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Review: Top Brews and Breweries from Kraftbrew Beer Fest

In Culture
Photo by Jennifer Anderson.

Photo by Jennifer Anderson.

The Summer Kraftbrew beer festival on Saturday was a success from almost every angle. The weather was exactly what you’d expect for California in July, sunny and clear. The crowd was pleasant as well, and the beers were exemplary.

Naglee Park Garage owners Chris Esparza and Louis Silva organized the event and invited several downtown businesses to show off their favorite brews. Good Karma, Kelly’s Liquors, Café Frascati, Harry’s Hofbrau, to name a few, all came out to showcase the beers they are most passionate about. Sveral craft-breweries were there, as well, and festival-goers were able to sample some flavors before they are available at most stores.

With so many delicious choices, it was difficult to keep track of all the breweries, styles, and flavors. Luckily, we got a little help from two guys who really know beer: Jeremiah Harada and Dan Barrera, beer buyers for a local upscale market. The two were kind enough to join us at Kraftbrew and share their thoughts about which beers they enjoy most.

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Jeremiah’s Picks:

Brother Levonian Saison
Ballast Point Brewing Co., San Diego
Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale; 5.5% ABV
Saisons are lighter Belgian style brews, great for a nice warm day. This one pours with a hazy orange hue, light with good carbonation. Notes of lemon and a nice peppery spice with adry finish.
Similar brews: Saison Dupont (Brasserie Dupont – Belgium) a classic, Le Merle (North Coast Brewing – Mendocino), or Jack D’ Or (Pretty Things – Massachusetts)

1500
Drakes Brewing, San Leandro
Style: American Pale Ale; 5.5% ABV
The 1500 is more hoppier than other pale ales, due to its dry hop. It’s more like a lighter/sessionable IPA, than a pale ale. It pours with a cloudy orange hue. Citrus and piney hops upfront followed by subtle caramel malt; bready but bitter finish.
Similar brews: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Mt. Tam (Marin Brewing Co.), Bass (the originator of Pales)

Tripel
Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, Maine
Style: Belgian Tripel; 9% ABV
Allagash Tripel is continuously rated one of the top domestics brews of its style. It pours with a golden amber and has notes of tropical fruit, banana, Belgian yeast, candy sugar and spice followed by a slightly hoppy finish. Very well balanced and great representation of style.
Similar brews: Bosteel’s Tripel Karmeliet (Belgium), Anderson Valley’s Brother Thelonious (Booneville)

Mort Subite White Lambic
Brouwerij De Keersmaeker, Kobbegem, Belgium
Style: White Lambic; 4.5% ABV
Pouring with a cloudy golden yellow, Subite White Lambic is a good choice for/to impress the ladies. It features peachy/white nectarine notes upfront with a mild tartness and vanilla in the finish. Sweet and fruity.
Similar brews: Anchorage’s Whiteout Wit (Alaska), Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche (Delaware).

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