The Bruery Ruekeller Helles

The Bruery has long been one of my all-time favorite breweries, as I quite enjoy their Belgian-style, sour and wild ale offerings. So I was a bit surprised to see this latest release that ventures beyond what we normally expect from this renowned brewery, and is in fact, its first-ever lager and the first in the Placentia, CA-based brewery’s true-to-style series. The name Ruekeller is a play on words, combining Rue, the Bruery’s family namesake, and Ruhkeller, which is German for “Rest Cellar,” where the beer rests in a secondary fermentation so that it can mellow and develop. In keeping with the German style, this 5.2% ABV lager is brewed with premium Pilsner malt and Magnum and Saaz hops from Germany. The result is an easy-drinking, full-bodied brew with light bitterness, a touch of sweetness and a clean and crisp finish befitting a well-made lager. As anyone who knows beer is aware, lagers are much harder to make than ales, and I’m not surprised that The Bruery was up to the task of making a truly great one. And while it may have been hard to make, it sure is easy to love, and I sure hope there will be more to come. 


Flying Embers Hard Kombucha

Kombucha, a fermented tea, is a very unique beverage that is fast taking root in the beverage industry, and now hard kombucha is also growing in popularity and market share. Flying Embers features handcrafted hard kombucha with live probiotics and botanicals with zero sugar (0 net carbs) and ranges from 4.5% to 7.5% ABV. Made from a sparkling fermented tea kombucha culture with adaptogens, it’s also organic, gluten-free, vegan and unfiltered; and comes in six flavors: Ancient Berry, Grapefruit Thyme, Lemon Orchard, Pineapple Chili, Cherry Lime and Ginger & Oak. While not to be confused with beer or cider, it does have a lively carbonation thanks to the champagne yeast it’s brewed with. As it contains live probiotics—live cultures considered “good” bacteria that offer health-promoting benefits supplementing your body’s natural microbiome and gut health—it may be considered an all-around good-for-you drink. I tried four of the flavors and found them all to be delightful and enjoyed them as much as a good beer or cider. 



Four Peaks Gilt Lifter Scottish Light Ale

A segment of the market that is lacking in the craft beer industry is light calorie beers, with only a handful that resemble beer more than flavored water to choose from. With this in mind, I was very interested to check out this new release from Arizona’s largest brewery. I’ve also long been a fan of the Tempe-based brewery’s Kilt Lifter, which this brew it’s modeled after. But it’s not a watered down version, but actually an entirely new recipe and is designed to fit within a beer style called Scottish Light Ale, which is traditionally low in alcohol but high in malt character. Such is the case of Gilt Lifter, which weighs in at only 3.4% ABV and 99 calories per 12-oz serving, half the calories and carbs and nearly half the alcohol content of Kilt Lifter. While it won’t replace Kilt Lifter, to my tastes, it’s for sure an enjoyable brew and should be a contender for those looking to watch their calories and alcohol intake while still appreciating malty, bready, real beer flavors.


Ohza Classic Mimosa

Mimosa, the ever-popular low-alcohol brunch drink, may not be just for brunch any more, now that there is a ready-to-drink option available. Packaged in a 12-oz can and at 5% ABV, the Ohza Classic Mimosa is gluten-free and contains no added sugar or artificial flavors. While not required for alcohol beverages, a Nutrition Facts label on the can proudly details a count of 140 calories, 14 carbs and 0 mg sodium per 12-oz serving. It’s made with real orange juice (not a fake artificial orange flavor) and premium Brut sparkling wine from the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. This canned version adds the convenience of being able to pop open a can anytime you want one, and is easy to transport.