As mentioned in the upcoming review of the Ahwahnee Dining Room in Yosemite National Park, you don’t exactly plan to expand your food and drink horizons while at a national park. That being said, you will eat and drink plenty of rewarding tastes at Yosemite. We had intended to have lunch at the Wawona Lodge one day, but alas, it was closed for the season, great research job on my part there. The only option for lunch within an hour was to pick up some bland, pre- made sandwiches at the Wawona Grocery Store, and make do with an impromptu picnic.
Then we ventured to the refrigerator cases and discovered Mammoth Brewing Company beers, from the somewhat nearby Sierra Nevada town of Mammoth, better known for being the closest decent ski area to Los Angeles. Our impromptu picnic soon became an impromptu beer tasting session. In Yosemite, Mammoth markets its beers with Yosemite themes, so the Epic IPA is Tuolumne (for the meadows in the park) IPA, the Paranoids Pale Ale is Yosemite Pale Ale, and the Real McCoy Amber Ale is the Ahwahnee Amber Ale.
I appreciated the amber, but it lacked the deep, balanced malt-hop depth of a winning amber. Better was the intriguing pale ale, with a tad bit more hop than most pale ales and a unique light citrus note. Though it doesn’t have a special Yosemite theme name, the Double Nut Brown Porter is a perfect example of the chocolate-coffee filled genre without being too light or heavy.
I cannot get over the Tuolumne IPA, however. Somewhere in the hoppy canyon between IPA and Double IPA, the 50 IBUs don’t overpower at all, but provide enough hops to even satisfy Pliny the Elder addicts. This is a beautiful IPA, even better during a picnic overlooking Yosemite’s breathtaking scenery.
Even better than having these beers during a picnic in bottles, the IPA and Nut Brown Porter are available on draft at the Yosemite Lodge’s Lounge.