Best Microbrew

Red Nectar Ale, Humboldt Brewing Co.

So much beer, so little time. The superior suds to be sampled in Northern California are so numerous it's difficult to pick a favorite: Anderson Valley's mellow Boont Amber? Anchor's intensely delicious Liberty Ale? Sierra Nevada's megahoppy Big Foot Barley Wine? Humboldt's Red Nectar has all the mouth-filling maltiness of a fine amber as well as a complex, hoppy temperament rich with warm, spicy undertones. Although it makes a fine accompaniment to Thanksgiving turkey and humble chicken sandwich alike, this beer can stand on its own -- preferably in a cozy pub by a crackling hearth. A credit to all microbrews, from its rich, creamy head to its pleasant afterbite.

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