New brews and beer news from Lagunitas, 21st Amendment and more – The Mercury News

The holidays are upon us — and seasonal beers have begun appearing on store shelves. Here’s what’s new in Northern California’s beer world.

New brews: San Francisco’s Fort Point Brewing just released Manzanita, the brewery’s new fall seasonal, available in cans. The new beer is a unique interpretation of a German rauchbier — or smoked beer — brewed with local beechwood-smoked malts and charred manzanita branches to create what the brewmaster describes as an assertive, multi-layered smoke aroma and a delicate balance of nutty, herbal, sweet and savory flavors. The Fort Point crew is billing it as a great “campfire beer.”

Sierra Nevada is releasing a mixed Snow Pack for the season with a dozen bottles that include Pale Ale, Coffee Stout, Wintertide — a winter warmer — and Holiday Haze IPA. The last two, by the way, are only available in the mix pack.

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Lagunitas will release its Olde GnarlyWine at the beginning of December for a limited — and brief —release, so keep your eyes open. (The 22-ounce bottles age well, but you can enjoy the barleywine now, too.) The Petaluma-based brewery also just released the latest in its OneHitter series: Born Yesterday Fresh Hop Unfiltered Pale Ale.

Great medal count: California brought home 57 medals from last month’s Great American Beer Festival, which saw an astonishing 7,923 beers entered into 98 categories of judging. (I was one of the 276 judges once again.) Gold medals went to San Francisco’s Social Kitchen & Brewery for its Mr. Kite’s Pale Ale; Watsonville’s Corralitos Brewing Co. for Zoned AG Apricot; Auburn Alehouse for Hop Donkey, a double red ale; and Auburn’s Crooked Lane Brewing Co. for its Wobblor Doppelbock.

Auburn Alehouse also snagged a silver medal for its Gold Digger IPA. And Mill Valley’s Headlands Brewing Co. also earned

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