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Benchmark Brewing Hildegard IIIPA

Benchmark Brewing in the Grantville neighborhood of San Diego just released their first triple IPA, Hildegard IIIPA. While “triple IPA” is not an official beer category, think of it as a double IPA amped up that much more with hops (added at different stages of the brewing process) and elevated alcohol content. February turns out to be be a big month for triple IPAs, with the annual release of the much-coveted cult beer Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, California.

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Benchmark’s Hildegard is heavy on the Citra hops, lending it a nice citrusy aroma and a bit of tropical fruit on the finish. Brewer Matt Akin brewed this to be the first of 20 San Diego beers created as fundraisers for the Lupus Foundation of Southern California, with a percent of all sales (liquid and t-shirt) going to this cause. The beer is tasty and seductive, but don’t let that fool you as it weighs in at 13.5% ABV. Get it now, get it fresh…this is a limited supply beer!

Benchmark Brewing Company
6190 Fairmount Ave, Suite G
San Diego, CA. 92120
www.benchmarkbrewing.com

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CellarTracker review: 2008 Dutton Estate (Russian River Valley, Dutton Ranch) Karmen Isabella Pinot Noir

This was a highly anticipated bottle to uncork, and did not disappoint. Lush strawberry notes and a hint of spice (cardamom, cloves?) on the nose. Drinks nice, slightly darker than other Pinots I’ve enjoyed lately, firm but silky tannins showing off a well-balanced and varietally correct Pinot Noir. I got some dense cherry pie on the mid-palate. Not the most fruit-forward Pinot, but not as subdued or earthy as some French burgundies either. I would buy this again, and heartily recommend a visit to this winery when in Russian River Valley (northern Sonoma county).

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CellarTracker review: 2009 Picket Fence Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

Notes of cherry-rhubarb pie. The juice is very thin, but enjoyable. Boysenberries on the finish. I would buy this again for the price, good value. Not the best Pinot out of Russian River Valley, to be sure…just an above-average wine for anytime drinking.

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