Last Weekend's Beer, Today

Eno Sarris, October 03, 2016

I did my part to bring good beer to a wedding. I don't think anyone noticed except for me and the bartenders. There I was, talking with the bartenders about craft beer like an idiot. At least I didn't do it all night. 

Drake's Kickback IPA

Just a nice fruity light IPA that went fine with packing and a little nervousness about the two-year old having been kept home from school because of a yakking fit. That might screw the whole weekend! (It didn't, and the beer was good.) 

Avery El Gose
Mumford Buggin Out NEPA
Mumford Air Quotes NEIPA
Mumford Brewing Fast Friends DIPA
Mumford Brewing Skidrokyo Stout

Friday, we walked around downtown LA and found some beer until Mumford opened. The El Gose was fine, not very sour, but had a nice little lemon tart feeling, and was a great way to start out the evening. The only problem was that, while we were waiting for Mumford to open, and I was drinking that El Gose, a beer tour arrived at Mumford, and something like fifty people filed by our bar on the way into Mumford. Whoops! 

Instead of samplers -- wow were they busy making samplers for those thirty people -- I decided on half pours of a few important beers on the menu. In general, I'd say you should go to Mumford, and that it is a fun brewery with interesting beers. In general, I'd also say that I failed to find a standout beer, and that I may even have identified a personal watershed moment -- the first NEIPA that I thought was only okay. 

The Buggin Out was actually a little better than Air Quotes, I thought, because it was a pale ale, and it was lighter, and the fruit came through better, and the grass, and it was a fun light beer. It certainly looked the part. But the Air Quotes... I didn't get much fruit. What I got was an oaty taste, meaning I'm guessing they went heavy on the flaked oats to get their haze. I got a bit of grass, but without the fruit, it felt like an un-bitter thick un-brown oat beer. I didn't hate it, and it was of the new sub style, but it was the first NEIPA that didn't get four stars from me. 

I liked the Fast Friends better! It was a bright, sharp, floral big double IPA, and though it didn't break new ground -- I got a little bit of Marin's Three Flowers, maybe -- it was very enjoyable. Best of the night for me, and that includes the super bitter super coffee stout that finished our evening and sent us off into the night and a cocktail party at a swank cafe in downtown LA. 

Angel City IPA
Saint Archer Mosaic IPA
Stone W00t Stout 

Wedding day! Had a piney, fruity, and now old-school West Coast 1.0 IPA at the bar waiting for the shuttle. I didn't hate it, and I wish I'd actually had another moment to go the three blocks to the brewery and try more of their stuff, but kids got in the way. 

The wedding did include some Stone 10th anniversary, but it was somewhere in that muddled middle, and I don't feel qualified to say much about it. I enjoyed the powerful funky peach Saint Archer IPA (or DIPA?) for most of the wedding, and I don't know if anyone else did. The bottles disappeared, but I didn't see many people drinking the craft beer with me. Was it the bartenders? The silent majority? Who knows. 

I ended a beautiful, touching, upbeat wedding in Union Station in downtown LA with a disappointment from the sub-brand that brought us a BeerGraphs Rookie of the Year a couple years back. I thought this W00t Stout was very alcohol forward, and I didn't get much chocolate thickness to really make it sing. I found it really sweet and strong and almost a bit thin! Maybe my palate and judgment was off that deep into a wedding, but it wasn't a standout stout to me. 

Alchemist Focal Banger IPA

Got home and found a present on my door step. Had to drink it as fresh as I could, and I loved this beer. I like it better than Heady Topper, the flagship, number one beer in the nation by our leaderboards. Heady, to me, is bitter and piney without that second fiddle to make the noise into music. People call it balanced, but Heady seems like a punch in the face. Focal Banger, on the other hand, turned up the fruit to 11 to match that bitterness, and though it's a punch in the face as well, it's with a velvet glove on. It's a more complicated punch to the face. A punch to the face I would gladly endure repeatedly. 

That's a little weird, I guess, but sometimes it's hard to explain how we feel about beer.