HepKat Pale Ale at Backstreet Brewery, Our Drink of (Last) Week!

It's understandable if you haven't been to Backstreet Brewery. It doesn't have much name recognition, because it supplies the much better-known Lamppost Pizza mini-chain in Vista and Irvine. It opened in the midst of a wave of brewery openings in Orange County, which diluted their coverage. And, frankly, it's hard to find, tucked as it is under the new overpass meant to convey tourists from Disneyland to Angel Stadium without any pesky journeys through the real Anaheim.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't make an effort. The Tomahawk Double IPA nearly knocked me off my barstool; it's the archetypal West Coast DIPA, and its IBU rating must have been four digits. Great for a summer's day, not so much for a chilly grey evening. I switched, at the bartender's suggestion, to a HepKat Pale Ale, which balanced the bitterness and hoppy taste with a little more malt to take the edge off. It disappeared quickly, but at only 5.6%, it's really something you can nurse all day long.

Backstreet Brewing, 1884 S. Santa Cruz St., Anaheim; 657-236-4050. Also available at Lamppost Pizza, 14450 Culver Dr., Irvine; 949-857-0160; backstreetbrew.com.

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