We traveled so I wasn't sure I'd have great beer. We traveled to a family event so I was pretty sure I'd just have some old standard. We traveled to an engagement party that featured a keg of Negro Modelo, so I had resigned myself to a fun evening with light beer.
I got lucky. My bro-in-law went to BevMo.
Stone Thunderstruck IPA
Firestone Walker Double Jack DIPA
This beer pairing did a good job describing what has happened to craft beer over the last year-plus. Thunderstruck had some fruit in the nose, but was otherwise light, airy, floral and easy to drink. As craft beer has become more popular, it seems that drinkability is a word on everyone's lips. This beer, a celebratory new IPA from Stone, wasn't a fruit bomb like many of today's freshest IPAs -- it was more floral to my palate -- but it was drinkable.
The Double Jack is starting to taste like yesterday to me. Maybe I'm not having it fresh enough -- the batch before this one was straight up old, and this batch was bottled on July 15th, so it's not old but also not fresh -- but it's beginning to taste a bit thick and heavy for me. Maybe winter will inspire me to reach for more thick DIPAs, but we'll see. I'll also wait on Double Jack until I get a nice fresh born on date.
Elysian Space Dust IPA
Elysian Dayglow IPA
Elysian Dragonstooth Imperian Oatmeal Stout
I finally got my hands on some Elysian, and all it took was sending my brother in law to a Highland Park Bevmo in Los Angeles. Do I need to spend some time complaining about Anheuser In-Bev now? I don't know. The beer was good. I doubt they've messed it up yet. At least now I have a place holder in my mind and can say, three years from now, if I think they've messed it up. And it would be a shame if they did mess it up, because Space Dust is Bright. Chinook, Citra, and Amarillo aren't the trendy hops, but the Amarillo is added late for a nice orange smell and a great light citrus finish. Maybe it's the herbal qualities of Chinook that help make it feel so bright, but if heavy is out, Space Dust is in. Who knows why the space hops alien is puking on the label.
What was weird for me is that the beer with the hops bill that would have been more of an attraction for me was the lesser beer. Mosaic, El Dorado, Centennial? Sign me up. I would say that there was more of a mango/tropical smell to this one, for sure. But once it got to taste, which is more important of course, there wasn't as much to distinguish this one in my mind. It wasn't as bright, it wasn't nearly as floral, and the juicy/tropical thing that you thought might be coming from the nose never arrived. It was okay, but I'd rather have the Space Dust, even if there's no Mosaic in it.
Dragonstooth was a heck of a way to finish the night off. Some find it a bit hoppy, some find the mouthfeel a little thin, but after a night of IPAs, both of those issues were lost on my palate. It felt thick, roasty, and maybe a bit more bitter than sweet. Which is also fine, given there was cake. Didn't want to drink my cake and eat it too.
Alaskan Icy Bay IPA
Elysian Space Dust IPA
Sunday was for the remnants of the party, and a fried chicken sandwich while we watched football in sweaty Los Angeles. So, yes, the Alaskan beer was cold. But, no, that was not by some trick of the brewer, it was because we had a cold fridge. I can't recommend this beer to you if the best thing they can find to recommend it to you is an aspect of the beer that is mostly beyond their control. Does this marketing work? Because it seems so stupid.
We left for the airport at two, for a 4:30 flight, and though that was a bit early, and Bob Hope Airport in Burbank is about the size of a Target, and fit into a strip mall between a Panda Express and a DMV, that didn't seem so crazy. We had kids and two car seats and a car to drop off and why not get there a little early. Then the wild fires in California happened, and our small puddle-jumper plane worked against us: all regional planes were cancelled because they were unsafe in the smoke.
I decided to drink.
The good news, after ABI bought Elysian, is that you'll find Space Dust on tap in an airport. So, when your flight gets pushed to 6, and then 9, and then 11, and then cancelled, and then the replacement flight gets cancelled and then you have to argue your way on to a late Southwest flight and you have to have dinner at the airport and your kids have to have a nap there and really everything is just all screwed up, then you can have some Space Dust as the world burns around you.
It's a powerful argument for these sorts of deals.