Sips 06.06.19

Karen Loutzenheiser

Brewmaster JC Hill has referred to his new Monterey Beer from Alvarado Street Brewery as “beer-flavored beer.”

If that seems a bit obscure – and kind of obvious – it may help to consider the new lager a taste of what Budweiser or Miller would be if the drive for economies of scale (and consumer indifference) hadn’t intervened. It’s a lean, golden and crisp brew that evokes the summer sun and drifting wheat fields of ’70s television commercials.

Any comparisons end there. It’s not pale or watery. Instead, a smooth, clean malty essence brightens the palate, with hints of citrus and ginger flitting around the edges and a dry, earthy note on the finish. And while fresh and light, the lager has enough body to give a little heft to each sip.

The beer is a revival of a brand popular during the 1930s. While Hill and his crew designed artwork for the can that represents the historic beer, the original recipe was lost to time. But an all-malt American lager seems fitting. It tells the story of where we came from and what we lost to the tide of mass consumption.

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ALVARADO STREET BREWERY, 426 Alvarado St., Monterey. 655-2337; 1315 Dayton St., Salinas. 800-3332,

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