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. I will start with what is closest to home and what happens to be one of my favorites, Track 7 Brewing Co..
The brewery/taproom, which opened on New Year’s Eve 2011, is located very near the new development of the old Western Pacific rail yard. What started as a single, small warehouse brewery with a few picnic tables has grown into the adjoining warehouse and then some. The space is full of places to grab a brew and gather with friends and neighbors. The long, communal tables invite conversation and one can find a diverse crowd of beer enthusiasts to chat with. There is a patio to enjoy the many months of great Sacramento weather and you can count on there being a good food truck to provide sustenance for continued imbibing. The staff are all well-informed and welcoming. The location is dog and kid friendly, but please remember to leash them; the dogs I mean. Track 7 is due to open a second location in the Natomas area in the very near future. One can follow the progress of the new space, by following either their Facebook or Twitter accounts. Also, check out the Q&A from Beers In Sacramento regarding said opening.
I have sat adjacent to the kettles and fermenters at Track 7 many more times than I can recall but it has been nearly three years since I have had a round of samplers. In that time, they have changed how they do things. Instead of receiving all of the samples at once, you are given one sample at a time in a glass that it yours to keep. Not only does this allow you to experience the beer at its freshest and most aromatic, it also allows you to focus on that one sample and not influence your palate with other beers. The aroma of malt filled the air as I sipped my samples.
Bee Line Blonde - This incredibly easy drinking blonde ale has peach and citrus aromas that are balanced with a mild cracker like sweetness. The clear, golden beer is topped with a thin white head that disappeared mere seconds prior to the sample. The flavor followed the aroma, but with the addition of a near lager like mineral quality. The medium body and carbonation only add to the easy drinking and refreshing nature of this beer. Bee Line is a perfect thirst quencher for any weather and is usually available year-round.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Burnt Fog Smoked Porter - I have had their delicious Smoked Porter on several occasions, but this is my first go at the Bourbon Barrel Aged variety, wow. Milk chocolate and vanilla aromas are cradled by a subtle smokiness and faint earthy hop character. It is an opaque dark brown with a beige foam that dissipated quickly to a slick of spotty bubbles. The milk chocolate and vanilla noted in the aroma come through in the flavor and are balanced against the flavors of bourbon, plum and a very subtle smokiness (nicely done). This beer is nearly chewy with its medium-full body and moderate carbonation. There is a nice warming in the chest that paired with the comforting aromas of vanilla and chocolate, make for a beer that I'd love to sip near a fire, maybe alongside some roasted marshmallows. As barrel aged beers tend to be, this is a limited release. I'd love to see it come back soon, but until it does I'll be glad to have the Burnt Fog.
Dubbel Track - This is a Belgian style Dubbel that may not be on the menu often but I certainly get excited when it is. The aroma is of brown sugar, red apple, raisins and a mellow, spicy hop character. The deep amber elixir is crowned with an off-white head formed of fine bubbles that leave minimal lacing on the glass. The flavors of prune and raisin are set against subtle clove and cinnamon flavors. There is a spicy and earthy hop character in the dry finish of this smooth and medium-full bodied beer. Dubbel Track is not currently in bottles, though I think it would cellar nicely; maybe they'll bottle it at some point in the future, fingers-crossed.
Panic IPA - This is a very West Coast IPA, redolent of the aroma of pine, grapefruit and passion fruit with a subdued bready malt backbone. It is pale copper with a thin white head that persists. The flavor of grapefruit is on the forefront balanced with the noted bready malt sweetness. The aftertaste is of passion fruit and a lingering piney resinous quality. This lovely bitterness coupled with the medium body and moderate carbonation make for quite a refreshing beverage. Panic IPA is available year-round and can be found in bottles and cans in an ever growing perimeter from the brewery.
Track 7 is easily one of my favorite breweries in Sacramento and that has nothing to do with the fact that I live close enough to smell their brew days. It has everything to do with Track 7 having great beer, great owners and staff and wonderful clientele. As they have continued to grow and expand their market I have not noticed a difference in the quality of either the beer or the service, I wish them the best with their latest endeavors and in the future.