Best Local Brew

Sir Francis Imperial Stout

Foamy gold and amber shades of grain might appeal aesthetically to the simple beer drinker — but others like it black. These pained souls journey up the specialty beer aisle seeking brews darker than midnight coffee, thicker than molasses in the rummery, smokier than burnt bacon in a cast-iron. That famed and foamy Irish stout may fit the bill, but Sir Francis Imperial Stout takes the prize. This big-fisted knockout brew from Drake’s Brewing Company runs 8.5 percent ABV. Poured into a wide-mouthed goblet, the juice billows with roasted espresso and bitter chocolate aromas, and these pave the way for a mouth-filling squall of buttery toffee, chicory, burnt wood, and charcoal. Match this big beer to a strong cheese, dark chocolate or, hell, your oatmeal at breakfast time. Pirate Francis Drake may have sailed for gold and returned to the land of Guinness, but his legacy still steeps in San Leandro, in craft’s brewing’s very heart of darkness — the Sir Francis Imperial Stout.

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