Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Tasting North Oakland Double IPA (and lots more) at Triple Rock in Berkeley

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.

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  • Nathan Smith

    Glad you enjoyed the beers William! It’s cool to see the Triple Rock beers change over the years, that’s the beauty of a brewpub is that the brewers have that freedom a little more than a big packaging brewery. One amusing note – the Schwarzbier is called “Black Hoodie” – something that Rodger’s wearing pretty consistently wherever he goes. And just to prove once again how well commercial brewers collaborate with each other, the yeast for Black Hoodie came from a batch of Linden Street Dark Lager and the yeast from the Belgian-style pale ale came from Russian River. Cheers, -Nathan

  • Drew

    Thanks for the write up, William!

    The Schwarzbier, Harvest Ale, and North Oakland Double IPA sound especially delicious.

  • William Brand

    Thanks for the info Nathan. Great info. As soon as I read your comment, I made the connection between the Triple Rock pale ale and Russian River’s beers. Kind of an interesting, spicy note. Gonna do a post about Linden Street in a while.

  • Anonymous

    The yeast for Black Hoodie actually came from the first of 2 batches of Drake’s & Linden’s, “Baby Got Black Lager”/”Black Bottom Lager” aka Bilge Water, as entered into GABF by Drake’s, which was originally a one off from the yeast from Linden’s California Common Lager. Black Bottom/Bilge Water was brewed again by Linden/Drake’s and should be out on the streets again as of today. Brian and Josh originally wanted to call it “San Leandro Steamer” after a conversation between Brian and former head brewer of Dogfish Head, John Gilooly, current brewer at Trumer, but the steam beer reference might have had copyright issues, as well as the fact that calling some kind of black beer “steamer” could be offensive to some. Think “Cleveland Steamer”. Adam, Josh, and Brian all decided together on Black Bottom Lager, based on the bottom fermenting nature of the yeast.