I purchased the bomber earlier this summer when my friend and I checked out Drake’s for the first time. If you’ve never visited the brewery before, you will think that you’re going the wrong way. You’re not. I mean, who knew that one of the Bay Area’s hottest breweries would be right behind Wal-Mart? I certainly didn’t. Drake’s has this sort of Tim “The Toolman” Taylor vibe going for it - it’s clean but still a bit rugged. The actual tasting room is in a large roll up garage-type area, which makes for a perfect spot to be indoors yet still feel like you’re catching some rays. We sampled a handful of different beers that day. I was familiar with their IPA, 1500, and Hefe, but that’s about it. They had all these different barrel-aged options on tap, which always sounds tempting but can be way too boozy for my liking. I left that day loving the Drakonic, a rich imperial stout, and purchasing a bottle of the 2013 Jolly Rodger.
The Jolly Rodger had always caught my eye because most of Drake’s labels are pretty straight forward. The IPA is called IPA. The Hefeweizen is called Hefe. And, the Amber is called….wait for it….Amber! In the age of never really knowing what sort of beer you’re drinking, you have to appreciate Drake’s straight forward, no frills approach to the biz. (Side note: They actually have lots of other beers where the beer and name are not one in the same). But, with the Jolly Rodger, I always wondered…who is Rodger? Why is he jolly? And, what happened to Drake? Come to find out, Rodger is Roger Lind, the original owner of Drake’s. He’s jolly because it’s their winter ale. And, Drake is not drizzy Drake, rather the brewery is named after Sir Francis Drake.
The 2013 Jolly Rodger is a deliciously smooth imperial black ale that is meant to be shared. I could not finish all 22 oz because being hung over on a Thursday is not cool, man.