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Best Places for Beer in Sacramento

These three Sacramento-area breweries have the best IPAs in California, judges say

Sacramento-area breweries dominated the California State Fair’s most competitive commercial beer awards and took home medals in more than half of the competition’s categories.

Three local Sacramento breweries — Urban Roots Brewing, Auburn Alehouse and Three Mile Brewing Co. — swept the medal stand for the fair’s American-style India Pale Ale category. That IPA designation drew 121 entries from across the state, making it the most competitive category by far.

Knee Deep Brewing Co. (Auburn) and Porchlight Brewing Co. produced the top-ranked double/triple IPAs, the second-most-competitive category with 84 entries.

Porchlight’s Hazy IPA submission bested all 80 challengers in that category.

Sacramento-area brewers placed in 37 of the commercial beer competition’s 62 categories.

Sacramento craft beers you really ought to taste


Known to many as “Big Mike, ” Mike Moore is a highly regarded international beer judge. Here, he walks you through the steps to help you assess and describe beer.

Denali Pale Ale, New Helvetia: The folks at New Helvetia were excited about these experimental (and proprietary) Denali hops and brewed a terrific pale ale with a personality that stands out from the crowd. The pineapple, pine and citrus notes are distinctive, and the bitterness on the finish is smooth and pleasing.

Owari Satsuma IPA, New Helvetia: Here’s a beer infused with organic mandarins from Rio Linda. It’s seasonal, subtle and, unlike a lot of IPAs, potentially great paired with food.

The Bridge Saison, Mraz Brewing: There are lots of saisons out there. This one is the best I’ve had in recent memory. Wonderfully fruit-forward with a pleasing dry finish and an overall elegance that whisked me away to a rustic Belgium pub.

Oak Park Brewing Co.’s “What She Says Gose” came in at No. 11 on The Bee’s list.  

Great Beer Names

In today’s crowded craft beer market, sometimes the best-selling beverages are those with the most eye-catching names, such as Track 7’s Panic IPA or Reno As (Expletive) from Revision Brewing. Sacramento-area breweries seem to have gotten the hint, and the first six months of 2018 have seen all kinds of pun-rich drinks flow from local taps.

Knee Deep Brewing Co.’s cheekiness got into legal trouble earlier this year when Sony Pictures Television sued for trademark infringement damages over the Auburn brewery’s Breaking Bud IPA. That beer was first released in 2015, when Knee Deep’s CEO said Sony reached out to let him know they thought the name was funny.

 “These Boots Were Made For Hoppin’ ” by Loomis Basin Brewing (8.2% ABV, 40 IBU, 4.1 stars). Brewed specifically for International Women’s Day with a hop blend from the Pink Boots Society, a club of female brewers, this New England IPA carries smelling notes of orange blossom and peaches.


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