Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
Here comes the bad. The latest, greatest, potentially award-winning and sensationally hoppy beer you were expecting to come out of West Sacramento? Ain’t gonna happen, all because of discord over a lease agreement.
In a written announcement on Facebook that went over like a warm Corona, Revision Brewing informed its many fans it had dropped its highly publicized, hotly anticipated plans to launch its production facility and tasting room in West Sacramento. The fledgling brewery had secured financing and, so we thought, an ideal 20,000-square-foot industrial building.
With Jeremy Warren of Knee Deep Brewing fame at the helm, Revision was poised to not only make great beer. It was going to be the kind of ambitious operation that would attract media attention, build new momentum and help take the area’s craft beer scene to new heights.
Now, it looks like Revision is going to be brewing in Reno.
Let’s sum this up in laid-back craft-beer speak: bummer. The silver lining? A Revision satellite brewing operation might open here in a year or so.
But all is not lost in West Sacramento. The three-brewery scene there continues to flourish and one of those, Bike Dog Brewing, just announced it is growing faster than a teething puppy. The once-nano brewery with the bustling tasting room frequented by canines and humans alike is investing in a significantly larger brewing system.
In a written announcement titled “Time to take off the training wheels,” Bike Dog said it will be retiring its tiny 3.5-barrel brewhouse and replacing it with a locally built 15-barrel system. It will be a significant investment in Bike Dog’s future and will mean double the production in the same amount of brewing time.
The new brewhouse is being constructed by Nevada City-based BrewBilt. Bike Dog is known for brewing some of the top IPAs in the region, and has a superb Mosaic Pale Ale and a widely revered milk stout, among other offerings.
It might surprise you to learn that I am a relatively light drinker. When I go out for a beer, it’s often a beer, as in one. A big night is two beers.
That’s why I was pleased to learn of Auburn Alehouse’s plan to change its bottling operation from the industry standard 22-ounce “bombers” to 500 milliliter (16.9 ounces) bottles. I’m surely not the only one who has ordered a beer with dinner at a restaurant, only to be served a behemoth 22-ouncer. For me, that’s too much, especially if the alcohol is closer to 10 percent than 5.
Owner/brewmaster Brian Ford is so committed to the smaller bottle that he bought a new bottling machine and will phase out the old one. He said a big part of it has to do with quality control. The smaller bottles have less head space and, thus, less air ingress. That means the beers will likely stay fresher longer. Prices will be adjusted so the cost-per-ounce remains the same, Ford told me.
The brewery is believed to be the only one in the area with this size bottle. Another decent beer that comes in a 500 milliliter bottle? Pliny the Elder from Russian River.
Auburn Alehouse is considered by many serious beer folks to be one of the very best breweries in the region. Its Pilsner seems to win a gold medal every time it enters a major beer competition. And the Gold Digger IPA (6.3 percent alcohol by volume) finished second at the prestigious Bistro IPA Festival in April in Hayward. In February, Auburn Alehouse’s ZZ Hop (9.4 percent ABV) claimed fourth place in the triple IPA category at Bistro Double IPA Festival. (I know, confusing, but work with me here: There’s no Bistro Triple IPA Festival.)
Speaking of quality control, Auburn Alehouse is the latest to start canning. In addition to the new bottle size, the brewery will introduce 12-ounce cans, starting with Gold Country Pilsner (5 percent ABV). Cans are popular because they keep out damaging light, pack and ship easier and are better for picnics and camping trips.
With no room for a canning machine of its own, the brewery will enlist the Can Van mobile canning company to handle it.