Beer Run

Wednesday is beer day in Roseville; Big Stump opens in Sacramento

Big Stump was preparing to open Friday, Sept. 16. It’s the latest of several breweries to open recently in Sacramento.
Big Stump was preparing to open Friday, Sept. 16. It’s the latest of several breweries to open recently in Sacramento.

The city of Roseville has launched a very cool beer run of its own. Called Wednesdays On Tap (WOT), the series of six consecutive after-work gatherings features a rotating lineup of seven or eight breweries, live music, and food vendors from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Vernon Street Town Square.

The first WOT on Sept. 14 included local breweries The Monk’s Cellar, Dragas, Out of Bounds and Hoppy, along with Great Basin in Reno, and big guns Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada. Admission is $10 and includes eight tickets for 2-ounce tastings. You can purchase tickets at the event. For details, including a list of breweries at upcoming WOTs, visit Roseville’s website. The last one is Oct. 19. Proceeds help fund local at-risk youth programs.

Speaking of sample size pours, I was perusing the Sacramento Beer Group (SBG) on Facebook recently and saw a question posed by power user Abel Gomez. He wondered what people thought of tasting flights at breweries — more explicitly, at busy breweries. His take? They’re a pain. They slow down the line, use up glassware, frustrate employees behind the bar and have the potential to be one big cluster.

I see where he’s going. Tasting flights are cumbersome. But sometimes when you’re so into craft beer, it’s easy to forget that the industry is still trying to grow its base. Flights are one way to get people to appreciate styles and help them zero in on likes and dislikes without doing it 16 ounces at a time.

Most breweries and taprooms should either have tasting flights or, my preference, individual 5-ounce pours. The best answer came from Amy Ruthnick of Final Gravity (locations in Roseville and Auburn), who noted that her taprooms “can do anything for anybody. Sippy sample, half pour, quarter pour.”

I was at Faction in Alameda recently and had to hit the road right after, but I wanted to try a couple of pale ales without getting all loopy. Five-ounce pours to the rescue!

BIG AND MORE

Is this town big enough for Big Sexy Brewing and Big Stump Brewing? Of course it is. Big Stump, a reference to Sacramento’s “tree city” reputation, is the newest brewery to launch on the midtown grid. Its grand opening is Friday, Sept. 16. Big Sexy opened in a south Sacramento industrial park about three weeks ago and is already thriving.

Big Stump’s Alex Larabee is coming out of the blocks strong, with a hazy Northeast-style brew called Tree Town IPA, along with a Bavarian Hefeweizen, the same recipe for which he won best of show in the 2014 home brewing competition at the California State Fair. Big Stump is at 1716 L St., Sacramento, in the front of the building occupied by Old Soul Co. in the alley. The tasting room is dog-friendly and has terrific hours: noon to midnight Friday and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday.

Speaking of the hazy IPA known as Northeast style, I moderated a panel discussion on that very subject at the California Craft Beer Summit. Panelist Ryan Graham of Track 7 introduced the Suka IPA to the large and attentive audience. It was brewed, canned and sold on the T7 premises as part of an ongoing small-batch can series. Only one problem: It was a truly wonderful beer – big citrus up front with a gentle pineapple finish, a nice tartness and that toned-down bitterness that is a hallmark of the Northeast style.

Does this style have a future in West Coast-heavy Sacramento beer circles? Apparently. Just around the corner from Big Stump, Fieldwork’s new taproom recently had three Northeast IPAs on tap. Auburn’s Moonraker is now canning its own called Yojo – except it routinely sells out faster than you can say “embrace the haze.”

Blair Anthony Robertson: 916-321-1099, brobertson@sacbee.com, @Blarob

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