Written by Mike Ungerbuhler

I have given myself 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.  I will sample what I feel are a good representation of the brewery and give you my tasting notes.  My intent is to continue this series until I have covered all of the local breweries; as that list continues to grow, I will be busy for quite a while. Join me as we sample Sacramento. 

Sample Sacramento continues with a visit to Device Brewing Company.  It is my goal to visit all of the breweries in the greater Sacramento area and to share my experiences and tasting notes with you.  Here's to the journey.

Photo by  Chris padalinski

The small brewery and taproom opened in 2013 and is located just off Highway 50 at Power Inn Rd. and 14th Ave.  Walking into the brewery, one is reminded just how similar the worlds of professional and home brewing are.  The kettle and mash tun are directly behind the bar and look like something a seasoned homebrewer could operate with ease and with good reason.  Ken, the owner/brewer, has been an avid homebrewer since 2005 and he still enjoys the craft though now on a slightly larger scale.  There is ample seating at the bar, around a few barrels in the center of the tap room and along the back wall.  Device is dog and kid friendly and one can often find a tasty bite to pair with the delicious beers from any of the visiting food trucks or from a few nearby eateries.  There are a couple sets of Jenga to play as well as Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. Currently, the house Jenga record is held by team "Oh, Gina" at 38 .  The wife and I have tried our hand at that record quite a few times while imbibing in a few pints of deliciousness, although we have never made it past 30.

I am a big fan of Ken's brews and have sampled nearly every beer that Device has had to offer, but not once have I actually sat with pen and paper and focused on the flavors, aroma and mouthfeel.  Spending the time to concentrate on my samples made it feel as though I was trying them for the first time.  Samples are $2 each and they have boards that hold four sample glasses; one can sample all 12 or more offerings if they felt so inclined.  Seeing as how I drove myself to the brewery, I did not feel so inclined.  The taproom was just starting to get busy as I sipped my four samples and took notes.

From left to right: brits in moscow, basilica, derby gurl, kid casual

From left to right: brits in moscow, basilica, derby gurl, kid casual

Tasting Notes:  

Kid Casual - This is a very light beer that is an ideal thirst quencher in the warmer months.  It has aromas indicative of Pilsner malt.  The faint corn and moderately sweet cracker aromas are parallel to the mild floral hop presence.  The thin white head faded quickly upon the bright and clear golden hued beer.  The cracker sweetness and faint corn noted in the aroma come through in the flavor and are pleasantly paired with delicate floral and citrus hop bitterness.  Kid Casual has a light body, spritzy carbonation and dry finish that make it a truly refreshing beverage.

Derby Gurl - This Amber Ale has an aroma that reminds me of lightly toasted bread crust, sweet with a mild earthiness.  The hop character in the aroma is subtle and well balanced against the malt characteristics.  The translucent, light amber beer is topped with a thin white head that clung to glass.  The flavors of smooth toasty malts and mellow bitterness pair wonderfully with the medium body and moderate carbonation.  Derby Gurl is an exceptionally well rounded beer that leaves one wanting more.

Brits in Moscow - A Russian Imperial Stout that is reminiscent of breakfast with its black coffee, chocolate and toast aromas.  This beige crowned, black beer is impenetrable to light and only adds to the reminiscence of coffee.  The flavors follow the nose with the addition of subtle plum quality that rounds out the luscious beer.  Brits in Moscow is a medium-full bodied, smooth and warming beer that is great to cap the night with. 

Basilica - So far, this is my all-time favorite Triple IPA and is not for those who are hop weary.  Aromas of passion fruit, mango and grapefruit dominate and are paired with the subtle, sweet biscuit like malt backbone.  There is just enough malt present in the flavor to stabilize all of the wondrous hop flavors of passion fruit, mango and a lingering resinous character.  Basilica is a beer to sip and savor with its medium body, moderate carbonation and warming comfort.   

Device, in this instance, means a plan or scheme for effecting a purpose and Device Brewing Company certainly has purpose.  That purpose being brewing incredible beers and sharing them with the community.  When asked what it takes to achieve this purpose Ken said, "bravery, insanity, faith and optimism".  Device operates under the ideal of organic growth and is slowly building the brewery piece by piece as the need arises.  This method of operation makes the idea of brewery ownership more obtainable in the day dreaming mind of a homebrewer like myself.  

One may be surprised to learn that Device Brewing Company has a neighbor brewery practically around the corner.  This area of town is mostly business park and industrial but houses both Device and New Glory Craft Brewery. Tune in next time for my experience at New Glory.