Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pyramid Broken Rake

A few weeks back, Mike and I were invited to Pyramid to sample some of their seasonal beers, specifically the much discussed Imperial Hefe. This is the second time I've been out to Pyramid and the second time I've walked away impressed. You see, I don't drink a lot of Pyramid products and, at one time, I'd convinced myself they were less-than-good. My first trip there, when I sampled every beer on their menu, I realized that these guys make a solid lineup, miles ahead of what I think of the beers of Wydmer. Anyway, the Broken Rake.

This beer was once a regular seasonal, as we were told, but a few years back was taken out of the lineup, for reasons we weren't told. This year the big-wigs of Pyramid evidently have rededicated themselves to seasonal and reserve beers (the Imp Hefe is considered a reserve), a move we should all applaud. Broken Rake, I gathered, was their late Summer offering and is described on the 12oz bottle as a beer that is "full bodied with a malty sweet finish" and that pretty much sums it up. I just have nothing bad to say about this beer. Starts sweet, with a slight burnt sugar note, is nicely balanced with a mild hop bittering and with a sweet finish that lingers into the aftertaste. It seems to be a shade lighter in color than the Fat Tire, not that I have them side by side at this time, but the flavor and finish seems designed for those who like New Belgium's flagship beer.

I am reminded of point seven of the post below. Often we talk about those who have complaints about Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, but rarely do we discuss Pyramid - clearly a major player in the national beer scene. I have met several of their brewers and can tell you straight that they know their stuff. Not only that, Pyramid is one of the few breweries in the country who assists their brewers further their brewing education. Their beers are highly drinkable, often without flaw, but are too often overlooked by beer enthusiasts seeking something different. I fall into this trap myself, mind you. I just don't rush out to buy a Pyramid and seldom seem happy if this is all a restaurant has on tap. I realize, when drinking a beer like the Broken Rake, that I've been wrong every time I roll my eyes at the Pyramid taps in bars saturated in Bud and Coors handles. Even on that recent trip we took, trying the Hefeweizen they make drove home the point these guys simply make good beer. Is it the best out there? No, not in my mind. However, I just can't find a complaint with beers like this one next to me.

Score: 3.2/5

Post Script
  • Keep an eye out for that Imperial Hefe I mentioned, you won't be sorry. I simply couldn't believe that beer was more than 8% ABV.
  • Also look for their Double IPA that is due out very soon. Mike, the GM in Sacramento, is too excited about this beer for it to be bad.
  • About Mike, Sacto's GM: This guy is one of the most passionate, friendly, engaging beer people I know. I met him at a good beer bar locally, he was there off shift and happened to take a seat next to mine. My passion for beer along with his made for loud and enthusiastic conversation and a good time. I've seen him several times since and am always delighted when he sits with us. Pyramid, I don't know where you found this guy, but he is a great face for your company - I hope you know that already.
  • About Sacto's location: They are nearly complete with their new brewery installation. I'd be lying if I told you I didn't have a few reservations about this - I just don't know what they're doing. However, whatever reservation I have is nothing much compared to the excitement I have with the prospects of enjoying hand crafted beers you won't find in stores.
  • Did you know: Pyramid has label approval for something like 100 beers in California? Yeah, I was blown away.