I have the privilege , no wait…the honor, of representing California in this edition of the Six-Pack Project. It’s a new, collaborative effort between beer bloggers from around the country to highlight a six-pack of our state’s native brews that we believe best represent what the beer culture of our respective states offer. If someone is coming to visit, what bottles or cans would we want to share?
Here were the rules:
- Pick a six-pack of beers that best represents your state and/or state’s beer culture.
- Beer must be made in your state, but “gypsy” brewers are acceptable, so long as that beer is brewed with an in-state brewery and sold in your state.
- Any size bottle or can is acceptable to include.
- Current seasonal offerings are fine, but try to keep selections to year-round brews as much as possible. No out-of-season brews preferred.
Many people think of sunshine and great weather when it comes to California. With this in mind, I picked the best beers that represent California’s summer vibe:
- JosephBrau Brewing Co., Summer Brew
San Jose, CA
This is a Kölsch-style beer, which means it contains ale yeast but is cold-conditioned so that it spends a lot of time at refrigerator temperatures. It resembles the wheat beers that I’m so fond of. It’s a very clean beer and great for warm weather (which we’ve been blessed with in San Francisco as of lately). There are also subtle flowery notes. Overall, a great session beer that goes down much easier than trying to correctly pronounce Kölsch.
- Russian River Brewing Co., Pliny The Elder
Santa Rosa, CA
Ah, the Russian River Brewing Co. HopHeads go nuts over their Pliny and for good reason. It’s a double IPA which can be very rare, considering that they are best had within 2 or 3 months. It has even been called one of the world’s best India Pale Ales. I would definitely not consider myself a hophead, however this beer has citrusy tones that counterbalance the hops. It’s a great beer to sip while brewing beer at home. The color is bright amber and a solid head of foam. Another reason to enjoy: it’s 8% ABV. Now that packs a punch.
- Anchor Brewing Co., Anchor Steam Beer
San Francisco, CA
Anchor Steam has a deep amber color that comes with a solid head of foam. It’s both refreshing and flavorful with enough hops to add some serious character. Maybe it’s the San Francisco air but I also taste hints of bread as if some sourdough was recently taken out of the oven. It also has a clean, crisp finish which goes great with a meal. There are also some solid earth tones which makes this beer very unique. A must try.
- 21st Amendment Brewery, Hell or High Watermelon
San Francisco, CA
This wheat beer is very unique and unlike anything I’ve tried before. The carbonation is high, as is the style with a wheat beer. At first, it’s very easy to assume this will be some sort of liquified jolly rancher given that it’s a watermelon beer. It definitely has a bit of a “candy” flavor and is no way something I would drink on a daily or weekly basis. However, it’s definitely worth a try just to say you’ve tried it. So put aside any manly pretenses and give it a taste even if it’s out of your girlfriend’s cup.
- Lagunitas Brewing Company, A Little Sumpin’ Weizen
Lagunitas has been known for producing some pretty impressive beers. This beer is no different. I tasted strong flavors of banana. If you are a fan of hefes it should be on your “to try” list. It’s got a great mouth-feel with a bit of an alcohol bite. The first few flavors of this are the most enjoyable. It has notes of berries and wheat. They unfortunately fade a bit which is the only downside.
The berries and wheat flavors are very prevalent in the smell. If only they made a cologne, which would be the better alternative to the current method of pouring it over your head.
- North Coast Brewing, Scrimshaw Pilsner
Fort Bragg, CA
Although this is a pilsner, this beer has a strong resemblance to a hefeweizen. Clean with hints of banana this is another great beer to have on a warm California day. It’s a great balance between the malt flavors that I enjoy so much and a very interesting spicy hop profile that gives it a crisp taste. The color is a bright yellow with a good amount of carbonation. For a barbeque this would be an excellent beer.
Here are the links to the other Six Pack Project posts from around the country:
- Ohio by Tom from Queen City Drinks
- Illinois by Grant of Hop Brained (focus on Chicago – rest of state coming in July)
- Maryland by Oliver of Literature and Libation and Douglas of Baltimore Bistros and Beer
- New York by Lacey of Once Upon A Stein
- Kentucky by Tom and Carla of Hoperatives