Beers to enjoy in the new year

Currently pleasing my palate

I’d like to officially welcome the new year and bring these 2 beers into 2009 with me. Having a father-in-law who enjoys brewing and all things beer related, I have been privileged this holiday season to try many new kinds of beer. My current two favorites are pictured and I’d like to take a moment out of everyone’s holidays for a little appreciation.

Red Seal Ale is brewed out of North Coast Brewing Company in California. Not only is the seal cute, but the beer is tasty. I don’t know how to describe it, but the aromatics are a bit floral and it has a nice crisp hoppiness without being overly hoppy (42 IBU’s). A beer snob I know phoo-phooed this beer saying it was unbalanced and watery but I don’t care. It’s really tasty and has a nice clean finish. It’s technically an American Amber Ale. I find my appreciation for hops continues to grow and grow and what I thought was too hoppy years ago is now just right.

To prove my point, take the West Coast IPA brewed by Green Flash in Vista, CA. It’s extremely hoppy (95 IBU), from your first sniff to the finish. It’s intense and I love it. I think it may be too hoppy for most people, maybe on the grassy herbal realm, but I think it’s a great beer that shows off the wide variety of hops used: Simcoe, Cascade, Columbus, and Centennial. Since most hops are grown in Washington and Oregon, I plan to see how they do on my fence this spring. They are quite pretty vines, but I need to find a variety that doesn’t grow like Jack’s beanstalk!

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