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Last Weekend's Beer, Today

Eno Sarris, October 19, 2015 -   

This was the weekend of Sports Triumph. On Thursday, I watched the Mets win game five of the National League Divisional Series before I hopped on my bike and made it for the second quarter in the Stanford / UCLA game, just in time to see this ridiculous catch. From about twenty yards away, in that end zone. 

That started out as a busted-looking reverse / flea flicker that we thought was dead like eight different times. We yelled a lot. 

Then the Mets, improbably, jumped on the Cubs in the first round and all I did was hang around the house and drink beer and yell at the television. Especially during this catch, I yelled so hard my wife was upset at me.

It was great.

Thursday

Abita Andygator Dopple Helles Bock
Caldera IPA

I don't think I'd recommend the Andygator, despite the fact that it was an eye-opener. Dopple Helles Bock, 8%, looks all light, is super sweet and strong. It's a nice way to sneak in some ABV across from your wife, but I'm not getting away with that crap anyway, she'll just assume it's one of those crazy stouts that looks like a pale ale. I've written about the Caldera, and just wished it was fresher or better. But the real star of the night was that Makers Mark fifth that sloshed around campus with me on semi-flat tires with blue and orange sparkle exhaust. 

Friday

Russian River Pliny the Elder IPA
Stone Enjoy By 10/31/15

My older kid is not only still pooping in his pants a little longer than he's supposed to, but then he touched it and spread it somewhere a couple times and suddenly we're in the principle's office talking about action plans and best practices. Good thing I snuck in a Pliny before the meeting -- I was super impressed with the fruitiness, the juiciness on the Pliny and feel like it must have gotten updated, by the way. Has it been updated? I loved it more this time than I have recently. 

In the same way, I had an Enjoy By or three (nice six packs!) when I got home, and that recipe keeps getting updated and I'm still with them. I got a little more stone fruit and honey in this last one, but still found it fruity, juicy, fresh, and crisp at the same time. Once you factor in how available it is, I'll count this as a top three 'just grab it' beer. Why work so hard to get a beer when there are great beers like this in your local fridge, anywhere.

Saturday

Mother Earth Boo Koo IPA
Refuge Blood Orange Wit 
Firestone Walker Barrelworks Agrestic Wild Red
Almanac Saison de Brettaville
Tahoe Mountain Recolte du Bois (Apricot) Saison

Birthday for the brother in law, so we got the 99-wing family pack Wingstop situation started, then planned for 20 Bulgogi tacos to arrive after the first baseball game, and then we got into the sours. But the Boo Koo went really well with the wings, and I'm glad I started with it. It was big and fruity, though maybe not as juicy as some of the best in it's class. Mosaic and simcoe and yes I want to drink it, it seems. 

The Blood Orange Wit was too herbal for me. I was thinking something like a fruity gose, a light sweet version of a wit, but instead it was all herbs and spices. I don't want the other three I've got, but at least it's only three.

You might see some barrelworks beers in bottles soon, since I got that Agrestic in a bottle. It was great, on par with the Russian River sours, though maybe a tad bit less sour, and also a tad bit more expensive ($16.99 for 375 mL). I got a ton of wood and wanted a little more fruit. I don't know about the Earl Grey and Cocunut flavors they boast on the bottle, but I got the Vanilla and wood and lemon. If you see this, buy it though. 

The Almanac sour was worth getting because it's not as sharp as the other Almanacs, and is more of a tart funky brett saison sour. Does it separate itself as one of the best in that category? Maybe not. But it's enjoyable, and somehow I enjoy playing along as Almanac keeps growing, shifting, changing, and adding options. I can't wait for the Grand Crus. 

I keep getting this Apricot sour saison from Tahoe Mountain, so it's on any list of attainable West Coast sours worth buying any time you can. It's not the tartest, but you get the fruit, you get the funk, you get the tart, and it's not going to blow up your palate or your budget. This was quite a day, complete with wings, Korean tacos, sours, pale ales, and 1.5 good baseball games. 

Sunday

Firestone Walker Pivo Pils
Firestone Walker Easy Jack
Allegash Farm to Face (2015)
Stone Enjoy By 10/31/15

Have recently heard some back and forth about rare vs attainable beers. Some don't like the idea of whale-chasing, and I hear that. It's like the autograph chaser at the ball park -- barefaced collectioneering, with what seems like a callous disregard for the fun that is the path along the way. I NEED THIS ONE FAMOUS CRAZY BEER, it seems to suggest. I hear that. If the beer is good, like a Pivo Pils, it needs to be appreciated, and drunk. Easy Jack is an industry favorite, otherwise known as your favorite brewer's favorite beer. Both of those are out there and easily satisfy your significant others' request that you "just get something worth drinking." 

But I also love what I call beer tourism -- I love tasting new beer. Like DJ Clue, I'm always on the hunt for New Shit.  I've had last year's Farm to Face, but I'm glad I went out of my way to get it, and the Agrestic, and the other rarer beers I had this weekend. The Farm to Face was bright and fruity without being too sour, an easy recommend to anyone that likes sours and saisons even just the smallest bit. The Agrestic worth it for anyone that likes sours just a little bit more. 

Yes, I love Enjoy By and Easy Jack and Pivo Pils. But there's something about tasting that great combination of strange ingredients from a brewer just on the other side of that river or that ocean, there's something great about that. It's like finding the prospect that no other fantasy baseball player is all about. It's discovery. Tourism has negative connotations, and I understand that in a geopolitical way, that discovery in that sense is sort of dirty and not even real.

But Beer Tourism is something that most people can get involved in. Yes, the craziest whale-seekers will spend more time and energy and money on beer than you will. But if you spend any sort of time and energy and money on the enterprise, you can still have great beers with interesting combinations of tastes from lesser-known breweries that give you just a little more of a goose than an easy-to-drink, great, easy-to-get beer from a national brewery. 

Is that bad? I don't feel that bad admitting it. Everyone's felt the smallest bit of pleasure saying "Oh yeah, that place was the best, back when I saw [now popular band] them live with [small amount of people] in [a year just before that band was popular]." They just don't want to admit it, right?

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