23 June 2011

Sunshine and styrians

Being one of those people who believes everything that's written on a bottle cap, I can confidently tell you that Anderson Valley of Mendocino, California operates a solar powered brewery. By coincidence, I am a solar powered drinker to a considerable extent, so I took a couple of their bottles out to the garden one evening recently to give them a go.

Their Poleeko Gold Pale Ale, first. It's quite a hazy gold colour with a mildly sour nose which I'd guess the yeast has something to do with. Gentle carbonation and a light, almost thin, texture should make it a good thirst quencher. But there's one big bit of the flavour profile that sets off my taste alarm bells, and I think Styrian Goldings are the cause. I've come to associate that hop with a sticky, undiluted orange cordial flavour and I rarely like beers that have it (Timothy Taylor Landlord, when in good condition, is a notable exception). It finishes with a very slight zinc-like metallic bite too. On the whole the beer is easy going enough not to be spoiled by these off flavours. As a hot-day quaffer this remains refreshing and sinkable.

To the dark side next, and Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout. Normally I get quite a nasty marker-pen hit from oatmeal stouts but this is the first one I've had that actually tastes of oatmeal. That warming, glutenous porridge flavour and texture is right there from the start. This gets followed by another sort of metallic tang, this time of the saccharine variety, but again it's brief and can be mostly ignored. Underneath it's a sticky sweet beer, in a pleasant toffee-like way that would make it good as a dessert. There's an unexpected floral finish as well. I'm picking out the different elements here, but they blend together well into a simple and enjoyable heavy after-dinner stout.

Not beers to shout about, but worth a punt if you see them.


  1. I enjoy Poleeko Gold a lot more than you do, as its one of my all time favorite Pale Ales.

    For the record, 40% of the Anderson Valley Brewing's energy is generated from the solar panels on top. It's a great brewery to visit if you get a chance, and if you're into wine, Anderson Valley is arguably the least pretentious wine region in California.

  2. Professor Pie-Tin10:11 pm

    Hi Derrick,
    That's deffo worth a detour when I do the Pacific Coast Highway later this year.
    Especially as an unofficial local website for the area proudly announces they also grow " top quality smoke. "
    Any wineries worth a look at ?

  3. Last month driving from Oregon to San Francisco, we made a loop in California to visit: Lost Coast Brewery [Eureka], North Coast Brewing Co. [Ft. Bragg], Anderson Valley Brewing Co. [Boonville], and Russian River [Santa Rosa].

    The luxury of being an OAP with a flexible wife. I recommend this 'Trail of Beers'.

    I bypassed Bear Republic Brewing Co. [Healdsburg] and Lagunitas Brewing Co. [Petaluma]; too many to close together to accommodate.