Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beer of the Month: Strike Brewing's Brown

A shamelessly posed photo of the Beer of the Month with my favorite baseball book
We honor Bay Area newcomer Strike Brewing with their nifty Brown Ale as the Beer of the Month for the February.  You got to love a new Bay Area brewery that makes their debut with session beers. 

Which raises the question: Why is it that so many new breweries start off with their first release being some extreme beer, like a Double IPA brewed with star anise, pomegranate and aged in used horseradish barrels?  Maybe that's because:

a) Double IPA's and other extreme beers, no matter how ridiculous or insipid, generate a lot more buzz than any well executed session beer.
b) Any self-respecting rock star brewer wouldn't waste his time with something like a Brown Ale.
c) It's easy to cover up brewing flaws by simply dumping shovels full of hops and spices into the brewing kettle.
d) All of the above.

Thankfully, Strike Brewing bucks the typical trend, brewing an excellent, balanced brown with plenty of roasty toasty nutty flavors, and checks in just under 4% abv.  It's one of those beers that made me sit up and take notice since so few breweries pull off simple pleasures like this skillfully brewed Brown.

Strike Brewing was formed three years ago in San Jose by Jenny and Ben Lewis, with their friend Strike brewmaster Drew Ehrlich.  All three played sports, with Drew Ehrlich playing professionally in the Boston Red Sox farm system, and were looking to brew beers for more active life-styles.  (The Strike name comes from Ehrlich's baseball roots.)  Hence, Strike's initially line-up consists of three flavorable session beers, a Blonde, Brown, and Porter, with a Wit on its way this February.   For more on Strike Brewing, check out BetterBeerBlogger Peter Estaniel's nifty write-up on them last December.

So let's raise our glasses to craft beer rookie Strike Brewing for doing something extreme: Brewing a well balanced and a flavorful session beer.


  1. Derek – great post. I know I’m guilty of the behavior you mention. I scanned the list of brewers pouring at this Friday’s SF Beer Week opening and made “my list” of the ones I wanted to check out. I skipped these guys because their offerings were so – uh – NORMAL. Brown, blonde, amber etc. Usually that’s short-hand for “shitty”, but sounds like in this case it’s not the case. I’ll be checking them out for sure on Friday.

  2. Looks like I'll need to locate some Strike Brown...sounds great and at under 4% I can have more than a few.