Despite what I thought was a proper pour, I sill have difficulty getting any nose off the beer. There’s something a little metallic there, which is definitely not a good sign.
The first flavor impression is sweet, a little fruity. It reminds me of watermelon, actually. It feels thin on the tongue though. As if it’s striving to be a lighter beer.
That lightness doesn’t get much support though. The bitterness is pretty strong- strong enough to power through the finishing bubbles. I want to like this beer-it seems like it’s really close to being good.
But I also get the sense that it doesn’t want to commit to a style. The bottle says ‘golden ale’ but the finishing bitterness especially pushes it out of that balance that goldens might have.
Also, I’m noticing that I have a negative reaction to any beer that gives me a sense of thinness. That tactile sensation of weightlessness that isn’t supported by a balancing flavor profile is definitely a knock for me.
The nose has a sharp, grassy quality. There’s definitely a moment of hop intensity that comes from cutting into a bag of hops for addition to the boil. That’s great-finally getting one of the most important qualities of an IPA, the scent, down!
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the flavors make a throughline in the beer. The middle isn’t offering me much, flavor and while the finish doesn’t seem to be too bitter, it doesn’t correspond to anything in the nose.
As the beer warms up, a little more malt flavor steps in, so that’s nice. But I don’t know that I can call this a complete win. Is it decent? Yeah. Would I be afraid to offer it to a stranger with a mild caveat? No. But is it great? No, not quite.
It’s nice to know the name still counts for something.
I’m having a wet hop IPA collaboration beer from Bale Breaker & Cloudburst, called Citra Slicker. And just look at it; a frothy head, a bright clear ale: this is practically textbook IPA stuff.
The nose is a bit grapefruit a bit dank, and the finish reminds me of this fact. It’s a very good IPA that I’m happy to have by itself but boy would this go well with a fully loaded sandwich.
I didn’t know any of those things when I bought it, of course. And I am inherently distrustful of fresh/wet hop beers. These things are 98% hype, and the expiration date on the good ones is the day before you drank it. It’s all about FOMO, instead of making a special, yearly beer.
However: I like Bale Breaker and I like Cloudburst. I’ve had enough of their beers to know they aren’t trying to capitalize on my fear of missing a beer. They consistently make good beer, so I am willing to give them money.
That isn’t to say they have to be perfect every time; nobody is. It would be unfair and unkind of me to insist that they are. Let’s all not be unfair or unkind, shall we?
With that acknowledged, it’s nice to be rewarded for putting my faith in the previous work of these breweries.
Good things aren’t easy to do. Take your pick-whatever it is, if you want it done well, it won’t be easy.
So it’s nice to reward the people who do something well but it’s also important to trust them, too.
Your reputation still counts. Even in the wild world of 2021.
My second IPA has a danky nose, not quite forest, but no citrus scents. Solid head, though; tiny bubbles on top that are dense and white. The overall color is darker than I intended but all that I could get was amber liquid malt, so….there you have it.
The head is pleasantly ticklish on my lip, and the middle of the beer isn’t too intense. But the roasted elements of the liquid malt seem to show up and add an extra acrid quality to the finishing bitterness. As a result, there’s a little bit of a ‘roof of the mouth’ scouring element. I’m using my tongue to wipe away the flavors. Not because it’s bad, but because I want to cleanse my palate.
Call this an ‘almost there’. I think if the roasted qualities weren’t present, I’d have a beer I enjoy more.
The white ale from New Spring Brewing has a lemon pepper nose, a little coriander in the middle and a very crisp finish. It’s about as good as you could ask for, on what is probably the last warm fall day.
I saw this video from the Vlogbrothers this week and while I encourage you to watch it, please allow me to summarize for those who don’t have twenty minutes to spare:
The internet, like radio or the printing press before it, is a brand new thing for people and so, just like radio of the printing press, we are doing it badly. It is going to take some time for people to get a handle on it and we should do so in ways that don’t crush people who want to create content, but don’t let the hook off of those who want to use “the algorithm” as an excuse for why white nationalists, anti-vaxxers or con artists get promoted on their platform.
However, in the case of ‘the algorithm’ I think the defense of ‘we didn’t choose this’ is seriously disingenuous. You wrote the algorithm to do something, smart guy. When it does what you told it to, you’re still responsible. You gave orders and there were commands executed at your direction.
That we don’t have a better grasp of how to internet is scary, in and of itself. That it comes at a time when we are facing a triple threat of fascism, pandemics, and climate crisis-any one of which will end life as we know it-seems both spectacularly unfortunate and bone chilling.
It’s also just a little funny, if bleak humor is your jam and these days, it ought to be. Just to keep your sanity.
However, there’s no reason to give up hope. Hope is what makes this survivable. That we still have millions of people working every day to make themselves better, make their relationship to each other and the planet less toxic, trying to tame the seemingly unbridled and near limitless forces that get to broadcast ‘fuck you, got mine’ to the world faster than I can type.
Sure we don’t know how, just yet. But once upon a time, we didn’t know how to get to the moon, or make a vaccine, or make beer. Or push ‘send’ and transmit a message that could be received by over a billion people.
This Chocolate Brandy Alexander is from Breakside and it’s a milk stout aged in brandy barrels. This feels very much like my kinda beer.
I’ve let it warm up for a few minutes before taking a sip and it was definitely worth it. Coco on the nose, compliments a dark chocolate dryness on the finish, and in the middle there’s a twist of that brandy, smoothed out by the milk. It is a treat yourself kinda beer.
I know it has been a long year for many of us and I know that I personally am deeply frustrated, frequently angry and occasionally frightened of what may come. Maybe that sounds familiar. I’m not sure how it can’t, to anyone who is both paying attention and hoping for a better, kinder future.
But having a glass full of luxury is reminding me to remind you to treat yourself occasionally. Kindly, and in ways that help you (and maybe others!) but to not forget to do so.
Learning how to be kind to oneself often means practicing by being kind to others-but in that process, a lot of us forget to be kind to ourselves, too.