Yesterday I featured four recommended breweries’ offerings to accompany the ALDS matchups in the MLB Postseason: 512 Brewing from Texas and Cigar City Brewing from Tampa Bay for the Rangers and Rays; Brooklyn Brewery and Summit Brewing Company for the Yankees and Twins. Hopefully, Twins fans are loading up on Summit EPA right now to drown their sorrows, as their team was promptly swept out of the playoffs by the Bronx Bombers.
Today, we look at local brews you might wish to partake of while watching the NLDS games, starting with the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants.
San Francisco Giants – Speakeasy Ales & Lagers (San Francisco, CA)
As soon as I had a sip of my first Speakeasy beer, Prohibition Ale, just a few days ago, I knew that a Beer Tour post was forthcoming. With the SF Giants having just clinched the NL West Division title, it was this beer that clinched my decision to do this series on local breweries from the regions that represented the playoff teams.
First, a little about the brewery:
“The Speakeasy was the American public’s response to Prohibition. Speakeasies were locations where if one “spoke easy” (quietly, perhaps needing a password) , entrance to an alcohol-serving establishment was granted. In the flourishing underground scene, American culture grew despite the federal law, with the proliferation of Jazz music, dance and progressive thought. The Speakeasy was born from the American spirit of individual rights and community values.
Speakeasy Ales and Lagers was founded in 1997 in San Francisco’s Bayview District. Since that time it has grown to be a San Francisco landmark with our Big Daddy I.P.A., Prohibition Ale and other amazingly balanced ales and lagers. Speakeasy set out to make legit beers for people in American cities and other areas that appreciated beers built for a more discerning palate.
Today, it’s not so difficult to access such a good brew. Prohibition is one of Speakeasy’s flagship beers, “available in approximately 200 bars and restaurants and 1,000 stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, although bottled beer is available regionally in California, eleven other states and British Columbia as well.” (Wikipedia).
I have to admit, this is one of the best beers I’ve had in a long time. When I posted about it on Twitter I described it as having a “mindblowingly amazingly wow taste.” Does it get any better than that? From first sip to last, the wide array of flavors continued to energize my tastebuds. It has a good amount of hoppiness but not quite as much as an IPA. The hops are complemented by a both spicy and sweet flavors that make it a perfect companion during the fall season.
The smell is spicy and woody, coriander, nutmeg, some sweeter cinnamon and sugar, definitely some solid assortment of hops in here to balance with whatever awesome amount of malt is poured in there to make it such a frothy thick head and dense body.
The taste has it all, holiday spices; coriander, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, mace. Some vanilla too like it was thrown in oak barrels for a while. A tad of pine, some orange type citrus flavors. Malt sweetness balances this well, body is well defined, caramel and brown sugar, maple syrup. It’s got a lot and they’re all well defined in their own right as well, makes for a great experience. dwilson01, beeradvocate.com
Prohibition is a major, major beer win in my book and a great choice to cheer on the Giants with. I drank it during Lincecum’s Game 1 start, so you know there’s some good luck in this beer too.
Atlanta Braves – Sweetwater Brewing Co. (Atlanta, GA)
I have to admit, I’m not personally familiar with any beers from Atlanta, so I had to do a bit of research here. I came across Sweetwater Brewery and thought they had a great story behind their founding:
SweetWater’s roots began back in Boulder, Colorado in the early 90’s while Freddy Bensch and Kevin McNerney were roommates at the University of Colorado, Boulder… Their first step into the profession was washing kegs on the loading docks of a local brewery for free beer. Once they were finished with school, it was time to either find a real job, or get serious in the brewing business. Easy choice, right? Freddy and Kevin headed off to the University of California at Davis aka Brewing School for degrees in Fermentation Science! After that they were off and running brewing beer for other breweries around the west coast, learning their craft while keeping the dream of their own place alive.
In the summer of 1996, the energy and action of the Olympics brought Freddy to Atlanta. He found this town in need of a West Coast style brewery and knew that he and Kevin were just the guys to turn the local brewing scene on its ear with the hoppy, aggressive ales they had been brewing for years.
February 17, 1997 marked the official beginning of SweetWater Brewery, and a new style of brewing and selling beer in Atlanta as the boys wandered around Atlanta in an old van with Freddy’s dog Badger. After ending up on the wrong side of the tracks a few times, they were finally pointed in the direction of Virginia-Highlands and found a few bars willing to take a chance on them. “We’ll give you a shot as long as your dog stops begging for leftovers on our patio” was the cautious approval they needed to get the brand rolling.
So which beer to choose for this feature? I haven’t recommended a stout yet and Sweetwater has one called Happy Ending. Isn’t that just perfect for Braves fans seeking to capture the ultimate happy ending in their fourth World Series title?
As reviewed by the Augusta Examiner:
Full-bodied with a moderate level of carbonation, it doesn’t feel heavy at all and almost dances on the tongue. Things aren’t nearly so hop-forward on the palate, with a dark-roasted coffee presence dominating. Flavors move toward a chocolaty, cappuccino realm before the citrusy, grassy hop notes show themselves bashfully. The finish is a little roasty, with a lingering dryness.
The hop presence here makes this Imperial Stout much more drinkable than anticipated. I would call it more of an American Imperial Stout than a Russian, as the hops are clearly American variety and play such a dominant role. Alcohol is quite well-hidden, furthering this ale’s drinkability and making it a bit of a sleeper. Very nice overall, it would be nice to see how this one changes with age and the hops begin to fade.
Any other suggestions for Atlanta-area brews?