Thursday, July 31, 2008


I’ve said it before, I’ve got no problem ordering up a fruit-flavored beer, though naturally I’m always ready for the letdown that follows at least 50% of the time. Best fruit beer going today? I’m glad you asked: Dogfish Head’s Aprihop. Worst fruit beer? Probably that SWEETWATER BLUE I had earlier in the year. Last weekend me & my son hopped a ferry for his first-ever boat ride, and took it from San Francisco to Larkspur, in Marin County. Needing some lunch – hey! Guess what happens to be at the Larkspur ferry terminus! MARIN BREWING! Wow, what a surprise? ;) (note: that was the first emoticon I’ve ever used in one of my blogs). So over a pizza at the brewery – which you may recall Hedonist Beer Jive just visited for the first time last month – I quaffed a BLUEBEERY ale, which I chose simply because I’d tried the other two choices that sounded interesting last time I was here, and to my disappointment, this place still only was serving the same five beers they had going last month.

BLUEBEERY was decent enough. It’s the sort of light-bodied pale ale that just about anyone can drink, and it’s a smart choice to have on tap for a social setting like this brewery, where many a gaggle of giggling girls was present. Nope, it’s not “girl beer”, but I could see how one might argue that it could be. It’s just a lighter, less-threatening beer, and it is probably only mildly interesting to the beer dork when on field studies as I was. The fruit was not “front-forward”, as they say, and was a satisfying backdrop to a lightly-hopped, zesty, easy-drinking ale. I barely felt any sort of effect from drinking it, which was just about right given my immense responsibilities shepherding a 4-year-old around his first brewery and first ferry. For its time and its place, it’s pretty all right. 6/10, available in 22-oz. bottles and at the pub itself.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Though it seems far less than a year ago that we were talking about STONE BREWING's 11th Anniversary "black IPA", here they are with another anniversary and another fantastic, total curveball of a black beer. The 12TH ANNIVERSARY BITTER OATMEAL CHOCOLATE STOUT is a midnight black imperial stout, clocking in at 9.2% and served only in half pints at the bar I drank it at (I also bought a bottle a few weeks ago that's cooling its heels in my garage). It is quite a treat. Like many Stone beers, love 'em or hate 'em, it has a fairly alcohol-forward profile, but this is covered reasonable well by an avalanche of cocoa, Mexican chocolate and roasted malts, giving it a nice grainy taste that stands up well (i.e. it's thick but not soupy - more like rich and silky). "Perfect for summer"! Not a sweet beer by any means, which is fine with us. I think a full pint of it would've been too much to consume anyway, so grab a bomber, invite two friends over and let the mirth flow upon you. 8/10.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Here are the ten lowest-rated beers in Hedonist Beer Jive’s 2.5-year history. All have earned their shame through a combination of tastelessness, poor balance, absurd flavors and/or complete & utter lack of distinction.

1. PEAK BREWING – Organic Amber
2. GEORGE GALE & CO – Gale’s Christmas Ale
5. KEOKI BREWING – Sunset Island Style Lager
6. AVENTINUS – Weizen Eisbock
7. SWEETWATER BREWING – Sweetwater Blue
8. HEARTLAND BREWING – Farmer John’s Oatmeal Stout
9. THREE FLOYDS – Dreadnaught Imperial IPA
10. ROGUE – 2007 Santa’s Private Reserve

Friday, July 25, 2008


Second in a trio of LOST ABBEY beers I “imported” from Santee, CA last month, total liquid gold that could probably fetch me $60 per bottle on eBay, but that I instead drank in the comfort of my own home while images of dollar bills with wings flying away danced in my head. LOST ABBEY CARNEVALE is another knockout from one of America’s top 2 brewers. It’s a saison/farmhouse ale, but given the old 1-2 and souped up with American hops. It’s an unfiltered beauty with a real subtle complexity, very crispy and “snappy” and quite light-bodied and soft on the tongue. It pours a nice golden color, not that murky brown you’ll see in some saisons, and it retains this pillowy head of foam for a nice long while, so much so that it’s a little infuriating waiting for it to calm down so you can drink the damn thing.

It seems almost a shame to have so many single-batch beers being created by this brewer, barely distributed and never to see the light of day again. I obviously wouldn’t care, but these are seriously among the world’s great beers (GIFT OF THE MAGI, anyone?), and a couple of them even put LOST ABBEY’s own difficult-to-find regular lineup to shame. Not even a mediocre beer yet by these guys, and CARNIVALE’s a 9/10 in my book.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Got a bottle of this FLYING MONKEY FOUR FINGER STOUT the other day from the same trade I made that brought me the whole BOULEVARD BREWING SMOKESTACK SERIES. This was a “throw-in”, and I thought it was a pretty generous extra to put into the box, considering that it costs an additional $47 in shipping for every bottle you put in. FLYING MONKEY are based in Olathe, Kansas, the land of Dorothy & Toto, and I’m guessing it’s no accident that they named the brewery after the famous winged monkeys summoned by the Wicked Witch of the West to vanquish the aforementioned (“Wizard of Oz” is huge in our house right now, given that a 5-year-old lives there). But what of their stout? Well, it’s kind of a mixed bag. It certainly is black – blacker than black – as black as OLDER VISCOSITY, and that’s pretty damn black. It’s also got quite a bite to it, with a taste of charred grain, coffee grounds and slight chocolate. I only really like one of those things. Heavy roasted feel across the tongue, which my notes capture as being “strange”. I’m not sure what to make of it; I got it down without a lot of complainin’, but that doesn’t say a whole lot, does it? 6/10.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Beer hounds the world over are gossiping about the arrival this month in bottles of RUSSIAN RIVER BREWING’s double IPA, PLINY THE ELDER. This beer’s been an on-tap favorite of many for a few years now, with some folks describing it in rapturous terms and traveling through hell’s half acre to drink a mere pint of it. I guess, having had a few pints of this in my time, I’ve never quite really understood the whoop-de-do. Well now those very same pints are in bottles, at least in a few select markets, and I picked myself up a bottle last Friday to see if this very good, if exceptionally overrated beer, had any different mojo working when bottled. I report: it does not. PLINY THE ELDER is another rock-solid west coast IPA, with a distinctly piney, almost oily character that sets itself a wee tad apart from some of the others, and naturally it’s hopped-up as hell. It tastes quite bready, with grapefruit being the predominant fruit flavor, though again, it’s got that pine forest thing going on that must be what’s driving the kids crazy out there in the beer forums. Hard for me to understand why this IPA, of all IPAs, is so exceptional. It’s a good one, but in a blind tasting if you told me it was from Sacramento Brewing or Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing or Osprey Springs Ales & Lagers, I’d totally believe ya. 7.5/10. My previous score stands.

PS – I bought a bottle of BLIND PIG IPA as well, and that one – well, that one deserves every bit of hype it gets thrown at it. We’ll see how it fares out of a bottle later this week.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Last year there were three major arrivals in the San Francisco Bay Area for lovers of fine beer: THE TRAPPIST in Oakland, easily one of my favorite bars going; THE MONK'S KETTLE in San Francisco's Mission District, a place I'm sorta on the fence about due to their high prices & limited seating; and LA TRAPPE, in the famous olde-world San Francisco Italian neighborhood of North Beach. I've made it to the former two a couple times or more, but I'd never set foot in LA TRAPPE. La Trappe's a Belgian restaurant, see, but it's also a bar featuring over 180 bottles beers and a Belgian tap list that's nothing short of amazing. Me & DP checked this place out a couple of weeks ago, and over much shuckin' and jivin', hijinks & shennanigans and even a little bit of chicanery, we got a fantastic meal and maybe the best triple-punch of beers I've had in many a moon.

To start with, I fear for LA TRAPPE's future. Sure, we were there on a Wednesday night, but to have only 2 tables full at 7:30pm during the height of tourist season was a total bummer in the summer. This pain and fear of impending loss was made all the more acute by how wonderful this place is. Terrifically friendly (if a little "green") staff, nice layout, happening location, cool secret downstairs beer bar, and best of all, an outstanding plate of grub. We both ordered this very fresh, "very artisanal" plate of Belgian chicken and vegetable strew - it has some sort of Belgian name that I neglected to jot down, and is native to the city of Ghent. Hey! We know a guy from Ghent! I asked the Belgian waitress if she knew Ton Arnaert, and she slapped my face. Serves me right, I guess. Anyway, the menu is split between Belgian specialties (sadly, no fondue) and - uh - burgers & pub food. I'm telling you, go Belgian all the way here, because they've got a superstar chef workin' the sauces back there. Great meal.

The three beers I had were, like I said, maybe the finest triple threat I've put together since my last visit to the Russian River brewpub. Would you believe me if I said WESTMALLE TRIPEL was the worst beer I had of the night? And that it still ruled? Here's what went down:

WESTMALLE TRIPEL - I know this is supposed to be the tripel to end all tripels, and pretty much the standard-bearer for the Trappist style. I admit my shortcomings when I say that the one I had this evening was only my second. This one gives you an immediate zing, a very big, strong and complex herbal zing at that. Very spicy and peppery, and it wears its very high 9.5% alcohol content well. I may have called this a 7.5/10 in the past, but now I think it's grown in stature to a big 8/10. (I recognize that there are those who believe this to be the finest beer in the world - I'll keep trying it out to see when I agree).

DE PROEF ZOETZUUR FLEMISH ALE - Whoa. I was in the mood to try something a little more sour, and this Flanders Red Ale was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Only have tried one other beer from De Proef, and that was their team-up with PORT BREWING to make "Signature Ale". This one's quite a bit better than that fine ale. It's a burgundy/red ale, a fantastic mix of tart and sweet, with the predominant taste being not-quite-ripened cherries. Smooth as all get-out, and retains all the "musty" character you'd want in a sour while still being very drinkable. Grab this with extreme prejudice should you ever come across it. 9/10.

GOUDEN CAROLUS AMBRIO - After that "Zoetzuur" I was definitely in the mood for drinkin' if you know what I mean. What else could this place throw at me? Can you believe they upped their game even more? GOUDEN CAROLUS AMBRIO was even better! It's a thin-bodied, Belgian-style amber/pale ale, and it's nothing short of one of the most flavorful beers I've ever had. Everything was going right with this one - fruit and caramel, some woody/barrel tastes, and this off-the-charts drinkability that would make this veeeery dangerous at Tom Arnaert's next kegger/beer bongathon in Ghent. I saw someone who wrote that it reminded him/her of UNIBROUE's MAUDITE, and given how much I love that beer, that's high praise indeed. This one might be even better. I totally showed this beer my O face. 9.5/10.

I'm going to patronize this place as much as my wallet and schedule will allow; it far exceeded my expectations, and any San Francisco pilgrims would be well-advised to check it out. Don't worry, it looks like you'll get a table.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Ahh, I remember last year’s unveiling of the AVERY FOURTEEN, the 14th anniversary beer from AVERY BREWING, like it was yesterday – what a miraculous discovery that one was. I’m a huge Avery Brewing fan thanks to their way of amassing and combining a wide array of brewing styles and techniques, and always coming up smelling of roses (and hops, and yeast, etc.). These guys have been punching above their weight for years now. So of course it was a no-brainer to buy a 22-oz. bottle of this year’s anniversary ale, AVERY FIFTEEN. This one’s great as well, though it does not ascend the lofty heights of its predecessor. I’m actually glad I liked it as much as I did, as a well-schooled friend told me that he’d had it earlier in the week and it had been a “pour-out”. Ouch!

AVERY FIFTEEN tastes like it just arrived on the early boat from Belgium along with the fondue pots. A distinct floral smell, and immediate taste of hibiscus (yeah, seriously!). A little mild, tart funk, much like you’d find in a classic Trappist tripel like the WESTMALLE (more on that one next week). Complex and big, and an almost light orange in color. They say it’s supposed to taste of figs. I don’t taste any, but I don’t care. This is a unique beer that’s highly drinkable for the amount of experimentation going on inside of it., and I'd recommend it to any dabbler in the craft beer arts. 7.5/10!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


There's a fantastic new resource that's now officially launched after a short "quiet period" - it's the CALIFORNIA BEERZINE, and they've even seen put to publish one of my articles called "Blessed Are The Beer Dorks". I wrote it for their launch and in celebration of you and me. You can read that here.

California Beerzine is partially the brainchild of HAIR OF THE DOG DAVE, aka David Stickel, creator of one of the finest beer-released blogs "of all time". It looks like he's recruiting some heavy hitters to get this thing off the ground, like Jessica Jones, aka THE THIRSTY HOPSTER, and the HOT KNIVES fellas. Quality all the way down the line - it promises to be an outstanding place to go and look at pictures of beer whilst salivating over descriptions of beer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Cruised into San Francisco’s TORONADO the other night for a nightcap – it ended up being the penultimate beer before the nitecap – and saw that RUSSIAN RIVER BREWING had a special new beer on the big board, “HAPPY HOPS”. Are you kidding me? That’s the worst beer name since Marin Brewing’s “Hoppy Holidaze”. It sounds pretty tossed-off, and at some level, this beer sort of tastes that way as well. Not to say it’s bad – it’s never bad with these guys – just unremarkable by Russian River Brewing standards. HAPPY HOPS tastes like a straight-up single IPA or hoppy blonde ale. It has a very slight hop bite, and is wrapped in this light-to-medium bodied pale ale, with a little pine taste sneaking in to remind you of greater glories like BLIND PIG IPA and PLINY THE ELDER. If what I read online is true – that this is their brewpub-only AUD BLONDE with a dose of hops thrown into the kettle – well, that’s pretty much what it tastes like – an experiment with middling-to-good results. 7/10.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I sent my poor pregnant sister into the wilds of Santee, California to procure me a set of LOST ABBEY BREWING rarities. Figured, she lives down there, I don't; she can't drink beer, I can; I have money for baby toys; she needs baby toys. It all worked out, and then some. She got me three 22-oz. bottles of splendor, all three of which will be reviewed on this blog either presently or in the near future. Let's start with what I now believe to be the finest beer ever created by incredible, world-beating brewer Tomme Arthur and his Lost Abbey team: GIFT OF THE MAGI. I'm going to get my 10/10 rating out of the way, and then tell you why.

I drank this with another teetotaller, my wife, who demanded none of the beer and yet persisted with my lip-flapping and political ranting as the 9.5% ABV warmed my noggin. GIFT OF THE MAGI is, as they say, "a burnished gold elixer", and a dry-hopped biere de garde. It is a muted orange in color - a burnished gold, you might say - and it contains both a deep roasted taste and a very (very) mild bit of funkiness. The primary flavor is honey, I'd have to say, but not honey like you find in some Trader Joe's contract-brewed knockoff, but the finest and most rare of honeys, brought to Jesus Christ himself along with a pot of frankencense or whatever. I swear to g*d, I'd drink this just about every time when put up against any other beer. It immeidately goes into my favorite beers of all time list, and I'll do anything to get another bottle of it. Again, 10/10 if you're skimming. Wow.

Monday, July 14, 2008


“Farmhouse” is in, folks. It’s Summer 2008’s choice beer term. Belgian saisons are hot hot hot. With that in mind, I picked up a bottle of LA BIERE DES COLLINES SAISON 2000 farmhouse ale, created by Brasserie Ellezelloise in Ellezelles, Belgium. You know how some bottles of beer just look like they’re going to taste great, even when you’ve never heard of nor read anything about them? The marketing on this thing just screamed “Drink me”, and that I did. The SAISON 2000 Farmhouse ale was, as we’ve come to expect from this olde-world style, very “earthy” – a tan-colored, exceptionally delicate and smooth thirst-quencher. That’s what I hear the peasants used to say after a long day of manual labor, as they were throwing this stuff down their throats by the bucketful. This particular version was not so remarkable in that I’ve very little to say beyond what I’ve just said – but hopefully you’ll believe me when I say you might want to pick up a bottle to toss down after a long hard day in front of your laptop. 7.5/10.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


MARIN BREWING, I’ve long thought, is a semi-forgotten brewer in the San Francisco Bay Area, nestled as it is within an hour of Russian River, Lagunitas, Moylan’s, Bear Republic and some other heavy hitters. Their beers have always satisfied me, though I’ve chided myself on recent occasions for not really exploring the lineup. They’re always available in bombers in & around this area, and they’re always on my “I’ll try it someday” list. So me an CM decided we needed to make “someday” “today”. Last night we headed up there to see what the dealio was with this place. Here’s what we found.

First, if you know anything about Marin County in 2008, it’s not at all about hot tubs, hippies and yoga. No, it’s about wealth, wealth, wealth – as it’s always been. With wealth and youth comes a certain brand of attractive, well-dressed, well-coiffed female, and their only slightly more slovenly male counterpart, out for a drink and a laff at 6:30pm on a Tuesday night. The brewery, located as it is within a shopping center (!) in Larkspur, was crawling with these types. Not your usual brew doggie scene at all. The place is jovial, loud, high-ceilinged, and a little by-the-numbers for my tastes. Food was quite good, if you like burgers and onion rings (and I do), though there was much more to the menu than your pub basics. Let’s talk about the beer. Here’s where the evening fell down for me a bit. I was expecting a good portion of the entire MARIN BREWING lineup to be on tap here, as well as 2-3 brewery-only surprises. I most wanted to try the ALBION AMBER, which I’ve heard good things about, as well as the TRIPEL DIPSEA , which I had last year and loved. Nope, only a mere 6 beers on tap – two of them were fruit ales, one light blonde ale, their stout, and then the two I tried. I reckon they may only have the ability to serve what they’ve just produced that week or month, but it sort of negates the need for me to make repeated road trips across the Golden Gate Bridge. Spoken like a true beer dork, right?

Anyway, first up was LEFT END PALE ALE, an unfiltered, tangy pale ale. More hoppy than I expected, with a sharp citrus taste. Somehow for an unfiltered ale, it was much more “clear” than I expected. Liked it, didn’t love it, but it’s certainly worth a go if you’re up here. 6.5/10. I then moved on to the only “special/limited” choice on the menu board today, and that was Marin’s DOPPLE WEIZEN. That’s “big-ass wheat beer” in English. It was served in a small 10-oz. glass, and has an ABV of 7.8%. It’s a fluffy, very strong hefeweizen with no head at all. Also very clear and thin-bodied. Doesn’t have that je ne sais quoi that Southern Tier’s Heavy Weizen has, not by a long shot. Very good beer, but I have to admit I was expecting to walk out of here with a couple of new ringers under my belt. 7/10.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I made a big beer trade two months ago in order to land the entire BOULEVARD BREWING “Smokestack Series” of special-run, one-time-only beers. There were 4 in all: a saison, an IPA, a tripel and a quadrupel. Astute readers may remember that me and a couple of pals knocked out 3 of the 4 in one fell swoop – the results are posted here. Would the final beer, a quadrupel called THE SIXTH GLASS, be able to best the “LONG STRANGE TRIPEL”? Could it actually score a hallowed 9, 9.5 or 10 on the 10 scale? I decided to find out one evening at home. Armed with Season 3 of “The Wire” and my Chimay glass, I went to work. I knew it wouldn’t be an easy assignment. At 10.5% alcohol, THE SIXTH GLASS is a live one. A hot one, too – a beer that immediately smacks the taste buds with that eye-watering fusel alcohol taste. That’s a taste I’ll never get used to, and part of the reason I’m not much of a spirit drinker. I don’t like it in beer and never have, and I love it when a double-digit ABV beer finds creative ways of balancing that taste out of the equation. This one did not. It’s a beautiful amber brown color, with a medium-syrupy texture that unfortunately is not smooth of “fluffy” enough. I like my Belgian-style beers to be pillowy and/or well-balanced overall, and despite some pretty intense yeasty tastes, this one just did not do it for me. It’s a shame – out of the 4 beers, two were excellent, and two weren’t very good at all. This falls into the latter camp. 5.5/10.

Monday, July 07, 2008


I’m one of those dwindling NEW BELGIUM BREWING partisans, dwindling at least in the sphere of craft-beer dorks, who see the wide availability and continued high drinkability of FAT TIRE as some kind of sacrilege. Having recently completed a round of trying out all of the key “macro micros” again, I believe that Fat Tire is the best of the bunch, beating my old favorite Anderson Valley Boont Amber and other 1990s studs like Pyramid Hefeweizen for sheer, good-time beer enjoyment. But no, we’re not here to talk about that today – we’re hear to rain praise upon the finest beer I’ve ever tried from this Fort Collins, Colorado brewer. It’s called “LE FLEUR MISSEUR”, and it’s only available on tap around the USA. It’s a beer that the brewery put together for its employees back in 2003 to celebrate their 15th anniversary, and I guess it was so well-received that they’re resurrecting it as part of a special-run, limited-edition, tap-only series of specials in 2008.

LE FLEUR MISSEUR is just a marvelous creation. A spicy, light pale ale that resembles a wit in both color and in some style elements, yet has a distinct fresh, floral taste to it, with a special emphasis on pineapple. Yeah, pineapple. And it totally works. I tried this thing in a pizza pub in Little Rock, Arkansas a couple weeks ago (VINO’S), and I was seriously tempted to just drink this one the whole night and ignore the bountiful house brews. It’s incredibly good, and I hope it lasts on tap through the entire summer. 9.5/10.

Friday, July 04, 2008


I'm interested in hearing about any surprise discoveries you've encountered in travels to other states. For instance, a beer you brought back in your suitcase, a beer you traded for from someone far away, or something you found on tap somewhere that you could never get at home. These "interstate ephiphanies" are a blast, and they're what makes beer travel so much fun. My personal list of nine beers I could never find in San Francisco, but was blown away to discover in one of those 3 fashions above, are:

1. THREE FLOYDS - Alpha King (Indiana; received in a trade, and got on tap in Chicago)
2. BROOKLYN BREWING - Extra Brune (New York; tried on tap in Brooklyn)
3. DARK HORSE - Tres Blueberry Stout (Michigan; received in a trade)
4. DENNISON'S - Weizen (Ontario; tried on tap in Toronto)
5. SOUTHERN TIER - Heavy Weizen (New York; smuggled home in a suitcase)
6. BROOKLYN BREWING - Local 1 (New York; a friend smuggled it home in a suitcase, and shared)
7. BOULDER BEER - Hazed & Infused (Colorado; tried on tap in New York, then smuggled a bottle from Denver in a suitcase)
8. GOOSE ISLAND - 312 Urban Wheat (Illinois; received in a trade)
9. CAPTAIN LAWRENCE - Saint Vincent's Dubbel (New York; a friend smuggled & shared)

What about you? C'mon, share your discoveries in our comments section!

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Of the 60 hours or so that I spent in Little Rock, Arkansas last week, I'd have to rate the 3 spent at VINO'S near downtown as the best. VINO'S is a pretty unassuming little "pizza pub and brewery", as they call themselves, and we're talking maybe 1500 square feet or so all told, kitchen and tanks and tables included. Not only do they make an excellent meat-lover's pizza and a superlative vegetarian pizza; not only do they serve excellent non-house beers like NEW BELGIUM's Le Fleur Misseur on tap (more on that another time); but their own beers are fresh, high-quality, I-wish-they-bottled-'em ales.

Let's start with the IPA, as we so often do. Their PINNACLE IPA is a creamy, dark orange dreamsicle of a beer, fairly light-hopped for the style. They did their best to keep the bitterness in check, and therefore this is the sort of IPA you used to see 5-10 years ago, before uber-hopping really took off. It's really, really good - the best local beer I tried out here. 7.5/10. I then moved on to the FIREHOUSE PALE ALE. This one was knocked down a notch and a half simply out of boredom. It is a malty pale ale, slight hops, lightly redolent of fruit - fairly uneventful but solid enough. You'd drink it if you were thirsty, that's for darn sure. 6/10. This is a cool place, definitely first on my radar over Bosco's and the Flying Saucer bar next time I get into town. For more Little Rock beer spelunking, check out this post here.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


I’ll keep this as brief as it deserves to be. Last week in Little Rock, Arkansas, me & a co-worker decided to try out the FLYING SAUCER DRAFT EMPORIUM, which is a chain of beerhalls in the American South. You may recall we went to the one in Nashville earlier in the year; this one is situated in downtown Little Rock, right in the city’s small-ish entertainment district. On a Tuesday night, it was packed for pub quiz/trivia night, and at 10pm it appears that the intoxication level was quite high. Good times. Having already downed several pints at VINO’S a couple of miles away (more on that another time), I gave myself one roll of the craft beer dice at this place, one lone pint to close out my stay in Little Rock. As it turned out, I rolled quite poorly. I chose the PRESIDENTIAL IPA from local brewer DIAMOND BEAR BREWERY, and regretted the decision from the word go. This IPA was just awful. Hopped in a strange manner, redolent of soap, and possessing a weird sour tang that made me wonder if it was “off”, the Presidential IPA reminded me of eye-watering homebrew that you drink with a wince & furiously nod your head to as your homebrewer friend looks closely for your reaction. Locals only for sure. Wow. Maybe the worst beer of the year. 2.5/10.