Hit the ale trail in downtown Martinez

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Who knew Martinez would end up with such a buzzy craft-brew scene? The newest and most impressive addition to the city’s beer offerings is Del Cielo Brewing, which opened its doors in May as the third brewery in a one-block radius. The brewery newcomer dwarfs its neighbors, Rocksteady Brewing and Five Suns Brewing, in size and in quality, with 16 housemade beers on tap.

Del Cielo is tucked inside a historic brick building with high ceilings, huge windows and exposed beams. Long communal tables provide extensive seating and encourage you to get to know your neighbors over a pint or two.

Owner Luis Castro won plenty of prizes during his home-brewing days, so his jump to professional brewing is not surprising. The name Del Cielo means “from heaven” in Spanish, and hopheads will feel like they’re on cloud nine here. There were nine hop-forward beers on tap on the day we visited, including a hazy pale, an India pale lager, a session India pale ale, four IPAs, a double IPA and a black IPA (my favorite of the bunch).

Castro’s beers are more balanced than many IPAs, with less bitterness and more focus on hop flavors and aromas. If you aren’t fond of the hop juice, don’t despair — there are many other good choices. The Orale Mexican lager is a great example of the style, and the blonde ale and American wheat are very well-made light beers. Three stouts and an American brown ale were also available, including a golden coffee stout — strange, but delicious.

Pint pours are $6.50 to $7.50 and taster sets of five pours are also available. Crowlers and growler fills are also offered. Limited food offerings include a hot dog, a roast beef sandwich and pretzels with cheese, but outside food can be brought in, and the tasting room is both kid and dog-friendly.Related Articles

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Don’t miss: My favorite beer was the Smooth Ride Foreign Extra Stout. This beer, 7 percent alcohol by volume, is roasty, chocolatey and very full bodied, with excellent malt/hop balance. El Cielo has a peanut butter version of this, as well, appropriately called Heavenly Nutty.

Details: Open from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 3 to 10 p.m. Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays at 701A Escobar St., Martinez;

More breweries: Find …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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