Making a beer fan six long necks at a time
April 14, 2012 7:18 PM   Subscribe

Best BOTTLED beers for a beer newbie in California?

My buddy's asked me to teach him about beer, except that he's got wicked TMJ that won't let him drink from glasses. So I want to find some excellent beers that don't suffer when not poured — i.e. not stuff that has to really open up to be appreciated.

We're in LA, so more local beer appreciated, but if it ships to CA, we can probably get it.
posted by klangklangston to Food & Drink (17 answers total)
Stone's beers are perfectly good from the bottle, and they are nearly local to you. Arrogant Bastard is, I think, their most widely-distributed variety; I find it a little too arrogant and prefer their IPA/PAs, particularly Levitation PA. Some of the more esoteric varieties can be found only in larger bottles (not a 40, I don't think, maybe 32oz? - you could drink your half from a glass while he had the bottle). It's hard to find the most interesting Karl Strauss beers in the bottle (it's probably the primary growler beer in San Diego, thanks to their weekly deals and convenient locations), but the Red Trolley Ale seems pretty common in local stores and is quite nice.

Green Flash is right down the street from me in San Diego, though I've only had it on draft I don't think it's so complex you can't experience it properly from a bottle. Really, try out any San Diego beer; it's something we do kind of quietly well here.

As a Texan, I have to recommend Shiner Bock. I don't think it tastes as good on draught as it does from a really cold bottle.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:33 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Anchor Brewing is Cali (SF, I want to say?) and their brews are pretty drinkable. We can find 'em in six-packs here in Oregon so that shouldn't be a problem down there.
posted by curious nu at 7:36 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lagunitas, North Coast, and Boontville are three more excellent CA breweries. Shouldn't be to hard to find their beers where you are.

Also, Oskar Blues from Colorado. They're fairly well distributed. Many of their craft brews come in cans.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:42 PM on April 14, 2012

Lagunitas ipa is pretty much the most accessible beer I have ever tasted.

That being said, stone IPA is sublime

Pyramid makes some good brews also.
posted by roboton666 at 7:54 PM on April 14, 2012

Sierra Nevada is in Chico, but they're one of the biggest microbrewers. Their Pale Ale and Kellerweis are both delicious and accessible for a newbie.
posted by scose at 8:05 PM on April 14, 2012

Can't mention California beer without mentioning Sierra Nevada. Their Pale Ale is well known. Other varieties are usually good bets, too.

Firestone is nice, too, if you're interested in an ale that isn't a hop bomb.

Back in the day we used to drink a lot of Red Nectar, when it was brewed by Humboldt Brewery. It's since been purchased by the folks who brew Firestone (Paso Robles?). Still enjoyable.
posted by notyou at 8:10 PM on April 14, 2012

I had to pick up a last minute birthday gift last week and it all ended up being humboldt 6-packs, which apparently are not made by humboldt anymore, but by firestone-walker on the central coast which means it's made closer to you than ever before!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 8:12 PM on April 14, 2012

posted by Rube R. Nekker at 8:13 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

That'd be Firestone Double Barrel Ale. They also make an IPA.

And finally, Karl Strauss in San Diego makes a number of easy to drink beers. For a time, many of the Trader Joes brands were bottled by Strauss. I think Paso Robles does a bit of that now.
posted by notyou at 8:15 PM on April 14, 2012

I don't know what you can buy down there (or send me an email and I can maybe ship you some) but lately I've been enjoying the pants off of beers from Terminal Gravity, Ice Harbor, Rogue, Full Sail, Kona, and Lagunitas. I can buy all of those in the grocery store, they come in bottles, and they all offer a range of beers but each brewery is clearly different from the next.
posted by Forktine at 8:37 PM on April 14, 2012

Oh, add Deschutes (especially their pale ale) to that list.
posted by Forktine at 8:39 PM on April 14, 2012

Anything from Bear Republic, which is in Healdsburg, espcially the Racer 5. North Coast, in Ft Bragg, makes the impossibly delicious Old Rasputin Imperial Stout. That only comes in 4-packs, though (high ABV).
posted by rtha at 8:47 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Gordon Biersch brewery is in San Jose, CA. Very authentic mostly German-style bottled beers. You really can't go wrong. Very good on draught too.

Anchor Steam from San Francisco is good stuff also.

Sierra Nevada is from Chico. It's not a style of beer I like, but you may like it.
posted by w0mbat at 8:53 PM on April 14, 2012

Sierra Nevada is from Chico. It's not a style of beer I like, but you may like it.

w0mbat, what do you mean by that? I mean, they make several styles of beer (or so I thought). Is there a common element?

And (to answer the question) I would add Sierra Nevada's Ruthless Rye, if you like hoppy beers. Unlike many hoppy beers, it's quite dry.
posted by bricoleur at 9:29 PM on April 14, 2012

bricoleur - 
All I've ever seen around the Bay Area is their best selling beer, the pale ale, which, for me, has a bitter aftertaste I really don't like. My beer expert friend says it's the flavor of the strain of yeast they use. Lots of people like it though.
posted by w0mbat at 9:51 PM on April 14, 2012

Bootlegger's in Fullerton. Excellent local brewery with lots of variety.
posted by Cookbooks and Chaos at 11:15 PM on April 14, 2012

Agreeing with North Coast. Mmm, pranqster.
Also, new belgium and fat tire.
Mr. Meat drinks more beer than me, but those are some of my favorites.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:41 AM on April 15, 2012

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