With winter fading, a crop of new craft brews has begun to spring up from some of California's best breweries. In addition to the new core brew from Stone that we told you about, here are three exciting new beers from some landmark California breweries.
Light and dry with a vibrant effervescence, saisons are a natural match for springtime, and the Belgian "farmhouse style" has been growing in popularity with forward-looking American craft brewers. The ale features wheat malt for crispness and Nelson Sauvin hops, and the brewers at Anchor have given their new beer "a California twist" -- lemongrass, lemon peel, and ginger.
The 7.2 percent alcohol Anchor Saison is making its way across the state -- in kegs and six-packs -- now.
Hangar 24 Betty IPA
Joining year-round favorites like Columbus IPA, Double IPA, and Amarillo Pale Ale is Hangar 24's first new core brew since 2010 -- Betty IPA.
The new hoppy treat from Redlands features some of the most popular hops around: Mosaic, Citra, and Simcoe. Master brewer Ben Cook says, "what stands out about Betty is how many different aromas and flavors you experience, from big, in-your-face tropical fruits and pine, down to subtle notes of berries and stone fruit."
The brewery spent 8 months perfecting the recipe after debuting the initial iteration of the brew -- then simply dubbed "Experimental IPA" -- at its fifth anniversary party in May, 2103. The beer was a hit with the crowd I spoke to back in May, and there were always long lines for a taste during the celebration.
The beer gets officially launched at the Hangar 24 tasting room on March 8 before hitting taps and beer coolers across the state.
Firestone Walker Opal
Also joining the wave is a farmhouse ale from lauded central coast brewery Firestone Walker. Opal, a dry-hopped saison, takes the place of the "Euthanized" Walker's Reserve Porter in the brewery's Proprietor's Reserve line.
The brewers blend European and American hops with mixed grains and a yeast that lends peppery aromas and a dry finish to the 7.5 percent alcohol ale. Opal is then dry-hopped, much like an IPA would be, to provide a pungent hop aroma that the brewery calls "unique Sauvignon Blanc tones."