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Monday, March 26, 2012

Number 36: Linden Street Brewery's Black Lager

Posted By on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge Linden Street Brewery's black lager. - IANN IVY
  • Iann Ivy
  • Linden Street Brewery's black lager.

SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition

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"The 'steam beer' style was born in the Bay Area," says Adam Lamoreaux,

Linden Street Brewery's founder and brewmaster. His Burning Oak Black

Lager is made in that style, which he calls an "Old California

lager" since Anchor Brewing Co. trademarked "steam beer" years ago.

"In the

Gold Rush, European immigrants coming from cold enough places would make

lagers in the fall and store them in ice-cold caves" Lamoreaux explains. "But the 1840s was

before refrigeration, and we didn't have the technology to make lagers

like that. So they developed a strain of lager yeast that would ferment

at the ambient temperature of San Francisco." It's one of only two beer

styles that can claim to have been invented in North America.

Whereas German schwartzbiers like Köstritzer hit you with a coffee-like bite

and then finish crisply, Linden Street's old California lager is rounder, with a sweet tinge to it. While it looks like a stout,

though, it's much lighter and clearer -- each sip may begin with

chocolate, but by the time you swallow you'd swear you were drinking a

lighter pale ale.

The black lager, introduced in 2009, has become a favorite

in San Francisco restaurants like Flour + Water, Range, and Cotogna

because of its low alcohol -- 5.5 percent -- and because it pairs so

beautifully with food. It may be one of the Bay Area's new classics, but it's as traditional as they get.

Linden Street Brewery, 95 Linden, Oakland, (510) 812-1264. Available at restaurants around San Francisco.

Other favorites in this series:

37: Aged oolongs from Red Blossom Tea Company

38: Broken Record's crawfish grits

39: Cebiche mixto from La Mar 

40: Nutella-hazelnut hand pie from Black Jet Baking Co.
41: Fifth Floor's burger
42: Perbacco's agnolotti dal plin
43: Iced coffee from Sightglass
44: Cypress Grove's Purple Haze Chevre
45: Lechon from Tastebuds Cuisine
46: Duck with beets from AQ
47: Tai nigiri at ICHI Sushi
48: Fish with explosive chiles from Spices! 
49: Baker & Banker Bakery's blueberry cream cheese muffin
50: Kufta tajine from Cafe Zitouna

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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