The Sample Sacramento series is written by BJCP Judge Mike Ungerbuhler. Mike has given himself the task to visit all of the breweries in the Sacramento area and provide a review of both the beer as well as the atmosphere.  He will sample what he feels are a good representation of the brewery and give you his tasting notes.  His intent is to continue this series until he has covered all of the local breweries; as that list continues to grow, he will be busy for quite a while. Join Mike as he Samples Sacramento

Sample Sacramento heads back up the hill for the third Gold Country brewery visit.  Located in the heart of Old Town Auburn is Auburn Alehouse, who has been brewing up liquid gold since June 2007.    

Auburn Alehouse stands in the historic American Block Building that was most recently home to Shanghai Restaurant and Bar.  The brew pub brings in tourists and locals alike for both great food and beer.  A wall of glass at the front of the dining area provides bright, natural light to the space.  Sit at any of the comfy seats at the full bar or relax in one of the cozy booths.  Brick walls lead back to another wall of glass that separates the restaurant from the brewery.  Just past the brew space is access to the shaded patio where one could enjoy a pint or two.

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Auburn Alehouse is open seven days a week, at 11:00 am on weekdays and 10:00 am on weekends.  The bar stays open an hour longer than the kitchen, closing at 12:00 pm Friday and Saturday, 11:00 pm Wednesday and Thursday, and 10:00 pm Monday and Tuesday.   

This was not my first time at Auburn Alehouse and nor will it be my last.  This wasn’t even the first time that I enjoyed a sampler.  However, it was the first time that I did so with a pen and pad.  I ordered a few samples and a burger to split with The Wife and thought that I’d be able to knock out my tasting notes before the food arrived.  I was wrong and my half of the burger sat untouched while I sipped my samples.  

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Tasting Notes:  

Gold Country – This pre-prohibition style American Pilsner has a cracker like malt quality balanced toward a floral hop character.  The bright white head clings atop the crystal clear straw colored brew.  The slight mineral quality coupled with the cracker like malt sweetness enhances the floral and light citrus hop character.  Gold Country’s light body and moderate carbonation add emphasis to the medium dry finish

American River – Peach and grapefruit mingle with mild bready malt aroma in this Pale Ale.  The thin, off-white head lingers on top of the shimmering gold ale.  Bready malt sweetness gives way to flavors of peach and a persistent citrus zest.  American River has slightly more body than Gold Country but is equally as refreshing.

Old Town Brown – Aromas of milk chocolate and hazelnut are balanced with a mild earthy hop quality grace this Brown Ale.  The light brown beer has brick red highlights and a thin creamy head that faded to a ring.  Bread crust and red apple pair with the chocolate and nuts noted in the aroma.  Old Town Brown has a medium body and low carbonation.

PU240 – This Imperial IPA has caramel like sweetness combined with bold ruby red grapefruit qualities.  Its radiant light copper is capped with a thin off-white head formed of tiny bubbles.  The caramel like sweetness noted in the aromas stabilizes the intense grapefruit and nectarine flavors.   PU240 is warming and has a satiating body and moderate carbonation.  

Irish Dry Stout – The pub special, an Irish Stout, has aromas reminiscent of toast and cocoa powder.  The black elixir is crowned with a lasting beige head that accentuates the ruby highlights.  Toast and dark chocolate dominate the flavor and is combined with light coffee and mellow earthy hop bitterness.  The Irish Stout has a lighter body than the color would make one assume and a dry finish that begs for another sip.   

The beer is what initially brought me to Auburn Alehouse.  The beer and the tasty pub grub paired with the friendly and knowledgeable staff are what keep bringing me back.  The brew pub is a great spot to stop by after a hike in the area, a day at the river, or maybe as a place to provide a cushion for more beers from the nearby Knee Deep and Cool BeerWerks.  Auburn Alehouse will surely continue to provide locals and visitors with great brews and grub for years to come.

Cheers!