Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Night Shade

Night Shade is a Rye Ale  brewed by the Berryessa Brewing Company of Winters, CA. Berryessa just opened in 2011, and is owned and operated by experienced brewmaster Chris Miller, formerly of Snipes Mountain Brewery in Washington State.

The brewery currently does not have a tap room, but will be opening one up in Winters in the near future. Their beers can be found at the Davis Beer Shoppe, Village Bakery Restaurant in Davis, Paesano's in Davis, Lucca's in Sacramento, the Shady Lady and Sam Horne's.

I got to chat with Brewmaster Chris at a Night Shade Firkin (cask) night at the Davis Beer Shoppe. I liked his creativity, his passion, and what I think will be a unique, no fear approach to brewing. I predict Berryessa will be making a big name for itself soon enough.

The beer has a 6.8%ABV.

The beer pours a very dark, opaque brown, with little to no head. The aroma is subtle with earthy hops, spicy rye and dark fruits - grape and fig.The taste as a backbone of spicy rye through out with the earthy hops up front, followed by the dark fruits, first the fig and then the grapes. Toward the end there are hints of orange citrus rind. The finish is chewy with a lingering light rye spice and hop bitter bite. The body is surprisingly light for being so dark and has a nice creamy mouthfeel.

Overall, I really liked this beer. The first few sips put my taste buds into confusion - I had never had a dark beer like that. I found out why - the beer was actually dyed or stained black by soaking black rye and adding that water to the beer. There is a complex mix of flavors I've never had before - the figs, grapes, citrus, rye and earthy hops. The grapes are from local vineyards. These are the types of beers I've been waiting to see brewed locally- unique, off the beaten path and made with a skilled hand. This is a Must Have It.


  1. I really like this beer as well. Does Chris Miller own Berryessa Brewing Company?

  2. Yes, I believe he is the owner and brewmaster.

  3. Had some great beer from Chris when he was at Snipes, not surprised that he will make a name for himself in California! Great job Chris.