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Brave New Bombers

Bombs away

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Is beer better bottled in a bomber? Maybe. But one thing is for sure: The 22-ounce size is just right and it's the preferred container for many special releases. Here are three new entries that just hit the Valley:

Anchor Brewing Zymaster Series No. 6, Saaremaa Island Ale, $6.49-$8.49

The story behind this pale ale is on a bottle neck ringer, but the gist of it is that it's based on an Estonian island brew and is fermented with that locale's native yeast. This beer pours a light gold with a thin head that holds. There's a definite spiciness on both the nose and the palate, which I'm guessing comes from the yeast. Fruity malt flavors combine with very light hops in this smooth, quaffable brew. At 24 ounces, this one is a bit bigger than a bomber.

Fort George North VII, $6.99-$8.89

The two-finger head that tops this hazy, amber brew collapses quickly but leaves a beautiful lacing. Based in Astoria, Ore., Fort George calls this brew a "Belgian-inspired IPA," and it's definitely unique. The beer opens with lightly sour fruit and vanilla aromas backed by soft hops and lactose. The flavors are a delicious mix of creamy malt; earthy herb; lightly bitter, resiny hops; and an intriguing touch of pineapple and coconut. This brew is a must try.

Sierra Nevada Harvest Single Hop IPA, $5.49-$6.99

A copper-tinged gold in the glass, this beer's three-finger, frothy-white head persists nicely. The hops are a fairly new variety, Equinox, and the aromas are on the light side, built around herbal hops, fresh grass and grain. This brew is laid-back on the palate for a West Coast IPA--with soft caramel malt, citrus and pear up front--but the hops amp things up. The brew turns smooth again on the finish, with grapefruit and a touch of lemon zest.