Wednesday, February 2, 2011

MAXED OUT: Cracking into the top 10

Our weekly Wednesday installment authored by our homeboy, Max, chronicling his journey through Hopland.

Alright my beer lovin’ beauties, Max is back, and I’m ready to crack into my TOP 10! A quick heads up, this list will be in NO particular order, but I will tell you that for my last post of 2011, I will be unveiling my FAVORITE BEER OF ALL TIME.

Quick show of hands: How many of you HAVE to have a cup of coffee to start your day? How about a glass of O.J.? Well, the first beer on my list is what I call a breakfast beer. If I could have an Oro de Calabaza every morning when I woke up I would be a happy man.

Oro de Calabaza is an “Artisan Golden Ale aged in Oak Barrels”, or as I call it, pure deliciousness. It’s brewed by Jolly Pumpkin out of Dexter, Michigan, which is a brewery that reminds me a lot of The Bruery, and Lost Abbey, in that they make Belgian style beers in an American fashion. Yes, please and thank you.

So what is an Artisan Golden Ale aged in Oak Barrels? It’s a fancy way of saying a Golden Ale, that’s what it is. Pranqster, Duvel, & Piraat are all examples of “Golden Ales”, and while some of these beers may call themselves “Golden Ales”, that is not an observed category of beer. All golden ales fall into different categories like Blondes, Pale Ales, Tripels, etc., etc.

How do I describe Oro De Calabaza? If I said heaven in a glass, would you know what I was trying to get across? Calabaza has a very light golden hue, and at first glance could easily be confused for a “fizzy yellow beer”. But once you stick your nose in that glass, you get a orange and lemon zest, crisp and biting. The first sip is almost shocking because it tingles the tongue with its effervescence and then you glide down into the body where it’s nice and peppery. The finish is crisp and quick, not lingering for too long. Have you ever had an Orange Julius? Yeah, kinda like that, but at 8% abv (alcohol by volume for my noobs), it’s an Orange Julius with punch, baby!

Honestly, it’s pretty expensive if you do come across it, anywhere from $12-$20 for a 750ml. But it is on my freakin’ top 10 - try the damn beer! Honestly though, if you can’t afford/find Calabaza, try Sofie from Goose Island out of Chi-Town. A very suitable replacement and it’s about five bucks cheaper.

As always, feel free to comment below, or look me up on facebook, and my email has changed! Hit me up there at

Until the next time my beer loving brethren, have a beer for me.


Matt said...

Nicely written McClain, I think you're on to something with this beer blogging thing. Just a pointer, punctuation goes inside quotations :-P Can't wait for the next one!

Road Dawg said...

Punctuation? The dude gets his point across with words that make me thirsty.

Guess I picked the wrong year to quit drinkin'. But the gut was hangin out past the shmeckle.

Max, your killing me!

Dean said...

Matt, blame the editor.

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steve said...

Sounds interesting. Will look for it. Hope the fruit is not overwhelming.


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