It's all a blur, really. I landed in Phoenix, I saw some baseball, I drank some beer, and here I am, back home, wallowing in all the damage I did to myself with Portillo's Big Beef, desert sun, late hours, early rising, and dry de-moisturizing air. I'm a wreck.
But it was all worth it to extend the baseball season just a little bit longer. Nothing better than a good beer paired with an interesting baseball story or discussion, especially when you make sure to start it off correctly.
Cellarmaker Lite Jade Pale Ale
Alpine Hoppy Birthday Session Pale Ale
What a beer Cellarmaker has made. I took a growler of this stuff to Phoenix as a downpayment on some Tree House Julius and seasonal Lawson's beer, if that makes any sense. And it was really the best way to start the week. Light, grassy, melony, fresh and also thick, the Lite Jade is a Jade Mosaic session that I would love to have on tap in my house. This was a bit like a light version of Trillium's Congress street, and I might actually prefer the lighter version. Gotta be careful with the grass.
The Hoppy Birthday is one of my least favorite Alpine Beers, maybe. It's just bitter, and at 5.3% ABV, it stretches the definition of session. Or, maybe that ABV is fine, but it sure doesn't taste like a session. And unnamed on this list were Firestone Walker's Easy Jack and Founders' All Day, so we had some 'true' sessions around. Hoppy Birthday wasn't one. Duet is way better. Nelson is way better.
Fate Shift Pint Session IPA
Fate American Pale Ale
Fate Candy Bar Milk Stout
New Belgium Lips of Faith Eric's Ale
Goose Island Lolita
Miller. Lite. I probably just shouldn't have had any, but I was at a baseball game and this is all they had. It's swill, but you know what... I liked it better than Budweiser and many of the other watery Big Beers. There was a tiny bit of taste, and it didn't taste like a hangover going down.
I went to Fate Brewing in Scottsdale, and I will probably write this up in more detail later. Let's just say here that despite a waitress that talked a lot and an uber driver mishap. Their Candy Bar Milk Stout was outstanding. The session was, too. Arizona craft has improved in leaps and bounds every time I come visit. I started visiting about five years ago, and since, OHSO, Fate, and Arizona Wilderness have gotten better and better.
There were some other beers, I'm sure, but the next checkin was the Lolita, which I know was the last beer because I announced to the room that somebody better drink this good beer because I was going to bed. I hope someone drank it. Lolita was a little sweeter than I remember, and I remember liking Halia best, but any sour sister from Goose Island is worth the occasional splurge.
Blue Moon Belgian White
To øl Snowball Saison
Almanac Farmer's Reserve Grand Cru
Deschutes Black Butte XXVII
Alpine Duet IPA
Avery Liliko'i Kepolo Wit
Like, I think I'd take Miller Lite over Blue Moon. Sure, Blue Moon has more taste, but it's sorta sickly and sweet and gross. Imagine if Blue Moon was like the Liliko'i Kepolo, a passionfruit wit that's fruit and tart and wonderful and refreshing. Imagine.
The Snowball Saison was just another in a great line of beers from an excellent Danish brewery. Their Omnipollo pale ale is world class, and this was a fresh but thick-looking saison with a hint of citrus fruit. They do mouthfeel really well and add some grass and lemon to a lot of their beers. I'd mostly pick up anything from them.
I had the Almanac Dogpatch first, and I like the red version a little better. You get more oak and tannins from the Dogpatch red sour than you do in this white one. I think the grape taste is better in the red, too. But both are really really nice beers and I have not regretted those $30 yet.
The Black Butte is great, go get it. "Ale brewed with rose water with 50% aged in bourbon barrels blended with apricot puree, cocoa nibs, and pomegranate molasses." That's all you had to say to win my heart. (The room probably loved this beer best.)
Appreciate the Duet because it's exactly what it says it is, too: a true pairing of Amarillo and Simcoe. You can sense those hops both separately and blended within the Duet, the taste is so long. I was drunk when I asked if it was better than Nelson, though.
(There were some pumpkin beers in here that I don't care to remember... Rogue and some local dark one. And a bad poker game, where I once again didn't show enough discipline, I don't care to remember that either. I do remember a lot of good beer and good cheer was in that late night poker room at Baseball HQ's First Pitch event, which had scouts and writers on panels and three Arizona Fall League games in one weekend. Was a great way to get one more baseball fix after the year was over.)
Two Brothers Cane and Ebel Red Rye
I was toast Sunday, but had great pork ragu eggs and toast at Artu, the best place I've eaten in Phoenix. Beautiful food. The beer was meh. Worse, I guess. Super bitter without great mouthfeel or finish, the Cane and Ebel made me worry about the single-hop and fresh-hop Two Brothers in my bag. I am, however, excited about that Tree House cream stout in there.