Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 7.9.17: A Flight of Bear Flag Revolt

Ron Swarner


Beer-Flights-Logo-no-wordsIn 1846, California was a part of Mexico, and known as Alta California. Thanks to Mexico’s “Find Yourself Here” commercials on Samuel Morse’s newly invented telegraph Americans and immigrants flocked to Alta California like the salmon of Capistrano. Tensions mounted. June 10, 1846, a small group of resident Americans living north of San Francisco Bay stole Mexican Lt. Francisco Arce’s horses to prevent Mexican calvary attacks. The next day, the American horse thieves captured the town of Sonoma imprisoning Gen. Mariano Vallejo and his men. Some Americans led the prisoners to Sutter’s Fort in what would become Sacramento. The remaining Americans in Sonoma cut their winery crowdsourcing project short to mend a flag to stand for their insurgency — the “Bear Flag” — marking their independence movement known as the “Bear Flag Revolt.” A few of these “Bear Flaggers” formed a jam band, Beartones. July 7, 1846, the U.S. Flag was raised by the American Navy at Monterey, then two days later the flag soared over Yerba Buena, which would later be called San Francisco. The republic was short-lived. Soon after the Bear Flag was raised, the U.S. military began occupying California. The Sonoma Bear Flaggers begrudgingly lowered their Bear Flag to raise the U.S. Flag. The Bear Flag Revolt had lasted a total of 31days, from June 9 to July 9, 1846. Peaks and Pints presents a California beer flight of honoring the Bear Flag Revolt 171 years ago today in what we call the Craft Beer Crosscut 7.9.17: A Flight of Bear Flag Revolt. California officially became a state Sept. 9, 1850, and the Bear Flag became the official state flag in 1911.

North-Coast-Scrimshaw-Pilsner-TacomaNorth Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner

4.7% ABV, 22 IBU

Founded in 1988 as a Fort Bragg brewpub, North Coast Brewing Co. doesn’t predate the Bear Flag Revolt but does predates the Internet and the craft beer explosion. Under the leadership of president and co-founder Mark Ruedrich, the California Mendocino Coast brewery is a certified B Company using solar energy, has relationships with local farmers and gives back to the community. Oh, and North Coast brews tasty craft beers, winning more than 110 awards in national and international competitions. North Coast’s Scrimshaw pours a honey gold with a frothy, white head. Grains and soft hop notes abound in the aroma. The swallow is closer to a pale ale, starting with ample two-row malt sweetness, followed by lemony, zesty hop tastes. The perfect carbonation and light body create a smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a crisp, dry finish and mild fruity aftertaste. It’s not trying to do anything fancy — it’s just a very well-balanced pilsner. It’s not a hop bomb, or a malt showcase. It’s just clean, thirst-quenching lager.

Firestone-Walker-Luponic-Distortion-No-005-TacomaFirestone Walker Luponic Distortion: Revolution No. 005

5.9% ABV, 59 IBU

It’s unclear if Adam Firestone and his business partner and brother-in-law, David Walker, had the Bear Flag Revolt in mind when they created the Luponic Distortion: Revolution series. There’s a good chance since Firestone grew up on California’s Central Coast surrounded by vineyards and winemakers. The founders of Firestone Walker Brewing Co. take a base beer and every 90 days introduce new hops to the wort. No. 005 is driven by a blend of four American hops with an assist from one German hop. The majority of the blend is led by a newer cultivar from the Yakima region that Firestone Walker Brewmaster Matt Brynildson has been anxious to work with for more than a year. The hop profile showcases the best flavors of modern IPAs: citrusy and pungently tropical, but it also gives off some grass and a touch of bitter pine.

Belching-Beaver-Phantom-Bride-IPA-TacomaBelching Beaver Phantom Bride IPA

7.1% ABV, 55 IBU

Peaks and Pints can say with confidence Sacramento alt-rock band Deftones wasn’t inspired by the Bear Flaggers band, Beartones, but frontman Chino Moreno and crew did form in Sacramento, which has Bear Flag Revolt ties. When Moreno isn’t screaming “I watched you change into a fly!” he’s drinking craft beer. San Diego brewery Belching Beaver got word of Moreno’s drinking passion offering the band a collaboration opportunity to brew Phantom Bride IPA, a single off the band’s recent album, Gore. Moreno chose the Mosaic, Amarillo, Simcoe and Citra hops that went into this hoppy, West Coast style IPA. The crushable, super fruity IPA offers orange, citrus, pine, grapefruit and peach flavors with a moderately low bitterness.

Modern-Times-Blazing-World-TacomaModern Times Blazing World

6.8% ABV, 85 IBU

Much like the first Bear Flag —a cotton sheet, red paint, crude drawing of a grizzly bear and a lone red star — Modern Times Beer specializes in mashups, blending together different styles and flavors. Blazing World is an aggressively hoppy brew that shares characteristics with both imperial IPAs and amber ales. Nelson Sauvin, Mosaic and Simcoe hops give it a dank aroma packed with white grapes, mango and grapefruit peel, while the flavor blends burnt sugar, biscuits and grass.

Bear-Republic-Hop-Shovel-TacomaBear Republic Hop Shovel

7.5% ABV, 100 IBU

Sonoma. Bear. Hop Shovel belongs in this flight. Bear Republic Brewing has a new school IPA. Those who dig the Sonoma County, California, brewery’s Racer 5 should enjoy the mightier Hop Shovel. Hop Shovel is dry, but with a soft and rounded mouthfeel achieved by using a high proportion of wheat and rye. Hop varieties Mosaic, Meridian and Denali provide an abundance of flavor and aroma. Firm, precise aromatics dig citrus-forward at first, piling up to a roundness of tangerine and cantaloupe with hints of the tropics. Digging deeper, the flavors follow through with plump fruits, a streamlined feel and brightly bitter grapefruit and lemons.