By William Brand
Sunday, September 28th, 2008 at 11:21 pm in Uncategorized.
Made it into Triple Rock, (1920 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley) late Friday afternoon, intent on trying the Pro-Am beer, North Oakland Double IPA, brewed by Triple Rock’s Rodger Davis and homebrewer Nate Smith. (The Pro-Am is a pairing of a professional brewer and a homebrewer to create a beer for the Pro-Am competition at the Great American Beer Festival.
I did try it North Oakland Double IPA and found it asbsolutely excellent. But first, Rodger, poured me samples of his current beers. Triple Rock has had a standard retinue since it opened in 1987, but successive brewers have done their own interpretations. I predict that Rodger will stretch the limits of the recipes and bring us some new, tasty delights.
Right now he has a Schwarzbier, a German-style black lager on that’s unusual. Often the American versions of this German classic are dry as toast. But this one was different: Roast malt nose, taste was very slightly sweet with a dry finish. A higher mash temperature, brought out the sweetness, Rodger said.
He’d just put on his Harvest Ale, served on handpump, It was slightly tart with a big whoosh of hops, pine trees and maybe citrus. Cascades, Rodger said.
He also had a Belgian-style Pale Ale, 5.8 percent with a beautiful, swooney, spicy yeast nose, nice malty taste with hops and spice and lots of fruit in the follow.
We finally got to North Oakland Double IPA. It’s a beautiful dark copper, clean nose with lots of hops. Taste is full with lots of hops carrying through into the finish. This is a very hoppy beer, but it has great balance; the hops don’t overpower . Great balance doesn’t come cheap. It took lots of malt and the beer is 9 percent ABV.
But then, there was a finale: They’re calling it “Christian’s Last Stand.” It’s the last beer made by Christian Kazaloff, who left Triple Rock to become head brewer at Iron Springs in Fairfax in Marin County.
It’s a 10 percent Imperial Stout that’s been aged for two months with coffee and vanilla beans added in the mash. Truly excellent. Don’t drink this puppy and expect to drive.
Photo: North Oakland Double IPA. A copper-hued beauty.