Last night I went to one of the many craft breweries in the Bay Area, the Fault Line Brewing Company at the corner of Lawrence & Oakmead, in Sunnyvale, CA. I have been to Faultline previously, but it was 4 years ago, so I thought that it would be a great place to stop by for dinner to have some good beers and good food. The brew pub has a nice pond in back that was full of ducks and was nicely shaded, however I decided to grab a seat inside for dinner and drinks. The food was very good, but this is a beer blog, not a food blog, so let’s move on to the beer.
Last night, Fault Line had to beers on tap, the nine listed to the right and an Irish Red. Some were great, others not so much; so let’s go through each.
It was light gold in color with a thin white head. The distinct sulfur notes that are part of the style were present, and there was no malt in the aroma. The flavor was slightly fruity with very little hop bitterness or flavor. The Kolsch was definitely in style, and very refreshing. It was a great example of the style.
The Hefe was pale yellow in color and very cloudy from the suspended wheat and yeast particles that are expected in the style. Unfortunately there was very little head on the pour, which may have been in a large part due to the sample glass, but even an exaggerated swirl produced little to no head that quickly dissipated. There were distinct clove and banana fruity esters with a very slight orange citrus note. The flavors were overwhelmingly wheat and banana with an orange finish. It was very refreshing and thirst quenching like a good hefeweizen should be. Yet another great beer!
The Tripel poured a light golden color with an impressive white head that had excellent retention and great lacing. The Triple had a slightly spicy aroma with fruity and hot notes from the high alcohol content. The flavor was very spicy and peppery with a very slight citrus finish and a medium bitterness. This certainly is not the best tripel that I have tried, but it is a complex one that I could see drinking again, but only paired with food. It is definitely not a beer to drink on its own.
English Pale Ale
The English Pale poured a light copper color with a nice white head and excellent lacing. There was a very light citrus aroma that was easily overpowered by sweet malts and caramel scents. It has a medium to light bitterness with is in style for the English pale. The flavor was sweet, caramely, floral, and fruity. It was exceptionally smooth and creamy. This was a good English Pale Ale, in the British tradition. Noticeably absent of the piney and citrusy hop notes that Sierra Nevada made famous in the American interpretation.
The IPA poured light gold in color with an off white golden head. The aroma was full of fruity esters, orange and lemon with little to no discernible maltiness. The flavor was citrusy from the hops and was followed by a noticeable bitter bite. This is a decent IPA, somewhere between the traditional English variety and the hoppier American west coast variety.
The Bitter was amber with an off white head. There was a slight sweet caramel aroma with no discernible hoppy aromas. It was poured on Nitrogen, giving it an extremely smooth and creamy mouth feel. The flavor was sweet and caramely with no hop presence. This would have been a far better beer if it was served either on a traditional draught, or out of a cask.
The Abbey was mahogany in color with light tan head. The aroma was overwhelmingly spicy with an alcoholic heat that was almost off putting. The flavor was extremely spicy with a very strong alcoholic bite. I think they may have been pushing the very top of the temperature range with their Abbey because the traditionally complex notes of a Belgian Dubble did not show through and were overpowered by alcoholic heat.
The Red poured copper in color with a thin tan head with a surprisingly excellent retention. The aroma was defined by its caramel maltiness and lack of hop notes. There was very little bitterness, leaving the Irish red very sweet with roasted caramel malt notes. This red was a good example of the style.
The Stout was a dark opaque black with a dark tan head. It had a very strong roasted, chocolaty and smoky aroma, reminiscent of a camp fire and s’mores. The flavor was very roasty with chocolate and caramel notes. I was balanced and slightly sweet, and easily the best beer of the flight.
There are a lot of people who have the misinterpretation that a cask beer is a flat warm beer. Unfortunately that is what was served at Fault Line. There was absolutely no carbonation, and rather than being served at cellar temperatures (low 50s), it was served in the mid to high 60’s which is far too warm for stout. I love cask beer, but this was a very bad example.
All in all, the brewery was good, with a few bad notes, and the food was excellent. If you are in the area, stop by and have a beer.
That’s all for tonight, stay tuned tomorrow for a review of Rogue Ale's Voodoo Maple Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale