New Beer: Bear Republic/Fat Head's/Stone Brewing Co. TBA

One Big Bottle

The brews we're sipping, one by one.


[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

We are way into this beer. Usually, when we crack a beer in the office (for research purposes!), everyone raises one eyebrow and takes a sip or two, but often a half-full bottle languishes on the counter for awhile. This one was gone, and fast.

According to Stone Brewing Co, this first collaboration beer of 2012 "pays homage to a little-known beer style called Texas Brown Ale, which, strangely enough, has its roots in California." Basically, homebrewers in the 1980s added crystal and chocolate malts to an English-style brown ale, hopping it up with Cascade hops for a bitter, fruity punch.

This version includes brown sugar and molasses as well, and it's creamy and malty and rich, with 7.1% ABV and quite the hoppy blast. If you can't decide between a copper or brown ale and an IPA, and you like the aggressively bitter style of Stone Brewing Co. and Bear Republic, this is a beer to seek out. It would be awesome with anything bacony—try a blue cheese and bacon topped burger or a wedge salad with bacon crumbles. Or go with Mexican mole, grilled steak, or a pastrami sandwich with lots of mustard.