May 14, 2007
Warming Up for Beer Season

With summer drawing near, we felt we needed to prime our palate for hot-weather beer, so Saturday afternoon we swung by Brewfest 2007 at Raley Field, where some 30 brewers each were pouring several examples of their foamy products.

After tasting beers that evoked suggestions of dried flowers, an old mattress, lipstick, chocolate and chlorine, we came away convinced that the best brews were from brewers who have been practicing their craft the longest. They included the dry, toasty and creamy Eye of the Hawk Ale from Mendocino Brewing Co., the hoppy, smoky and caramel-touched India Pale Ale of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., and the refined, refreshing and delicately citric original beer of Anchor Steam.

But we'll be keeping an eye on what to us was a new brewer, Mount Shasta Brewing Co. of Weed, whose Weed Golden Ale was one of the better structured and crisper beers of the day, and whose Mountain High India Pale Ale was almost sparkly in its bright and balanced flavor of malt and hops.

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