On the way from Sacramento to Chico for a wedding, my wife and I stopped in Yuba City at a microbrewery and restaurant called Sutter Buttes Brewing. Nestled on a historic back street, Sutter Buttes Brewing is worth finding. Sutter Buttes Brewing opened in December 2010 under the leadership of owner and brewmaster Mark S. Martin (a homebrewer and truck driver) with the support of brewing consultant Peter Hoey (of Sacramento Brewing Company and Odonata Beer Company fame). The brewery is now being sold to a local resident of Yuba City. I hope the new owner maintains the quality we discovered.
The interior of the brewery is clean with tanks lining the wall and delightfully eclectic art painted on the cinder-block walls. The high, wooden ceilings make the interior feel very spacious and copper covers the bar top. The brewery provides a relaxing atmosphere with friendly and attentive staff. Hint: Try the coleslaw made with cranberries!
During our visit, I met assistant brewer Chris Pickens, who provided insight into the beers served. There were five Sutter Buttes beers available that day: 1) Kölsch; 2) Flood Water Pale Ale; 3) Butte House Saison; 4) Water Tower India Pale Ale (IPA); and 5) Franklin Double IPA. Here are my tasting notes.
Sutter Buttes Kölsch (4% ABV / 35 IBUs): Kölsch is a beer style that originated in Cologne, Germany. Sutter Buttes Kölsch pours a crystal clear light straw color with a white foam. The beer left a nice lace down the side of the glass. Sutter Buttes Kölsch has an aroma of honey, sweet malt, and citrus. The beer is light-bodied with mild carbonation. Sutter Buttes Kölsch tastes of malt, straw, and light honey with a mild hops bitter finish. This beer is very drinkable and lots of malty fun.
Flood Water Pale Ale (5% ABV / 45 IBUs): Flood Water pours a crystal clear gold color with white foam and leaves a nice lace down the side of the glass. This beer has obviously been dry-hooped with Cascade hops and has a wonderful orange peel aroma with citrus and floral bouquet. Flood Water is medium-bodied with mild carbonation. This pale ale has delicious flavors of malt and subtle orange peels with an excellently integrated hops bitterness. Flood Water has a dry finish with lingering hops bitterness and shadows of orange peels. This is an outstanding session beer that can flood my glass any day!
Butte House Saison (8% ABV / 30 IBUs): This beer pours a clear light gold color with white foam that leaves a nice lace. Butte House Saison has an earthy hay aroma and smells like Belgian yeast was used in brewing. The beer is medium to full-bodied with mild carbonation. Butte House Saison has a delicious sweet malt flavor combined with earthy hay/straw. The beer has a dry finish with mild hop bitterness and very mild peppery spice. The alcohol is integrated well. I don’t think I would mistake this for a Belgian-made Saison, but Butte House Saison is very good and very drinkable.
Water Tower IPA (6.5% ABV / 65-70 IBUs): This beer pours a clear amber gold color with white foam that leaves a nice lace. Water Tower IPA has a mild malt aroma with a nice bouquet of grapefruit citrus and hints of orange peels. The beer is medium bodied with mild carbonation. Water Tower has a delicious malt flavor with hints of orange peels and a nice hops bitterness that is assertive but not overpowering. The beer has a mild peppery spice finish with a delightful floral flavor on the back of the palate. This is a complex IPA that knows how to make a delicious statement without screaming its style.
Franklin Double IPA (7.5% ABV / 100 IBUs): Franklin pours a clear golden color with white foam. This beer had a more muted aroma than the Water Tower IPA, but malt and citrus are present. Franklin is medium bodied with mild carbonation. The beer has a malt flavor with hops bitterness that is well-integrated and more powerful than first impression when you take a sip. The middle flavors include citrus and pine resin. Franklin has a dry, bitter finish with a mild peppery spice. Franklin Double IPA is good, but I prefer the Declaration of Water Tower IPA to pursue my hoppy happiness.
Sutter Buttes Brewing was an awesome oasis of very good beer and food. Thanks to assistant brewer Chris Pickens for spending some time with me during his lunch break. And as always, a hearty thanks to my wonderful wife for supporting this stop and performing as the post-stop designated driver.