I had to do some trades, so I had to go back to the beer store to get more beer, right? It's not like I'm a spoiled brat that looked at a half full fridge of beer and said... there's NOTHING to drink here.
The downside of snobbing out on beer, I guess.
Oh and then a beer trade arrived on my doorstep Saturday and threatened to over run me with choices. I did my worst.
Fort George 3-Way IPA
Deschutes Chasin Freshies Fresh IPA
The Fort George was amazing and it wasn't even fresh. The born on date, as far as I could tell, was the very end of July, so it was right on the edge of viability for an IPA. That's fine, though, in this case. It was still big and pineapple and even had some aroma. I had a lot of not fresh beer sent to me this weekend, and this was the best of the group. I would love to have it fresh, but I'm not complaining, in the end. Thanks for sending!
I hated this beer. Chasin Freshies tasted like an over-alcohol over-hopped over-sweet pilsner... I have no idea how that made that out of the brewery. Dogfish Head once famously drain poured millions of dollars worth of 90 minute. Deschutes should have done the same here.
Melvin Hubert MPA
Local Option Dampf Loc Dampfbier
Federation Low Boy Oat Stout
Wow. Hubert is great! What a huge grapefruit mango easy pale ale. Even a little bit of resin in there. This is one of the most interesting beers I've had in a while, and it's interesting to have it against the flagship from the same brewery. The IPA was boring. There was some of the same citrus and resin, but for some reason the balance was different and the overall taste was just not unique. The brewery was one of the parts of the Three-Way and I get it, but the Hubert hits it out of the balpark while the Melvin makes you shrug.
Going to the Local Option next was not maybe the best move, because the Dampf Loc doesn't really live on hops. But there's so much sweet malty breadiness in the dampf that it made itself stand out. I actually enjoyed having something different on the palate. Maybe there was a little bit of dark, near-spoiled peach about the beer, but it was more about thickness than brightness, so this wasn't a pale. Kudos to Local Option for taking a chance.
In the same way, the Low Boy from Federation wasn't as boozy, or as hoppy, or as thick as you might sometimes expect from stouts today. That's great! It was really easy to drink but had a ton of taste. If this is a harbinger for other beers from the brewery that already gave us a cost-saving DIY automatic keg washer and will give us more this winter.
Odd Side Citra Pale Ale
Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA
Pipeworks Ninja vs Unicorn DIPA
These first two beers... I'm not sure they were fresh. I got them in a trade and they didn't give me any aroma, really. The Odd Side tasted a bit like lemon and pine, but since I didn't get any of that melon/citrus aroma or bite, I think I missed something that normally comes with this beer. The Dark Horse was malty and a bit floral, but when you get malty and floral without citrus or aroma, you wonder.
The Pipeworks was fresh and right and it came just in time, as the Cubs lost a World Series game. Five pounds of hops says the brewery description! Pine, grapefruit, a little funk, the NvU has a tropical side, too. And for a DIPA, it's clear, and not over strong (8% ABV). I know Half Acre gets the hometown crown most often, and Off Color makes Apex, one of the best funky tropical saisons out there, but it might be Ninja vs Unicorn that best represents Chicago... if you had to pick just one beer.
Lagunitas Born Yesterday Harvest Pale Ale
Alpine Singled Out Mosaic IPA
18th Street Sinister DIPA
Greenbush Brother Benjamin DIPA
Modern Times Aurora Red Rye IPA
I'll drink that Lagunitas Born Yesterday again and again. I ended up back in the store for trade reasons, and I bought more of this than I even needed. Most people that I've handed this to have arched an eyebrown and enjoyed it, no matter the vessel. Some say it's more NEIPA than wet hop, but I get enough vegetable to pair with the fruit to see a wet hop beer in there, and the unfiltered haze is just a cherry on top.
The Alpine single-hop didn't reach the heights of Duet and Nelson, their best two beers, and some of the best beers in America. That's okay, it was still a great exploration of the Mosaic hops. Speaking of vegetable, mosaic almost gives you that vegetable thickness that you get from a wet-hop beer, while also dropping pounds of stone fruit on the beer. Alpine's base IPA is fresh and bright enough to cut through that dankness enough to make it enjoyable, even on a trip to the playground in a coffee cub.
The Sinister was waiting for me when I got back from the playground, but it -- again -- was not so fresh feeling. That's too bad because I don't know if I'll get another beer from 18th street (Gary, Indiana) in a while. With Falconers Flight, Zythos, and Cascade, you'd think you'd get some tropical goodness. The brewery description says you should get some. So I didn't rate it.
Sames on Brother Benjamin from Greenbush in Sawyer, Michigan. I got some floral honey fruit in the DIPA, but I also got a ton of malt. Is this old-school with a little twist, or was it just old? I don't know. It makes me sad. Please put a born on date on your beer.
Aurora is a Red Rye IPA, meaning it's of the Blazing World part of the Modern Times oevre. Equinox, Centennial, Motueka, and Experimental Hop 07270 make it dank and thick, and the rye spice cleans it up on the end, a bit like Blazing World. I'll take the World over Aurora, but on a day where some mistakes where made, and freshness was suspect... I enjoyed this fresh beer.
Did you wonder about freshness this weekend?