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Best Microbrew San Francisco 2002 -

There's something about really dark beer that feels downright nourishing. It might be its top-fermenting yeasts, or its well-roasted grains, or its totally cool, pitch-black color. In any case, a fine, full-bodied stout has the power to fill your belly and soothe your soul as it clouds your overtaxed cranium. Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout is a fine example. A blend of pale, caramel, and chocolate malted barleys, oats, and hops results in a rich, rounded brew with a creamy head, a slightly fruity aroma, a sweet and supple flavor, and a somewhat bitter finish. It's wonderful drunk in quantity with a big bowl of beef stew and a hunk of sourdough, sipped alongside a wedge of particularly pungent Stilton, or quaffed between choruses of "It's Your Thing." Mendocino County strikes again!

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