California has a lot of breweries.It only takes five, however, to satisfy all
of my (copious) beer needs.
Heretic Brewing Company: For a
two-week period back in 2013, Heretic beers suddenly appeared on tap in every
Sacramento-area bar that I entered.Then,
just as suddenly, it all was gone.Fast
forward three years, and Fairfield-based Heretic Brewing Company has scaled
up. And their beer make me very happy, very often.Two items of particular note: (1) Most
Heretic beers come in cans, so I can (and do) take them places where a broken
bottle would be a disaster; and (2) Heretic's Evil Twin is the only red
ale that I've ever chosen over an IPA. That's how good Heretic is -- even
their red ale is delicious.
Berryessa Brewing Company: I am told that California invented the Double IPA. And Berryessa
Brewing Company makes a great one: Double Tap IPA. I recommend drinking
it at a picnic table outside the brewery's tasting room in Winters, California
-- Berryessa's beer is best freshest.
Lagunitas Brewing Company:Petaluma-based Lagunitas Brewing
Company's IPA is the standard by which I judge all IPAs. Despite diligent
efforts, I have yet to find a better one.
21st Amendment Brewery: San
Francisco-based 21st Amendment makes great beers for drinking
outdoors.Although I generally disdain
fruit-flavored beer, I frequently enjoy their Hell or High Watermelon by the
pool.Their Live Free or Die is a heavy
IPA best drank on a windy Northern California beach.And their Back in Black, black IPA has a
whiskey aftertaste that goes well with a campfire.
Stone Brewing Company:In 2011, the readers of Beer
Advocate Magazine voted Escondido-based Stone Brewing Company the #1 All Time
Top Brewery On Planet Earth.I can't disagree.Stone releases new beers faster than I can
sample them, and they're all excellent.