Cinequest wasn’t just a good time at the movies last month. I also took advantage of my time in downtown San Jose to try a bunch of new beers. First I’ll list the places I had beer during Cinequest (Yelp links, in alphabetical order):
- Good Karma: The food is vegan, and while I enjoy the taste of animals as a part of most lunches and dinners, the one time I ate there it was quite tasty. And the beer selection seems quite good, especially including the bottled beers which I did not take advantage of (yet).
- ISO Beers: This place is brand new as of February 2014. Their selection seems very good, though so far their traffic is not enough to allow them to change often enough for my taste. Their largest pours are only 12 ounces, which is actually a feature since it allows tasting more beers. They serve no food but because of that, they allow you to bring in outside food. They also have a nice and growing selection of bottled beers that you can drink there or take out.
- Original Gravity Public House: This is my model for how to do a beer bar, though it’s not quite perfect. My favorite feature is that their web site is automatically updated from the same data that drives the display in the bar itself, so the web site is 100% up-to-date. My second favorite feature is that they change what’s on tap often enough that there’s is always something new, even if you drink as many new beers as I do. The minor drawback is that the wide selection sometimes leads me to beers that I don’t actually like all that well. Their second drawback is that the food they serve (mostly sausages and fries) isn’t very healthy.
And these are the beers I had during the festival (ratebeer links, in chronological order, GK=Good Karma, ISO=ISO Beers, and OG=Original Gravity; the ratings are out of 5 stars):
- 3/4 (OG): Undead Party Crasher by Clown Shoes: 4 stars
- 3/5 (OG): Carlo’s Stout by Faction Brewing: 3.5 stars (this is made by one of my favorite new local brewers, but it is definitely not my favorite beer from them)
- 3/7 (ISO): The Mitten by Virtue Cider: 4 stars
- 3/7 (ISO): Steelhead Bourbon Barrel Extra Stout by Mad River Brewery: 4.5 stars (there was a pronounced bourbon aroma and flavor)
- 3/8 (ISO): Cuvee de Tomme (2014) by Lost Abbey: 5 stars (this is a beer I’ve had before, and in fact specifically my previous tasting was because of Original Gravity’s web site up-to-date-ness; this beer is intentionally sour, but in my preferred “medium sour” range, and it also reminded me a bit of cherries)
- 3/9 (OG): Jurata by Coronado Brewing/Cigar City Brewing: 3.5 stars
- 3/9 (OG): Big Worster (Chardonnay Barrel Aged) by Mikkeller: 4.5 stars
- 3/9 (OG): Big Worster (Bourbon Barrel Aged) by Mikkeller: 4.5 stars (these two barley wines differed only in what kind of barrel they were aged in; I give the very slight edge to the bourbon barrel version; both were very dangerous at 18% ABV)
- 3/9 (OG): Pale Ale by Faction Brewing: 4 stars (this was excellent for a 5.2% ABV pale ale)
- 3/9 (OG): Hardcore IPA by BrewDog: 4.5 stars (the guys from BrewDog know about more than being TV personalities)
- 3/11 (OG): American Style by Mikkeller/Prairie Artisan Ales: 3.5 stars
- 3/11 (OG): Hurricane Deck by Figueroa Mountain Brewing: 4 stars
- 3/11 (OG): Freudian Slip by Evil Twin Brewing: 4 stars
- 3/12 (OG): Marea Roja by Cismontane Brewing: 3.5 stars
- 3/14 (OG): Humulus Lager by The Bruery: 4 stars (I’m generally not a fan of lagers, even when they are imperial pilsners like this, but this one was excellent)
- 3/14 (OG): Go To IPA by Stone Brewing: 4 stars (this is a brand new “session” IPA, where session means lowish alcohol, and they did a very good job making it worth drinking)
- 3/14 (OG): Danger Ranger by Manzanita Brewing: 3.5 stars
- 3/15 (ISO): Hopaholic 4x IPA by Knee Deep Brewing: 5 stars (their Simtra is perhaps my favorite beer, period, these days; this one is excellent though a tiny bit more malt focused)
- 3/15 (ISO): Labyrinth (Bourbon Barrel-aged) by Uinta Brewing: 5 stars (ratebeer doesn’t have a separate entry for the barrel-aged version; this imperial porter was pretty amazing)
- 3/15 (GK): Questionable Origins #3 by Cellarmaker Brewing: 3 stars
- 3/15 (OG): Reposado Pear by Wyder’s Cider: 3.5 stars
- 3/15 (OG): El Steinber Dark Lager by Anderson Valley Brewing: 2 stars (this was my lowest rated beer of the festival, but I still consider Anderson Valley to be an excellent brewer)
- 3/16 (GK): Tim’s Brown IPA by Cellarmaker Brewing: 3.5 stars
- 3/16 (GK): Maui Waui IPA by Altamont Beer Works: 4 stars
- 3/16 (GK): Black Butte XXIV by Deschutes Brewery: 5 stars (they cellared this imperial porter for a year, and it was awesome)
- 3/16 (OG): La Vermontoise by Brasserie de Blaugies/Hill Farmstead Brewery: 4 stars
- 3/16 (OG): Bière Darbyste by Brasserie de Blaugies: 3 stars
- 3/16 (OG): Courage Imperial Stout by Wells & Young’s: 3 stars
I actually had a couple of others not listed above, but these are the ones I checked into on Untappd (a cool social beer tracker site and app—let me know if you sign up and want to connect).
With my highest rated beers generally being imperial IPAs, imperial porters, barley wines, and a sour, it seems safe to say that I like beers with a ton of flavor.