Sampling beers during Strong Beer Month at Magnolia Pub in San Francisco
5 NorCal Beers You Should Try
Article and photos by Virginia Miller
SANTE ADAIRIUS’ SAISON BERNICE, Capitola
Sante Adarius’ cask
Sante Adairius is Santa Cruz’ beloved beer haven since it opened in May 2012. Run by gracious Sante Adairius co-owners Tim Clifford and Adair Paterno, they not only make some the best beers in the area, but among the more exciting to come along in the massive beer world of California in the last couple years.
When I visited back in January, the place was mobbed on a Sunday afternoon, though at the end of deserted-looking street bordering the freeway. While I enjoyed the like of their Vanilla Joe made with local Verve Coffee, it’s their Saison Bernice (6.5% ABV), named after Tim’s mom’s middle name, that made the strongest impression, with its classic Belgian profile and lively nature.
MAGNOLIA’S PROMISED LAND IMPERIAL IPA, San Francisco
Promised Land Imperial IPA’s 10.5% ABV, long, grapefruit-bitter finish was a standout during Strong Beer Month in February at Magnolia Pub. Thankfully, it’s still on the menu so we can continue to enjoy this bright, boozy beer.
RUHSTALLER’S GILT EDGE CALIFORNIA GOLDEN LAGER, Sacramento
Weekend crowds at Sante Adairus
Ruhstaller Beer uses almost all local, organic hops, grown at 2000 ft. elevation in volcanic soil near Mount Konocti. They’ll inform you that pre-Prohibition, Sacramento was once the world’s greatest hops growing region.
Their understated beers keep winning awards, particularly the refreshing Gilt Edge California Golden Lager. Best of all, they give a percentage of their sales to Pride Industries towards jobs for disabled and mentally handicapped.
PALO ALTO BREWING COMPANY’S COOL BEANZ COFFEE PORTER, Palo Alto
Palo Alto Brewing Company‘s Kasim Syed was brewing in San Jose, serving his beers only at Palo Alto’s Rose and Crown Pub, but demand grew and now his beers are all over the Bay Area. Cool Beanz Coffee Porter is a nutty-chocolate laden standout made with beloved cult SF coffee, Philz.
KNEE DEEP BREWING CO.’s HOPTOLOGIST DOUBLE IPA, Lincoln
Yes, it’s hoppy. In all the right ways. Knee Deep Brewing, located in the town of Lincoln between Sacramento and Auburn, creates award-winning, uber-hopped beers, thanks to Founder/Brewmaster Jeremy Warren, that keep the sometimes maligned category from being merely a gimmick. He crafts drinkable, flavor-intense beers, particularly Hoptologist Double IPA and Simtra Triple IPA.
Cheese platter with beer at Magnolia Pub