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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • The Beer Nut: Sip on this six-pack of new beers

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  • It always seems like tons of new beers hit liquor store shelves each and every day during February and March.
    It’s getting to the point where it is hard to keep track of them. It’s even harder to decide which ones to buy unless, of course, you have an unlimited budget. If that’s the case, buy them all, but for most of us, that’s not an option.
    Luckily, I am here for you. I get a chance to try many of the new beers, sometimes even before they’re in stores. So, here’s a six-pack of brand-new beers I recommend all of you try before they’re gone.
    First up is the brand-new Boulevard Brewing Company’s Grainstorm Black Rye IPA. Black IPAs continue to be a popular style, and this is one of the best ones you’ll be able to buy. It is 7.2 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and is brewed with barley, wheat and rye.
    It has enough hops to satisfy a diehard hophead, but the dark malts provide a nice, roasty companion to the bitter citrusy flavors. The addition of rye is one of the best aspects of this beer, because the spiciness provided by rye malt almost acts as a bridge between the hops and the dark malts to bring them together in a marriage of wonderful flavor and balance.
    The Grainstorm Black Rye IPA is available in 750 ml caged and corked bottles and should cost in the $10 range.
    Next up in this six-pack of goodness is the Full Sail Brewery’s Brewer’s Share Vendell Veizen Weizenbock.
    This 7.2 percent ABV weizenbock is a strong wheat beer. Unlike its counterpart the hefeweizen, this is a beer made to be enjoyed when it is a tad cold out there.
    The Vendell Veizen Weizenbock is full-bodied, very malty and has a taste of tropical fruit and bananas.
    Weizenbocks are an underappreciated style that is not brewed all of the time. But when one is brewed right, it can be a phenomenal beer. This is an example of one brewed right.
    The Vendell Veizen Weizenbock is available in 760 ml bottles and should cost you around $9 to $10.
    Next up is the brand-new Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Director’s Cut. This beer is described as a blend of a stout and a pale ale. Whenever I asked one of my beer drinking friends who tried it before me what it tasted like, they said it tasted like a blend of a stout and a pale ale.
    So, I took it upon myself to see if I could come up with a better description. The result -- it tastes like a blend of a stout and pale ale. It looks like a stout, it smells like a stout, but it has the hops of a pale ale and the mouthfeel of a pale ale. The best description I can give it is that it tastes like a pale ale that was made with roasted malts and has a hint of chocolate malts. It’s one of my favorite of the 100 Barrel Series so far.
    Page 2 of 3 - The Director’s Cut is available in 22-ounce bombers and should cost around $6 or $7.
    Moving on to something that is completely different, the next beer is Mystic Brewery’s An Dreoilin. The An Dreoilin is named for an ancient druid ceremony held for the Winter Solstice.
    The An Dreoilin is a winter version of Mystic’s regular saison. It is brewed at colder temperatures. The result is a heartier version of the saison, with stronger hop character. The malt body is still there, and it’s still slightly dry.
    The biggest difference is that the yeast flavor is more dominating in the An Dreoilin. It is a beautifully brewed beer, as is everything Mystic has done in their first year and a half or so. If you are a fan of saisons, this is a must-have beer for you.
    The An Dreoilin is available in 750 ml caged and corked bottles and should cost around $10.
    The next beer in the six-pack is something that all beer geeks should try at least once because of what it represents.
    That is the Samuel Adams New Albion Ale. Quick history lesson - New Albion was founded in California in the 1970s, and most people credit it as being the first craft brewery. Without founder Jack McAuliffe paving the path, craft brewing may have been years behind where it is today.
    This is a recreation of New Albion’s first beer, down to the same yeast preserved since 1978. It is an old-school pale ale. Sure, it may not knock your socks off, but it is a well-done, solid beer. It has some nice hop notes and a full malt body. You could definitely do a lot worse.
    The New Albion Ale is available in 12-ounce bottles and should cost around $7.99 a six-pack.
    And, last, if not least, is the Sixpoint Brewery’s 3Beans, which may be the star of this six-pack.
    The 3Beans is like no other porter I’ve ever had. It is brewed with cacao beans, coffee beans, and Romano beans, which historically, were used to add body to a beer.
    The 3Beans is then aged on toasted American oak. The flavors are intense and amazing. You get a lot of coffee in the aroma, but once you take a sip, the coffee and cacoa are in perfect harmony. The oak adds a vanilla sweetness to it.
    The result is a remarkable beer. It comes in at a hefty 10 percent ABV, so it’s a sipper. Sipping is the proper way to drink this beer anyhow, because you really want to enjoy all of the flavors that 3Beans includes.
    The 3Beans is available in 12-ounce cans, and should run about $10 a four-pack.
    Hope you enjoy this six-pack of new beers I’ve put together for you. And be sure to let me know what I left out, I’m always interested in learning about your favorite beers.
    Page 3 of 3 - Norman Miller is a MetroWest (Mass.) Daily News staff writer. Email nmiller@wickedlocal.com or call 508-626-3823. Check out the Beer Nut blog at blogs.wickedlocal.com/beernut. Follow him on Twitter at @realbeernut or on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/beernutnorman.

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