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California Beer Festival: Summer Hefeweizen and Saison at their best

California Beer Festival in Novato-slide0
Melissa Vogt

Saturday's weather was perfect for the California Beer Festival in Marin County, held at the beautiful Stafford Lake Park in Novato. Beer lovers flocked in masses to this year's event for the opportunity to sip on more than 70 craft brews. At this year's festival, the Hefeweizen and Saison craft beers were perfectly suited to the summer weather and stood out amongst the rest.

California Beer Festival's Honey Wheat
Melissa Vogt

Pizza Orgasmica, located just across the Bay in San Francisco, was pouring their lovely 4-Grain Hefeweizen—a favorite of many Bay Area locals. Its unfiltered body and full mouthfeel are sure to quench any beer lover's thirst. This cloudy beer is brewed with the traditional German Hefeweizen yeast strain and exhibits the quintessential bubble gum, banana, and clove flavors. However, the combination of the four grains—barley, wheat, rye, and oat—gives this beer a unique flavor profile as well. The barley, rye, and oat darken the flavors and give the beer a nice toasted quality.

Hen House Brewing Company in Petaluma, another local spot—though not open to the public—poured a fantastic Saison. This farmhouse ale is fruity and floral with just the right amount of hops to provide contrast in the flavor profile. The beautiful, light yellow color of this Saison matches the typical aromas for a beer of this style—Meyer lemon, grass, and coriander. On the palate, the beer has great pepper, floral flavors, Meyer lemon, and a finish of sweet grains.

From right around the corner in Sonoma, Carneros Brewing Company impressed beer lovers with their version of the traditional German Hefeweizen—the Jefeweizen. This thick, creamy, and unfiltered beer is dark golden and orange in color with delightful notes of strong bubble gum and ripe banana. Though the mid palate is creamy and filling, the finish on this beer is bright and gives off notes of crisp tangerine; this Jefeweizen is a delightful beer from start to finish!

The Saison from Stone Brewing Company in San Diego is brewed with lemon zest, lemon thyme, and lavender s from Stone Brewing Company's farms. These infusions bring bright citrus and floral notes with a crisp, spicy finish—full of white pepper and subtle hops. It's no wonder this balanced beer took home the Best Brew Overall award!

If you missed out on this year's California Beer Festival in Marin County, don't fret—the California Beer Festival will be hosted in Santa Cruz on August 9th & 10th, San Dimas on September 6th, and Ventura on September 20th & 21st. Tickets for all three of these locations are on sale now at the California Beer Festival website. Support craft beer and buy your tickets today!

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