A weekend without a whale, really, even if I'm not really a whale-hunter. Well, okay, I got lucky on one package sent from Minnesota, but the contents therein were actually less impressive than some of the regular old available beers I had. Plus, I kept costs down a bit. So it was a good weekend.
Lagunitas Imperial Pils
Firestone Walker Pivo Pils
I get that imperial beers usually have more alcohol and taste, but there's something that many imperial pils do that I don't like. For example, the Pinkus organic Ur-Pils gives you more taste and thickness, and the Pivo Pils gives you more hoppy bite, and they do this without becoming too sweet or too strong. Maybe I don't like the style, but I did like the Dogfish Head Imperial Pils, as it was a thicker, less sweet version than the one I had from Lagunitas. I'd rather have a bomber of the Pivo Pils in the end, especially since we're not talking about two beers that are very true to the style here. Firestone Walker ruled the weekend, for the most part.
Firestone Walker Easy Jack Session IPA
Surly Wet Wet Hop IPA
Almanac Bourbon Sour Porter
A pair of fathers sipping easy jack tipped their cans at each other in a moment of respite as four little ones, aged three months to three years, tore up the house around them. They knowingly appreciated the low alcohol content since they were required to keep all things sharp and tiny out of all mouths and tracheas. They gave the taste a thumbs up, and marveled at the smell eminating from the can, and then they ran. The 13 month old was way too close to the three month old for comfort.
Later, we two dads got Wet together, though it was a bit of a disappointment. I love wet-hopped beers, and Wet does end with that vegetable thickness that comes from freshly harvested hops. That's the ticket. But Wet changes from year to year, and this year they wanted to try and get juicy, I guess. The effect is an almost cider-like juiciness up front, and then a vegetable thickness at the end. If the effect were reversed it might be better, but either way it's a weird combo.
I love that Bourbon Sour Porter from Almanac. Starts thick and bourbony, ends tart and refreshing. I can think of a few beers in this mini-style that I might like better, but this was the first time I ever tasted how good a dark sour could be and really got it.
10 Barrel Joe IPA
Toppling Goliath 1492 IPA
Gotta get the Joe if you can. Simcoe Amarillo Mosaic, or SAM as it was before it was litigated to Joe, means it's a fruity citrus juice bomb. It's not too strong, even if it's too strong (6.9% ABV, nice) to be a session. It's refreshing and I will get it again, which is saying something as the beer aisle gets more crowded. On a side note, I went back to my college liquor store expecting to find a terrible selection, and then found only two refrigerators of craft beer and no bombers, but still went home with Lagunitas Pils, Sucks, and the Joe.
The 1492 is all Columbus, natch. I didn't know that at the time. Looking back, I would say that there was a decent amount of complexity in that beer for a single-hop. But in the moment, I thought, yeah, decent. Maybe a hint of fruit but I couldn't name it, a blast of citrus at the end, bitter but refreshing. They probably don't make a bad beer (haven't had one yet at least) but they do make better beers.
Sucks -- was this juicier or fruitier before or has everything gotten fruitier and juicier around it? I still enjoy it, it's easy to drink, hides the 8% well, all sorts of tastes turned up to 11. Will Heineken distribute this one more? Does everyone in America see this beer now already?
10 Barrel Joe IPA
Speaking of being true to the Pilsner style, Lagunitas Pilsner nails it. Of all the pilsners I had this weekend, this one was the one I could have been drinking in Prague with a roast duck while I watched the Danube roll by. That classic pilsner bite without much in the way of the California hops or alcohol or sweetness.
Then I finished up with some California.