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