Number 36: Linden Street Brewery's Black Lager

Categories: SFoodie's 50
Linden_Street_Black_Lager.jpg
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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Linden Street Brewery

95 Linden, Oakland, CA

Category: General

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