Wrong track

illustration by hayley doshay

I’ve long considered Karl Strauss Brewing Company the “Disney brewery,” as its tepid and unchallenging brews have been dispensed in the California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort since 2002. In recent months, Karl Strauss has expanded into the “big, bold” beer market, creating and distributing doubled-up versions of its standby beers and other more muscular styles. Off the Rails is an imperial version of its Red Trolley Ale, and it pours a peach-jam orange with a moderate but persistent cream-colored head. The nose contains sugary caramel and sweet citrus, and although there’s some breadiness on the palate, it quickly gives way to more syrup-soaked citrus. It makes a strong impression on the tongue, finishing off with some dusky hop bitterness—but the sticky, stewed-fruit flavor borders on gross. $7.99 for a 22-ounce bottle at Taylor’s Market, 2900 Freeport Boulevard; (916) 443-6881.

Beer: Jackalope Imperial Pumpkin Porter
Brewer: Beer Valley Brewing Company
Where: Flaming Grill Cafe, 2319 El Camino Avenue; (916) 359-0840; www.flaminggrillcafe.com

Beer: Black Butte Porter
Brewer: Deschutes Brewery
Where: Raley Field’s beer garden, 400 Ballpark Drive in West Sacramento; (916) 376-4700; www.raleyfield.com

Beer: Of Love & Regret (spiced Belgian)
Brewer: Stillwater Artisanal
Where: Pangaea Two Brews Cafe, 2743 Franklin Boulevard; (916) 454-4942; www.pangaeatwobrews.com