Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I drove over hell’s half acre looking for bottles of beer manufactured by Santa Barbara, CA’s TELEGRAPH BREWING on my visit to their hometown a couple of weeks ago. Not that they weren’t out there – I just wasn’t finding them in my sojourns. In the end, I consulted their web site and drove to a downtown liquor store on the list. Scanning their coolers, I didn’t see anything. I asked the friendly customer service professional staffed behind the counter if he carried any Telegraph Brewing products, and he raised an eyebrow and wordlessly pointed over to a lost corner of the store, where two rows of non-refrigerated bombers sat: the CALIFORNIA ALE and the GOLDEN WHEAT ALE. He then proceeded to tell me that I was the first person who’d ever asked for them by name, and the first to purchase them besides. That’s just wrong, I thought, and strode out of the building with a triumphant spring in my step. Little did I know!

Well, that CALIFORNIA ALE, which I enjoyed last week, is just flat-out excellent. Anyone within driving distance of its distribution locations really ought to pick up a bottle or three to go, or stop by the brewery itself during one of their open houses. The CALIFORNIA ALE is really one of the finest combination of sweet fruit tastes and tangy, tart, sour-ish flavors I’ve ever had. If I had to choose the default way it leans – fruit or tart – I’d go with fruit, but it ain’t an easy call. Besides that, it’s a very foamy, carbonated, deep red amber beer, one with some aromatic malts propping it all up. The recipe is one that they say harkens back to some 19th century American brewing formulations, and who are we to disagree? We weren’t around then, but if we were then we’d apparently be drinking in style, as we are now. I am a quick convert to the Telegraph Brewing cause based on the evidence presented herein – 8.5/10 for sure!

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