Category: Beer Worth Earning

A Beer Worth Earning

Mendocino Brewing Red Tail Ale

By Derrick Peterman

When Mendocino Brewing’s Red Tail Ale hit the shelves over 30 years ago, it was a radically different beer during a time when light industrial lagers dominated the beer market.

While a lot has changed in California’s beer landscape since then, this brew remains one of the classics.

Amber ales aren’t always the most exciting beers in these days of über-hoppy IPAs and everything-but-the kitchen-sink brews you’ll find these days, but beers like Red Tail Ale are underrated.

It’s drinkable, yet hardly boring. It’s complex, with its caramel character accented with deeply toasted malt note and an earthy finish. A radical brew when it debuted long ago, and pretty damn good today.

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A Beer Worth Earning

New Belgium’s Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale

By Derrick Peterman


Ice cream and beer is an unlikely combination, but New Belgium Brewing and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream pull it off with their winter release of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale.

They’re partnering with Protect our Winters (POW), an outdoor sports organization devoted to raising awareness for climate change. In addition to a portion of the beer’s proceeds being donated to POW, the three organizations are planning a series of rallies across the country with letter writing stations, POW athletes speaking out about the dangers of climate change, raffles, and of course beer and ice cream.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale is brewed with chocolate, vanilla, and brown sugar added to a Blonde Ale base. The resulting light golden brown ale suggests cookie dough in liquid form, without being heavy or syrupy sweet. It’s a tasty, …

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A Beer Worth Earning: Stone Brewing’s Imperial Russian Stout 2015 Release

Stone Brewing Co. Imperial Russian Stout

Stone Brewing Co. in San Diego is known for producing “big character” beers. Specifically hop-intense pale ales like their “Ruination”, which includes their unique “Enjoy By” line. The “enjoy by” line encourages drinkers to consume the beer by a printed date for maximum freshness.

However, Stone’s Imperial Russian Stout is a far cry from their hoppy best sellers. This 2015 Release is a malty, indulgent beer that pours heavier and darker than used motor oil. It is extremely complex with notes of chocolate, coffee, currant, and anise (a flavor similar to black licorice). This beer is almost a meal in itself- perfect for after a century ride, a hike up half-dome, or a day chasing surf breaks.

The 2015 Imperial Russian Stout is sold in 22oz bottles, and touts a hefty 10.6 ABV. This brew did a number on me- lighter drinkers beware!

Stone …

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A Beer Worth Earning: Bear Republic’s Grand Am Pale Ale

Bear Republic: Grand Am Pale Ale


Bear Republic Brewing in Healdsburg is best known for their iconic Racer 5 IPA. As good as Racer 5 is, it unfortunately overshadows the rest of Bear Republic’s excellent line-up. Case in point is Bear Republic’s Grand Am Pale Ale, a hop forward Pale Ale that could probably pass for an IPA if you didn’t know any better. Grand Am has a lot of the classic piney and grapefruit flavors you’ll find in West Coast beers, but more restrained in balance with the sturdy malt backbone than an IPA. The result is a drinkable and more accessible beer for those who prefer a little less hop wallop.

There’s more to Bear Republic than just brewing great beer. Bear Republic is making big investments to become carbon neutral. They are installing the world’s first bioelectrically enhanced wastewater pretreatment plant. This system will provide 25% …

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A Beer Worth Earning: People’s Porter

Sana Cruz Mountain Brewing: People’s Porter

SCMB.Peoples.PorterOne of the first organic beers I ever tried remains one of my favorites.  It’s The People’s Porter from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing (SCMB). This beer started as a homebrew between brewer Emily Thomas of SCMB  and Tom Perrozi behind the brewery. It turned out to be such a hit that SCMB decided to add it to its regular line-up. It’s brewed with cold pressed organic coffee which really shines through its roasted malt and smoky character. A little vanilla is added to round all those great flavors.
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing’s tap room with its earthy, quirky interior on the West Side of Santa Cruz has long been a place road cyclists and mountain bikers have congregated at the end of their rides to refuel with a pint or two.  There will soon be more room to accommodate the increasing crowd of bikers, …

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