I suggest you let your eye travel beyond that bottle of BLUEBIRD BITTER from the UK’s CONISTON BREWING. This English bitter is now imported into the US and comes in a cool jug-like bottle (ain’t it cool?), and I’d heard some good things about it. Color me disappointed a bit after the quaffing, however. I found a distinct lack of flavor in its folds, only a grassy-ish, chalky taste and perhaps a little more hoppiness than I’d expected. But not enough to think about having another anytime soon. When I reach for a lower-ABV beer (this one’s a mere 4.2%), I’m looking for something more classic and maybe floral/aromatic, the way the English pale ales or some UK bitters taste – especially when you’re over there. That’s just me – I’m certainly not opposed to English beer (hello, Old Speckled Hen and Ringwood Old Thumper!) Bluebird Bitter had everything going for it outside of the beer itself, so that’s why I’m going with a 5.5/10.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Best newcoma of the summa would be Steve over at SUMMER OF BEER, an excellent craft beer blog chock full of outstanding reviews, insights and the like. He’s already drinking all the heavyweights you wish you were. A Californian quaffing SURLY BREWING, NEW GLARUS and DOGFISH HEAD beers? Are you kidding me? Check this guy out and give him some beer dork love when you get a chance!


More and more beer dorks are succumbing to the inter-continental siren song of beer trading and stash-it-in-your-luggage beer transportation; thus, I’ve been able to taste beers this past year that I never thought I’d get to try without making a special and deliberate pilgrimage to other states. Two IPAs completely unavailable on the west coast recently graced my taste buds, one from Pennsylvania and the other from Maryland. I shall dissect them for you presently.

First up was the very subtly named HOP-OCALYPSE from a hitherto-unknown-to-me brewery called CLAY PIPE BREWING straight outta Westminster, Maryland. I gave this one high marks for drinkability – a gentle IPA, with not a small amount of hops, which we generally are in favor of here. Yet the beer gets knocked down a couple pegs for simple, unadulterated blandness. When it’s hard to think of anything to say about beer, even when three opinionated fellas are consuming it, you know it’s probably right there in the middle of the road. As one person on Beer Advocate said, “OK, but there are so many other nice IPAs out there”. As another said, “It's not bad, but it's not great either. It really needs more hop flavor and more flavor in general. Give it a try if you want, although I'd recommend seeking out a better alternative”. My thoughts exactly. 6/10.

The WEYERBACHER HOPS INFUSION fared a little better. When I listen to the CRAFT BEER RADIO podcast, I hear those guys talking about WEYERBACHER BREWING like they are the de facto standard microbrew around where they live in Pennsylvania, sort of like Anchor Steam or Sierra Nevada is around my parts. This amber-ish IPA had more bold flavor than the Clay Pipe IPA did, with a decided floral scent and a nice juicy backbone. Very “west coast”, if I may, with more balance in the sense that it is a very simple IPA and not overpowering in the least. Reminds me some of the LAGUNITAS IPA. If it’s possible to “session” with an IPA, this would be a good one, though I’d prefer one just a little more robust – maybe that BALLAST POINT BIG EYE IPA would fill the bill. Let’s go with 6.5/10. What do you east coasters have to say?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


It’s official – I don’t like SPEAKEASY BREWING’s beer. Though I’m a hometowner through and through, this San Francisco-based craft brewer just hits people in different ways, I reckon. You know that fella CS I was telling you about yesterday, the one who poured me the BROOKLYN LOCAL 1? He and his friend S make Speakeasy beers their “default” choice, as in, “we’re having a barbeque, let’s pick up a 6-pack of Speakeasy”, or “It’s a Monday night, who wants a beer”. You know? Me, I’ve tried pretty much the whole lineup now, and I don’t like them. Let it be said that there’s no accounting for taste, and that one man’s taste buds are another man’s, uh, uh, you get the point. The last link in the chain was this UNTOUCHABLE PALE ALE I had on Sunday night. Did I tell you I didn’t like it? Really “macro” tasting for a pale ale, like something Miller would put out and call “Miller Summer Harvest” or something like that. More malty than hoppy, with little aroma to speak of and a general flatness in taste. Very golden in color, i.e. PALE, not those brilliant oranges you get with beers like THREE FLOYDS ALPHA KING (yeah, I know - unfair!). Why would one bother? Well for me it was to try and disprove my previous lack of enthusiasm for the brewery, but instead it was the final nail in the proverbial critical coffin. 5/10, and that’s just because I’m feelin’ groovy today.

Monday, July 16, 2007


My pal CS did a great turn for mankind (and me) a little over a week ago by inviting me to share in a big bottle of BROOKLYN BREWERY’s LOCAL 1 ale, one that his sister had actually gone way out of her way to procure for him. This beer has been turning heads and pumping up the critical heat the past couple months, and little wonder – it’s outstanding. BROOKLYN BREWING have a fairly great critical rep anyway vis-à-vis their celebrity brewmaster Garrett Oliver and a series of limited-edition beers; their location in the US’ largest metropolis doesn’t hurt either. I am not sure how limited this truly is, but I in case it’s going away soon, you must do everything you can to secure a bottle at once. This strong golden ale is called a “Saison” over at the Beer Advocate site - you can call it whatever ya want. LOCAL 1 has a delicious lightness about it – very estery and yeasty, with a hint of malt complexity that speaks of simple citrus flavors like lemons and grapefruit, as well as a little more sour tastes like pineapple. The carbonation is nearly perfect, too – right about where you want it: bubbly, but not overwhelmingly so. Some speak to the “lacing on the glass” as being something to behold, but you know what a load of poppycock we think that whole trip is. When me and my beer dork pals finished our glasses we all collectively breathed a high rating for this special beer, one that I’ve only improved to 9/10 with reflection (and a run of mediocre beers of late – more on those later this week). Get it whilst you can!

Friday, July 13, 2007


I think that the five-issues-old BEER ADVOCATE is the best beer publication out there – they have exactly the right level of knowledge, appreciation and snarkiness to be both super-informative and highly readable about one of the world’s great topics. Great columnists, great perspective, and a treasure trove of useful information about the one thing that’s really the key for most of us – what to try next. I’ve got a few concerns, though, more related to ensuring they stay relevant and in business for awhile, as theirs is a voice that needs to be heard:

1. They don’t seem to be selling any ads. The advertisers in the new issue are essentially the same ones as in the first, and they are exceptionally few & far between to begin with. Multiple full pages in what is already a very thin magazine are ads for Beer Advocate itself – the web site, subscriptions, and pleas for advertisers. An incredible amount of real estate appears to be available, and it’s not getting filled. This seems strange to me, as there are hundreds of breweries with decent distribution and product to push beyond their borders, and the magazine is even free in most places – so.....why is no one buying?

2. I can read every word in about twenty minutes. Granted, those words are very helpful and well-formed, but not only are there few ads, there’s really not that much content issue-to-issue when you get right down to it. So they make up with it by pushing huge margins on all sides (top, bottom, left, right), by making many photos full-page (which obviously is appropriate depending on the subject), running their own full-page ads (see #1), and by leaving as much white space as they can get away with. When I get a new issue in the mail I am over & done with it over my lunch break, before the burrito has even had a chance to be finished.

3. They make up ridiculous food pairings for beer. Color me not yet 100% sold on how amazingly or naturally beer pairs with cuisine of all types, but these guys have been sold on the concept and then some. Here are some totally out-of-left-field, obviously forced pairings they recommend in the course of reviewing certain beers this past month: “Use it to breathe some life into a plate of weiner schnitzel mit spatzel” (what the hell is that?); “pair it with egg salad sandwich on rye bread with kosher dill pickles” (A beer? Seriously? Do they have to be kosher?); “pair it with a three-egg omelet with goat cheese and fresh basil” (damn it! I only have two eggs and some Kraft singles); “pair it with Columbian-style steak soft tacos with rice and beans” etc etc. I half suspect there’s some half-drunk clownin’ going on as these reviews are being written.

Of course I’ve got more important things going on in life than to worry about a mag put out by people I don’t know, but I had hoped by now that the magazine would be filling out a bit in terms of monthly page & advertiser volume - yet it hasn’t. All my half-kiddin’ aside, does anyone share these rogue concerns or care to dispute them?

Thursday, July 12, 2007


This was not the review I expected to pen when I popped open this illicitly-acquired bottle of BELL’S PORTER from our pal Wortwurst. After all, I downed a bottle of BELL’S BREWERY’s HOPSLAM a few months ago and loved it – the best (and right now only) Michigan IPA I’ve ever had. So it’s cold in Michigan, porters are good for colder months, these guys are gonna serve up a whopper, right? Wrong. I can say with some confidence that BELL’S PORTER is the weakest, most uninteresting porter I have tasted in a great while. I’d compare it to something you’d get at a chain brewery like a ROCK BOTTOM or BJ’S. Super dark, incredibly fluffy head promised freshness and great things to come, but man was I underwhelmed when I finally started drinking the thing. No great flavors lept to the fore and did the usual dance on my tongue, expect maybe a viscous oiliness combined with some deep but flat roasts. Oiliness – that’s totally what I remember. Low carbonation and a weak finish. It was easy to drink, but it wasn’t enjoyable. 4.5/10.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Years ago MENDOCINO BREWING’s RED TAIL ALE was one of a few oases of great craft beer that was relatively well-distributed here in Northern California. Nearly every grocery store carried that brand in particular, and they still do – and often you’ll find nightclubs that only have RED TAIL and ANCHOR STEAM as the only two beer choices worth making (I’m talking to you, BIMBO’S). Me, I think Red Tail’s mediocre at best, and I’ve steered clear from the other MENDOCINO BREWING beers not out of spite, but because these days there’s too much other competition for my Yankee dollar. Along comes the fourth of July, and a good soul thrusts this WHITE HAWK SELECT IPA into my hand, and I’m hooked. Naturally I found the appropriate glassware for it first, to be spared the indignity of drinking it directly from the bottle, a fact that my hosts found amusing. They just don’t understand!!

WHITE HAWK SELECT IPA was a big surprise – a delicious English-style IPA with some serious west coast overtones. That’s beer dork talk for “not too hoppy, but getting there”. They use Cascade hops, which impart some of that piney, juicy, rich-hop flavor you find in so many American IPAs and Double IPAs these days, and yet this one really worked well as a summer refresher, too. Dryer than most IPAs, and I reckon that’s because they’re also using what they call “a very generous dose of English Fuggle Hops”. Ah yes – the Fuggles! It was quite delicious, and actually had more of an alcohol kick than I’d planned on – only 7%, but felt like 8.5% or more. Guess I needed some more hot dogs in me! Folks, if you’ve been misunderestimating MENDOCINO BREWING til now, give this one a whirl – HBJ’s giving it a 7.5/10.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Those cats over at STONE sure know how to wrap their marketing tentacles around the beer dork world. I seriously believed that the hops from STONE RUINATION were going to leave my tongue on fire and bristling with bitterness. Well, their labels actually tell tales of this sort, “you’re not worthy” and whatnot. I don’t buy it – they’re just another top-notch brewer among several, albeit one with some high highs (STONE IPA) and some low lows (OAKED ARROGANT BASTARD). I was scratching my head wondering why I’d never had a RUINATION, their Double IPA, and then all of a sudden a good friend poured half of the pint he’d ordered into my empty and lonely glass. What a great fella! Well, if it’s that firebreathing, mouth-destroying feeling you’re looking for, I’d recommend DRAKE’S HOP SALAD over this one. I will still heartily recommend RUINATION, though – and yeah, it’s pretty damn hoppy. The big surprise was how that wasn't the full story. Thick, chewy, piney taste to it, very delicious and perhaps not as citrus-packed as some other IPAs from down San Diego way are, like BALLAST POINT’s or ALESMITH’s. Very clean and fresh, and very good. I need a whole 22-ouncer to myself to really contemplate this fine beer, but for now, let’s go with 7.5/10, with a repeat engagement definitely in the cards.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Not sure how it happened, but bang-bang-bang, the last three new beers to my lips were all IPAs, and hopefully I’m not giving away too much by telling you they were all pretty much great. Let’s talk about ‘em. The first new one was ordered just 4 fun because I’d never had it – it’s from a hitherto-unknown brewery called KERN RIVER BREWING, located in Kernville, CA (I looked it up – that’s down near Bakersfield way in California), and it’s called JUST OUTSTANDING IPA. Now how about that for a little braggin’? Well they’ve got the brewing chops to back up that claim, let me tell you. JUST OUTSTANDING IPA is an excellent tongue-tingler, as most excellent IPAs are. This one starts out smooth and cirtrus-tanged on the tongue, and once it goes down, whammo – the side of your tongue is buzzing with hops. It’s not overpowering in that sense, which is nice, because it saves its outstanding-ness for the flavor, which is moderately dry, tangy-rather-than-fruity, and fairly well-carbonated. I really, really liked it – a terrific way to get introduced to a new brewery. 8/10 for sure, and I’ll be looking to try the other three in their lineup posthaste.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Decided to order totally blind the other evening at my local pub, so I bellied up to the bar & ordered whatever sounded obscure and vague enough to either be a total smash surprise or a titanic disaster. I figured that DE SILLY LA DIVINE fit the bill, even at (ouch!) $7.50 a glass. BRASSERIE DE SILLY, who make this tripel, are, no lie, located in Silly, Belgium. I’d never heard of them nor the teeming metropolis of Silly itself. So the beer – well, it didn’t pass muster, I’m afraid. It’s a high-alcohol beer (9.5%) that definitely tastes it, giving off some of those fusel alcohol aromas & tastes you hear about, in addition to creamy, caramel & fruit-flavored undertones. Some smoky “notes” as well – now that I’m not too into. Thin in body, but creamy nonetheless, sticky even. Something good is going on here – I definitely warmed to it a bit more as LA DIVINE itself did – but regardless of what I plunked down for it, there are dozens of Belgian and Belgian-style triples more worth your while than this one. 5.5/10.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


One of the drivers that led me to create this site in the first place was an innate need to remember all the great beer I was drinking by name. By assigning a “rating” on a 10-scale (here’s where the HBJ scale is explained), I’d be better able to categorize beer styles and winning breweries, thereby helping me as a consumer and perhaps even help you as a casual reader. These ratings, in order to be easily referenced, would have to be centralized in a single place, I reckoned, and I had the foresight to start throwing them into an MS-Word document from day one.

Today I’m proud and a little embarrassed to announce the unveiling of nearly 17 months’ worth of drinking and dorkitude. You may now view and even download the list I’ve compiled. Perhaps your first reaction is to call the mobile AA unit to an intervention at my house. Let me say in my defense that for these past 17 months, I’ve tried only to drink beers that I’ve never had before, a task that, while slightly more difficult than it was last year, seems never to lack possibilities. I assure you that outside of a tiny handful of joie de vivre-fueled drinking events, all of which I’ve chronicled in detail here, here and here, I’ve not exceeded three adult beverages on any given night. I can only hope that this list, painstakingly compiled in alphabetical order, is what you take with you to the specialty beer emporium this weekend. I have laid myself bare, and I hope that I have not done so in vain.

Download the Hedonist Beer Jive Ratings Bible

Monday, July 02, 2007


I’ve been looking for a Belgian or Belgian-styled beer that could approach the yeasty, almost fluffy effervescence of Russian River Brewing’s DAMNATION, and I think I’ve found it in this outstanding beer from Quebec’s UNIBROUE called LA FIN DU MONDE. Sure, it’s old news to a lot of ya – I know that. Because I personally still have this backlog of untasted single bottles at home, I haven’t followed through on my goal to buy 1 bottle of each UNIBROUE product & try to conquer what I continually read is one of the finest breweries on earth. Eagle-eyed readers may recall that we were fortunate enough to enjoy a big bottle of their EAU BENITE last November, and rated it a big 8/10. I can’t pick up a beer rag or read a beer blog without some pontificating pundit raving about the brewery’s wares. Anyway, I got a jump start when I found this beer being served at an excellent San Francisco Moroccan place called ZIRYAB, which has a Belgian and Belgian-style beer selection of about two dozen.

LA FIN DU MONDE has a bright, wake-you-up aroma of candied fruit and muted alcohol, and the taste of citrus fruits and above all, yeast. It is extremely enjoyable to get down. Its long and easy finish gives you plenty of time to taste what you’re drinking, and from the word go you know you’re drinking an exceptional, high-craft beer. It’s 9% ABV but as we say when beers are this great: you won’t notice nor care. The good news is that it’s distributed all over the United States in addition to Canada, and I believe they even go to Europe as well. I’m going with 9/10, and can’t wait to get to know more UNIBROUE products this summer.