My god the unbridled joy on my kids' faces when we were at the pool. Not sure I ever achieve that level of ecstasy, even Friday night when I was hit with a really awesome lineup of craft beer.
Elysian Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale
Calicraft The Bay DIPA
The dregs of the beer fridge turned out okay. The Elysian made the room smell like oranges as soon as I opened it. So obviously it was pretty fruity, but what it didn't achieve was a freshness, or a brightness, or a crispness. Which is to say that maybe it was a bit syrupy sweet. But it was only a pale ale, so it's not like it was barleywine thick or anything. This is all on the ticky-tack level. It was enjoyable, and may you enjoy it in an airport or at an aunt's house soon.
The Calicraft just weathered the storm that is more appealing beer around it. Never wanted to choose it. But it smelled like lemon and tasted like melon, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone. This brewery is a high-floor brewery -- none of their offerings upset me -- and I guess if a four-star surprise beer reprents their ceiling, it's not one that's going to show up on a ton of lists. But if you're in the Bay Area, you might as well check them out eventually.
Russian River Supplication
New England Brewing Co. G-Bot DIPA
The Bruery Terreux Confession
Sante Adairius West Ashley
2nd Shift Brewing Katy
Side Project Fuzzy
Cellarmaker ALS in Chains
Brouwerij De Molen SSS Export Stout
Modern Times Bourbon Barrel Aged with Coffee Monster's Park Stout
I finished up a meh day at the park, with only one short interview and a couple bad interactions. At least I got to geek out about the Grateful Dead with Jake Peavy for a bit. Oh and I had some Supplication at the ballpark, which is just an amazing sentence. Supplication! At the ballpark!
Then it was time for the tasting, which ended up starting with a manageable five people, so we broke out the G-Bot early. So fresh and bright and hoppy for a big fruity DIPA. Good thing we did it early, before a couple more people came, which sucks, because they brought some killer stuff.
The Confession was a riesling sour, so it was all grapy and light, which is great. Instead of the sweet thing you get with bad rieslings, this one was on the dry side. Really enjoyed this, and a perfect beginning to a drinkfest.
Thank you, friend that brought the West Ashley. I love Sante Adairius, but I've never pulled off the West Ashley coup before. This one was old, but that only mellowed it, maybe. I still got a crap ton of appricots, with that funky saison backbone that makes S.A. hum. What an amazing beer.
We probably should have had the Katy first before it. After the West Ashley, the fresh and bright Katy was a wallflower. It read more watery than refreshing, and it wilted. I don't blame Katy. I blame me.
So we ran all through a big fat peach sour from Side Project and let me tell you this was big and fat. So sour -- not quite enamel stripping, but right there -- but also up to the neck in fruit. I want more Side Project was a thought I had, and I had to wait all of two days.
The Cellarmaker was a crisp and sour and bitter and fruity and grassy and thick as always. That's a weird collection of words to put together, but only if you've never had a Cellarmaker. And this was somehow a fixed recipe due to the ALS benefit or something? Whatever, it was great.
The SSS reminded me of Central Waters' Petit Mort, which is a barrel-aged weizenbock. Is that possible? An export stout against a BA bock? It's weird but I guess what I was tripping off of were the roasted notes, the elements of stout, the choco/coffee whatever... without the body of a normal American double BA stout. For this one, it was nice to keep this going without being bogged down.
And then the hammer fell. What sort of madness. Five stars. Coffee, bourbon, ginger(?), spices, Christmas, a raging fire, a warm blanket, and a murdery mystery. You can't help but take one of those real big sniffs, followed by ten more, before you even take a sip. You want to smell like that. You want your house to smell like that. You want to smell that, forever. And THEN you take a sip.
What a night.
Urban Chestnut Zwickel Bavarian Lager
4Hands Dakine Tropical IPA
Pool day. Didn't have a ton. The Zwickel made me feel like I was in Germany again. I don't think anyone does lagers like Germany does. It's a bit of nutty fresh crispness that is often missing here. I know. I'm sorry. I don't "well in Germany" much, but this beer made me think that way.
The Dakine was tropical, yes, but it was a tropical boner. It was a pineapple mandarin orange hard on. I mean I like tropical juice IPAs, but something about this went too far for me. I bet it was the pineapple. It reminded me of the pina colada beer from Belching Beaver. If you make your pineapple too sweet, that will happen to me. Belching Beaver has ruined me.
Narrow Gauge Brewing Oast #1 IPA
Side Project Biere du Pays (#4)
The Bruery Mischief
Alltech Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout
Had a mini-growler of the Oast on Sunday, it was really nice. There are some more hops in there, but the citra stands out. It's almost over-bubbled, but still you get a fresh Citra melon IPA for most of it, and who doesn't want a fresh citra melon IPA? I do.
Oh my lord Side Project is killing it. This Biere du Pays was super easy to drink, while being a sour saison. Oak-aged saison, the bottle says, but the taste is of a Berliner Weisse almost. Tart and fresh and drink you all day every day. The proof that this was a beer for everyone? My wife does not like sours. She liked this one.
The Mischief was fine. A pepper lemon Belgian golden, it didn't transcend the style and wouldn't end up on any must-have lists for me, but it was a good example of how even The Bruery beer that is furthest from your happy zone will still be a strong effort worthy of at least 3.5 stars.
Second time I've had one of these Alltechs. The first was some sort of Kentucky Bourbon Ale, and this is the stout. Both were too full of alcohol, too nose heavy, too bourbon heavy. Both Alltechs forgot the rest of the beer. It's funny to mention that Central Waters again, but in this case, the wood and bourbon tastes where there, the body was missing, and the overall effect was lacking. Brewing is hard.
What a weekend. One of the great things about loving beer is that you can say you had a frigging awesome weekend.
What'd you do?
Oh, had a few with friends and took the boys to the pool.