I got two different sets of beer in the mail this week.
The first was a set of Pine Drops IPA from Deschutes. What a beautiful bright piney beer (it'll get better numbers as it spreads across the nation). It's a West Coast beer, but it's also new, in that it's fresh and drinkable and isn't a dry piney hop bomb like we might have thought west coast beers were, say, five years ago.
I don't need to put it in the pantheon of the best beers of all time -- even if it is drinkable in that way that you want a six pack or three bombers or a case and you don't need to worry about finishing them -- but if you think about Red Chair and Fresh Squeezed, you realize that Deschutes puts out consistently excellent seasonal IPAs that can really go toe to toe with the offerings from any brewery, anywhere.
The other package was from the North East.
An intrepid reader sent two Lawson's Sip of Sushine cans, a Heady Topper, and a Second Fiddle IPA from Fiddlehead. (They arrived cold, which, that's amazing. Thank you Jesse Haven.) I couldn't help myself, and had a Sip of Sunshine and the Second Fiddle tonight. Both were floral and fruity, with less of the pine. Maybe that's the difference between the coasts. It's fun to taste a region in your beer.
Here's the hot take -- I might take the Second Fiddle over either other beer in the package. For sure Heady Topper is third for me, it's just so old school. Second Fiddle and Sip of Sunshine are what beers are about now, and I'm into what beers are about now. Fresh and fruity, with floral or piney smells and hops, and I'm in. pseudo Sue for the win. Alpine all up in that business. Sip of Sunshine and Second Fiddle over Heady Topper.
In any case, it's a great time for beer. All of these beers are worth writing and thinking about. They might even define their respective regions, to an extent.
What sort of tastes do you think define the pale ales of the Mid-Atlantic? The Northwest? The South?
The Week in BeerGraphs
On the feasability of apps that tell us what beers are where, and maybe free beer?
Long Island brewery tour.