Common Ales: Hop Valley Cryo Stash

Hop Valley Cryo Stash IIPAWith summer around the corner, the lighter ales and IPAs are coming to the fore. Let’s dive into one.

Tropical fruit scents are right up front; mango, especially. I also like the clarity, too! The Cryo is a bright beer, and the head on it is soft and luscious.

The beer doubles down on the tropical flavors, and is quite sweet. For an imperial IPA, I would expect something a little more bitter to help keep things in check. As it warms up, the bitterness starts to expand and sharpen on the finish, and this isn’t entirely unwelcome, except it does seem to arrive with a slight metallic quality. I’m not sure what to make about that but it is a ping against the Cryo Stash.

Still, I think I’m going to endorse this one: it’s a little sweet so if that isn’t to your liking, maybe it isn’t your thing but it’s an enjoyable beer overall.


What Can You Buy There #8: Bidassoa Brother Shamus Brut IPA.

I went back to Más que cervezas, and mined the Spanish section, where I found this beauty.

And I do mean beauty. Brother Shamus ale

The Brother Shamus from Bidassoa Basque Brewery is a brut IPA, the new style with illusions of champagne.

Most of what I’ve had in this style has met some of the profile of champagne–the dryness, the bubbles–, but the end product doesn’t satisfy, because the brewers have gone too far and the beer ends up overly biting and disagreeable. I wish there were a stronger brut IPA movement, to counteract the hazing of all our IPAs (please stop hazing all our IPAs), but I’ve largely been disappointed with what I’ve had.

The Brother Shamus is nothing like any of the brut IPAs I’ve had before. They’ve managed to pull the beer back from the brink, and retain some sweetness. While there’s definitely a drying note at the last, the front end is floral, citrusy (specifically, lemony), and tropical. It’s even a bit syrupy…almost as if they made the beer extra sweet to anticipate the consumption of sugars that happens to make a regular IPA a brut IPA.

Whatever they did, I’m a fan.

Round Two #5\Second Pint PP

Garden Path Fermentation session meadGarden Path Fermentation: The Dry Table 1: a fireweed honey session mead catches my eye.

A session mead. I didn’t even think that was possible. Mead is effectively honey wine, so the ABV is typically in the double digits.

So let’s give this a shot.

It’s grainy and dry. There’s a limp attempt at tartness, but it doesn’t go anywhere. This is light mead and boy, does it suck. It certainly succeeds at being what it is trying to be; sessionable. Now if only I wanted to drink it.

This mead is watery; I don’t know why this exists, man. Unless it is there to remind me that suffering is a constant in the universe and we cannot resist it. We must instead launch ourselves forward into the void, accepting that nothing we do matters in the cosmic sense of things, all sense of meaning stripped from us like the moisture from my mouth by this beverage.

I endure this so that you don’t have to.

It really tastes like someone dumped water into a perfectly good mead and I am paying $4 for the privilege of drinking either polluted water or mead gone wrong.

There’s something to be said for not throwing good money after bad. Today, we have just the one.

Today’s second pint goes to Planned Parenthood.

Workplace Transformation

So while the website this article is hosted on has a design of hot garbage, the content is interesting. Craft brewers are in a unique position to transform their workspaces in ways that we haven’t seen in a long time, or at all, because the industry is still an emerging space and full of younger people who have a better understanding of how older economic systems have damaged their futures.

I have no idea if any of this will come to pass, but that the ideas are being circulated is really exciting.

On Gatekeeping

As someone who is into some pretty nerdy things, I have had a short trip but long journey when it comes to things that I like.

Essentially it went: I like this and I don’t get why nobody cares about it.

Then it was: I like this and I don’t get why everyone else is into all this stupid stuff.

Then, I like this and I want people to get into the thing I like.

Finally, I’ve come around to: I like this, and it’s totally ok if you want to join me but if you have something you like and want to share, let’s hear it!

Which is why stories like this are a little disheartening. There are going to be people who are new, or who want to get into something, every day. Why make it difficult for them by making jokes they don’t or can’t understand, or make them unwelcome?

Round Two #4\Second Pint WHOO

Upright's Adult IPAUpright’s Adult IPA, is, as you might suspect, an IPA. There’s a bit of melon in the nose, which made me wary because this is usually the sign of a fruity and altogether too sweet IPA.

But no; there’s a solid flag planted in bitterness on the finish, and there’s also a dry quality too. The beer feels a lot like IPAs circa the early 00s and my initial impression is; cool!

But then, three sips in, and the dryness is so potent that I’m licking my teeth. I can’t place it but something feels a little off.

I get some water before trying it again.

Nope. There’s something weird about this beer. More malt starts to appear in the nose as I let it warm up a little, and the faint sweetness makes me think of Fruit Stripe gum.

For the first time, I am starting to regret this theme. Do I really want another one of this? Can I get a mulligan?

Because it’s weird to feel like I have to moisten my teeth.

The second glass doesn’t seem to have any scent that I can pick up. This is getting weirder, right? The beer had a perfectly acceptable head on it, I should be able to get some of that tropical fruit qualities, right? Some honeydew melonish thing? Instead, nothing.

Without any nose, the bitter qualities become too prominent. There’s a pinch of melon in the flavor,  but I’m not going to call this ale balanced by any measure. For some reason, the front end has gone completely absent and the back end is not what I want in my mouth.

Still, I’m glad I gave this another go.

Today’s second pint goes to Women Have Options Ohio.

Wari Beer

This is an article on brewing an ancient style of beer.

Worth reading just for the sentence:

Inside the mass spectrometer, the sample is heated to about 9,000⁰C, which is hot enough to break down the bonds that hold molecules together. This leaves charged atoms, which get sorted by mass.

I didn’t even know that was possible. I love this.

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