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East Bay, California Brew News
By Angela Wagner

Double IPA Fest at the Bistro
Once again, Vic Kralj, proprietor of the Bistro in Hayward, Calif., mastered the weather and pulled off another awesome Double IPA Festival, kicking off Beerapalooza 2005 on Saturday, February 12. The sun was shining, and so were many cheeks (of the visible sort).

Judging began early in the morning and elicited some spirited debate. First-place nod went to Rodger Davis and Melissa Myers, Drake's Brewing Company in San Leandro, Calif., for their Denogginizer. A balanced, rich brew at 9% abv, it was made with Ahtanum, Amarillo and Simcoe hops. Number two on the hit parade was Vinnie Cilurzo's Pliny the Elder, from Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa. It was also a delight to the palate, with a bunch of malt and a bunch of hops (perhaps twice the amount of their standard IPA!). Third place went to Dorado Double from brewer Yuseff Cherney at Ballast Point Brewing Company in San Diego.

The Bistro was hoppin', as usual. It's simply a great event with great judges and great beer folk. Congratulations to the winners. Be sure to mark your beer calendar for the Bistro's IPA Festival, to be held August 6.

Drake's Brewing Company Celebrates 15 Years
I had the pleasure recently of visiting Drake’s Brewing Company in San Leandro, Calif. It is truly a big gem in the crown of the Northern California brewing scene. A creative and high-quality craft brewery, the place is ironically located behind a behemoth shopping center loaded with all the regular chain-store names. Now in its 15th year, Drake's consistently brews some of the best stuff around.

This February, Drake’s brewers Rodger Davis and Melissa Myers won the gold medal for their Denogginizer Double IPA at the Bistro’s Double IPA Festival in Hayward, Calif. A rich, golden to amber-colored beer, the Denogginizer is a beautifully aromatic hop monster brewed with Simcoe, Ahtanum and Amarillo hops. Coming in at 9% abv, it’s balanced and flavorful without the slightest heat. That said, it’s deceptive in its mind-altering capacity. Don’t drink it without an adult present.
The brewery is well known for its traditional stable of offerings: the IPA, amber and blond beers.

Locals look forward to special seasonals as well, such as Jolly Roger at Christmas, and Expedition Ale in the spring. As special as these beers are, April promises to be awesome. Approximately mid-month, Drake’s will release a limited-edition 15th anniversary beer. Brewed in July, this high-powered “uber lager,” or “mondo bock,” will be available in one-liter bottles around the region (check out Bev Mo). A special 7-oz. Kentucky bourbon cask-aged version will also be available in more limited quantities from the brewery only. Dark malt and lots of two-row were used, with some Spalt and Saaz hopping. Both versions will be bottle-conditioned. When it’s all said and done, the abv will be near 11%.

In addition to the cask-aged anniversary lager, Rodger and Melissa are currently aging a Scotch ale in sherry casks, a barley wine in a brandy barrel, and an imperial stout in a port barrel. An unbelievable chocolate milk stout will be available on nitro mid-March. I tried it out of the fermenter and was blown away. Chocolaty with gentle coffee notes, it’s brewed with chocolate malt and lactose sugars. It should be a velvety rich delight served on nitro. Look for it at the Toronado. I’ll never drink a YooHoo again! New two-liter flip-top growlers are also available at the brewery. Swing by and pick up a couple of your favorite Drake’s beers and wish Rodger and Melissa a hoppy anniversary.

Drake's Brewing Co.
1933 Davis St., #177
San Leandro, CA 94577


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