It was a day like any other. The commute home was frictionless, and I was pondering a Five Beers to Know lede behind the wheel of my Buick. I reflected on my bold proclamations of the day with satisfaction. Earlier in the CBB chatbox, I had declared “Tom Waits is dumb,” to which no one agreed whatsoever. I don’t even really agree with myself. I appreciate Tom Waits. I have a few of his albums, but when he pops on shuffle when I’m not in the mood, with that gravely voice and offbeat weirdness, I angrily skip it. What even is this? Go away! Is this good if I skip it so much? … Tom Waits is dumb!
As this meaningful debate raged in my head, suddenly a pickup truck cut from the lane on my left, to right behind me, and then into the lane on my right. I steadied my wheel to get a good look at this maniac, and then I see it — a middle finger up against the glass as they pass me. Like it had always been there, ready for me, ready for the whole world. They dipped off the next exit, and I was left to puzzle. What was that all about? Why are we feuding? And why did I call Tom Waits dumb? Did I even mean it? Am I a part of all this reckless bad energy destroying our species and world?
This week’s Five Beers to Know is dedicated to that anonymous, randomly angry pickup truck guy. Let us both find one of these, drink it, listen to some Tom Waits and chill the fuck out. Next time I see you, let’s “too sweet” through our windows.
Tower Brewing revives the awesomely named Monkey Knife Fight
When Tower Brewing rebranded itself from its previous Sactown Union name, one of its top goals was to revive a legendary Sacramento pale ale called Monkey Knife Fight. When its previous home, the fabled Rubicon Brewery, closed its doors in August 2017, Tower Brewing’s current owners, Ken Reiff and Jeff Howes, were heartbroken at the finish of a local institution, a significant stop at any local pub crawl. As Howes put it:
“When I heard the Rubicon was closing, along with many other Sacramento residents I shed a tear. And when the opportunity came to acquire the original recipes for Rubicon’s full array of outstanding craft beers, including Monkey Knife Fight, we jumped at the chance to keep the legend alive and ensure that these magnificent offerings — favorites of so many beer lovers near and far — would live on and not go softly into that good night.”
Howe was good on his word. On Feb. 26, 2019, Monkey Knife Fight will be served in the brewery’s East Sacramento taproom, and it will roll out to retail partners starting March 4.
Brink Brewing celebrates two years with a wild anniversary blend
Brink Brewing, 2018 Great American Beer Festival Very Small Brewery and Brewer of the Year, is celebrating two years in business following a notable year of awards and accolades as well as a 45 percent increase in production from 2017, which included 97 batches and 50 new recipes.
Brink will be celebrating its second anniversary starting on February 15 with an exclusive bottle release of their 2019 Anniversary Blend followed by a weekend of celebrations. This special second anniversary blend was carefully crafted between their First Anniversary Blend (38.5 percent), 2017 Barrel Aged Kelly’s Candy Barley Wine (32 percent), 2018 Armored Heart Russian Imperial Stout (13 percent), 2017 Barrel Aged Duncan Clan Stout (10 percent) and 2018 Night Cap Holiday Porter (6.5 percent) along with Deeper Roots Losantiville cold steeped coffee and copious amounts of vanilla beans.
For their Anniversary weekend, February 15-17, Brink Brewing will be releasing a coveted lineup of special releases including its 2019 Anniversary Blend bottle release beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15.
Boomtown Brewery releases slick new design in its artist collaboration series
Boomtown Brewery is launching a new installment in its canned artist collaboration series called, “Head of the Pack.” The beer is a doozy of a Hazy DIPA brewed and double dry hopped with Vic Secret, Mosaic and Eukanot hops. It clocks in at 8.2 percent ABV with notes of white peach, tangerine and lemongrass.
The arty design for “Head of the Pack” comes from Nate Frizzell, who is a Los Angeles based artist who has shared his work in places all around the world including London, Spain and the Philippines. Frizzell’s subjects convey the quest for identity and the unbridled passion of youth. Head of the Pack is available on draft and in four-packs for $18.
Rogue makes award-winning St. Chuck Smoke available in 22-ouncers
Last September, Rogue continued its domination of the smoked beer style, receiving its 10th medal from the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition for St. Chuck’s Smoke, Rogue’s riff on a classic German märzen-style lager. To celebrate, St. Chuck’s Smoke is now available in 22-oz bottles at all eight Rogue pubs. Chuck’s Smoke delivers a traditional beer style experience with a Rogue twist: Some of the malts in the beer are smoked by hand in Newport by Nate Linquist, Rogue’s cooper. The resulting beer is rich with notes of caramel and a lingering smoke finish.
“Smoked beers originated in Germany as Rauchbier [rauch = smoke, bier = beer], but in the United States, smoked beers have become synonymous with creativity and experimentation, two of our favorite things,” said Rogue President Dharma Tamm. “We’re proud that it’s often our most experimental beers that win awards, and we’re excited to share this beer with our fans and fellow Rogues.”
St. Chuck’s Smoke is named after Nate Linquist’s dad, Chuck Linquist. “Chuck was the second employee Rogue ever hired, 30 years ago,” said Rogue Brewmaster John Maier. “His legacy lives on through Nate, some not-fit-for-print stories and now this beer named and designed after him.”
Wild Leap is showcasing/paying homage to OG hops in this new series
Wild Leap is throwing it back with the release of their new double IPA series, OG. The OG Series will feature classic West Coast hop varieties with Cascade hops debuting. OG: Cascade has a spicy citrus profile and will hit the shelves late February. The OG Series is designed to showcase the original hops that played critical roles in the evolution of the American IPA. These West Coast hops tend to have aromatic floral and citrus characteristics.
“We wanted to do an East Coast take on the double IPA while using some of the old school hops that American IPAs were founded on,” explained Chris Elliott, head brewer. “These hops were the most popular aroma hops available when the American IPAs really began to take off, and we wanted to explore that while incorporating our own modern style.”
The first in the series will feature Cascade hops, giving this beer a spicy citrus flavor. For a modern twist, the bitterness has been kept low for a double IPA. OG: Cascade will have a more floral note than previous Wild Leap beers but will still have the juicy haze we have come to love.
In true Wild Leap style, the OG: Cascade can is designed to prominently feature the Wild Leap buffalo. However, there is an old school twist with an analog television and retro typeface capturing the feel of the days when American IPAs were just beginning.