Dogfish Head's Festina Peche was one of my favorite beers this summer. It's a seasonal release (unfortunately!), and is described by the brewery as a "refreshing neo-Berliner Weisse, available in 4-packs and on draft during the sweaty months." While I'm glad we're nearing the end of the "sweaty months" here in San Diego, I know I'm going to crave this beer year-round!
Berliner Weisse (German for "Berlin white") is a sour, white beer with a low ABV -- usually around 3-4%. The style is fermented with ale yeast as well as with lactic cultures that give it a signature acidic character. It's often served with flavored syrups as well.
Interestingly enough, the style was given "Protected Geographical Indication" in the European Union, so the title "Berliner Weisse" only truly applies to beers brewed in Berlin. In the 19th century, Berliner Weisse was the most popular alcoholic drink in the city, but the number of breweries that serve it has sadly decreased. However, in the past year I've seen a surge in the number of US breweries that are reviving the style.
According to the Delaware-based brewery, "In Festina Peche, since the natural peach sugars are eaten by the yeast, the fruit complexity is woven into both the aroma and the taste of the beer so there is no need to doctor it with woodruff or raspberry syrup." It really does have a delicious peach taste, but it's not too overpowering. My boyfriend was hesitant to try it because he doesn't care for peaches, but he loved it!
As a side note: I saw a photo on Instagram of Festina Peche being brewed with Sour Patch Kids, and... oh my gosh. Roadtrip to Delaware, anyone?
At 4.5%, I could sip Festina Peche all day long. Its distributed to more than 25 states, and I found it at one of my favorite local craft beer shops (shout-out to Bottlecraft!). You may still be able to find a few 4-packs in your state. But if not, join me in searching for it at the start of next summer!
You see, I have an affliction: dark beers typically make me feel so warm and cozy that I get sleepy. I usually have to drink them while I'm out and about and being social, because if it's nighttime and I'm having a stout at home, I'll be asleep about an hour after drinking it. (Does anyone else have that problem? Please tell me I'm not alone!)
Ballast Point Brewing Company's Calm Before the Storm makes it easy for me to enjoy some of the flavors of darker beer without having to crawl into bed before sundown. A cream ale with coffee and vanilla, Calm Before the Storm is the little brother and "warm weather alternative" of Ballast's famous imperial porter, Victory at Sea. As the name suggests, it's the lighter, lower ABV version (5.5% compared to 10%). Calm Before the Storm is a delicious mix of the light, golden taste of a cream ale, and the delicious coffee/vanilla combination that gives the beer more heft, complexity, and flavor.
The beer is available in limited release in bottles and on tap. I've seen it at my local liquor store in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego, and I was able to pick up at a six-pack at Ballast Point Little Italy, though they didn't have it on draft when I visited. Fingers crossed that it will be around for a while, though, because it's delicious--and a perfect solution for when I want to grab a coffee beer at home and stay awake!
This week, I'm finishing up my six pack of Deschutes' Fresh Squeezed IPA. I'm going to Portland in a few weeks, so what better way to get excited for my trip than by familiarizing myself with some Oregon beer?
Fresh Squeezed IPA is a copper-colored beer that smells like lemon and orange. From the first sip, hops are apparent -- to me, I noticed the Mosaic hops since Mosaic IPAs are all the rage recently -- but their taste is relatively tame due to the citrus flavors (grapefruit, more orange, even some pineapple). The beer finishes with a medium hop bitterness. Overall, this is a smooth IPA with medium body and medium carbonation.
At 6.4% ABV, Fresh Squeezed is almost a sessionable IPA that I highly recommend for spring/summer. It's fruitier than some other IPAs -- in fact, the bottle says, "No fruit was harmed in the making of this beer," so consider yourself forewarned if you're looking for a traditional, hoppy IPA. I personally prefer the more fruit-forward styles, though.
If you have any recommendations for Portland breweries I should visit, please leave a comment. Cheers to visiting new states and trying new beers!
New series alert! Every Thursday, I'll be sharing quick snapshots of what I'm drinking. If you keep up with me on Instagram, you have a pretty good idea of what I'm enjoying that week, but this will allow me a little more space to write interesting facts about the beers and what I like best.
I recently picked up Port Brewing Company's Mongo IPA at Costco. Port is in North County San Diego and makes delicious beers, so I was excited to see them in the craft beer aisle. (Actually, I'm always excited when I'm in the craft beer aisle, but you get the point.)
I first had this beer about two years ago, but I forgot how good it is! It's a classic double IPA with a piney aroma, citrusy front end, and a bitter aftertaste. It uses a variety of hops: Columbus, Amarillo, Centennial, Cascade, and Simcoe, but they aren't overpowering. That's important for someone like me who has only recently expanded into trying more IPAs. As I've mentioned, I usually favor pale ales, reds, browns, or stouts, but because IPAs are everywhere right now, I'm giving them a go.
Port's website has an awesome video about Mongo IPA that is worth checking out. In watching it, I found out that this beer is a tribute to a cat who was nicknamed Mongo. No joke. If you know me, you know my quirky cat obsession and how excited this makes me. This beer is even cooler now.
Here's the beer label, courtesy of beerpulse.com (apologies that it's a bit difficult to see). It has a surfing cat on it!
All in all, this beer has an excellent taste and a cool back story. I expect it will be in my fridge quite often this summer.