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The Best Brews from SF Beer Week

For serious beer enthusiasts, the opening celebration of SF Beer Week, a 10-day celebration of craft brewing, is like Christmas morning. Over 2,600 people, essentially a mix of hardcore beer connoisseurs, fraternity bros, men that looked like they got sidetracked on their a way to a Lynyrd Skynyrd reunion concert, and a handful of hipsters, swarmed the Concourse Exhibition Center, hopping from booth to booth to sample 68 of California's most unique craft brews. Newly minted nanobreweries were stationed alongside legendary pioneers, pouring generous tastes of everything from highly hopped quadruple IPAs to lip-puckering sours. Some samples were worthy of seconds, while others were fated for the dump bucket. See which beers we are still buzzing about!
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Hoptimum by Sierra Nevada
Sour Cherry Stout by Ale Industries
Pomegranate Wheat Ale by Moylan’s
Black Lager by Lucky Hand
Indica IPA by Lost Coast
Lil’ Chief Pale Ale by Sonoma Springs
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Hoptimum by Sierra Nevada

At 10.4 percent alcohol, this intoxicating brew is not suited for the fainthearted. From the first sip, this deep amber-colored beer delivers an aggressive hoppy punch, leaving the taster with an immediate stomach-warming sensation. Although it features a prominent bitterness, hints of tropical fruit nicely cut the edge.

Sour Cherry Stout by Ale Industries

One of the more unique-tasting beers of the night, this stout features a deep, authentic cherry flavor with a sour twist and hints of chocolate. With 11 percent alcohol, a pint of this coffee-colored liquid courage is all you need to let loose on the dance floor.

Pomegranate Wheat Ale by Moylan’s

For those who would choose a Mike’s Hard Lemonade over an IPA any day, this refreshing beer is the yin to your yang. This tasty unfiltered wheat brew is blended with slightly carbonated pomegranate juice to create a delightfully fruity treat that would make the perfect accessory to a summer picnic.

Black Lager by Lucky Hand

What separates this malt-forward beer from others is that it is 100 percent organic. This all-natural beer gives off a fresh-baked bread smell and has a yeasty quality to the taste. The beautifully golden-brown beer has a subtle bitterness to it, which is evened out by a pleasantly sweet grassy finish.

Indica IPA by Lost Coast

With Northern California favorites such as Great White on their resume, the Lost Coast booth unsurprisingly boasted a substantial line—and for good reason. This beer demonstrates the art of balancing malt and hop characteristics, making for a pleasant, not-overpowering, marriage of flavors.

Lil’ Chief Pale Ale by Sonoma Springs

Tasting this beer is similar to what I imagine gnawing on raw hops would be like. This concoction might not be a favorite among those with a fragile palette, but for hops aficionados, this is a real treat.

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