My knowledge of craft beer is undesirably limited, so when I met Thomas Benedict, who is the co-CEO of sausage-centric new eatery Link in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, and also happens to be a fountain of brew facts, I couldn’t help but “tap” him for some of his beer intel. Spending just an hour with the man, I felt inspired to hit my local brewery for a tour and pick up a beer bible at the library. Heck, maybe I’ll even try to brew my own one day.
Today Benedict is kindly introducing us to some of his favorite California brews, specifically a few that will be delightfully refreshing to enjoy this summer. Wherever you are in the country, you should be able to find these in your local spirits superstore, or if you’re in L.A., try them at Link, which specializes in California-produced beer and totally delicious specialty sausages. Cheers!
Golden Road Saison Citron ($11 for six 12-oz. cans)
A new 2015 summer release from L.A.-based Golden Road Brewery, this farmhouse ale is spiced with lemon and finishes clean and dry. A California version of a classic Belgian saison. 5.8% abv.
St. Archer White Ale ($12 for six 12-oz. bottles)
Winner of the 2014 gold medal for Belgian-style witbiers at the Great American Beer Festival, the San Diego–based brewery's white ale is spiced with hand-ground coriander and fresh orange puree. Tart, spicy, fruity, and refreshing. 5% abv.
Anderson Valley The Kimmy The Yink and The Holy Gose ($12 for six 12-oz. cans)
Quickly becoming the second-most popular beer at Boonville-based Anderson Valley Brewery, the Gose is a refreshing, slightly sour beer that is tart and inviting with a clean, dry finish. Considered an introductory sour, this beer is available in regular and limited-edition Blood Orange Gose flavors. 4.2% abv.
North Coast "Puck" Petit Saison ($10 for four 12-oz. bottles)
Spritzy and refreshing on a hot summer day, this "petite" saison from coastal Ft. Bragg, California, is a lighter yet flavorful version of heavier Belgian-style saisons. "Puck" refers to the woodland spirit in medieval folklore who would hinder or help the production of beer. The medieval folk didn't exactly know how yeast worked, ha. 4% abv.
Angel City West Coast Wheat ($9 for six 12-oz. bottles)
A light-bodied wheat ale with a fruity, clean finish, the West Coast Wheat (now available at Link) was just released by downtown Los Angeles–based Angel City Brewery in time for summer. 4.6% abv.
Anchor California Lager ($10 for six 12-oz. bottles)
The first release from the famed Zymaster Series at Anchor Brewery in San Francisco, this recipe was originally brewed in Truckee in 1875 and was then re-created by Anchor to honor the first California lager. Refreshingly sweet, malty, and smooth. 4.9% abv.
Firestone Walker Pivo Pils ($8 for six 12-oz. bottles)
Burgeoning Paso Robles–based Firestone Walker Brewery has created the noblest of pilsners. Crisp with a slightly hoppy finish, this beer is light-bodied and surprisingly aromatic. 5.3% abv.
What are some of your favorite craft beers from around the country? Share with us in the comments below.