My Brand

Josh Augustine, September 04, 2013

There are a handful of things that are certain in life.

I don’t know what all of them are, and I certainly don’t plan on paying enough attention to find out. There is one thing that, if not certain, happens very reliably, and that thing is this: When I stop by my Dad’s place to visit, he will offer me a beer, I will accept, and he will open the refrigerator and hand me a 12 ounce can of Old Milwaukee. He will grab a second can and crack it open for himself. He will grab these from the shelf in his refrigerator that is dedicated to holding 12 ounce cans of Old Milwaukee, and if removing this can has created an adequate void on said shelf, he will then open the additional case of Old Milwaukee sitting next to the refrigerator and place upon said shelf as many of the 30 12-ounce cans contained in the aforementioned case as said shelf will hold. We will sip Old Milwaukee brand beer from these cans while watching, usually, either football or “Nick At Nite.”

For the 30 years or so that I’ve known my Dad, he has maintained a supply of Old Milwaukee. Old Milwaukee is his brand, so to speak.

In the world of craft beer, one infrequently stumbles upon consumers with such consistency in that which they consume. In some cases it would be difficult to maintain such loyalty even if one wanted to, what with constantly rotating seasonal beers, changes in distribution, rarities, and even year-round offerings that may be in short supply due to a bad batch or other variables.

That said, it seems that many craft beer drinkers have a handful of go-to beers, or even breweries. This is something that is readily available to them and can be grabbed quickly from a friendly, local beer outlet in a hurry when the desire is to drink an above replacement level beer with no risk of disappointment to one's own flavor preferences. Say you’re on your way to a backyard social gathering and need something to sip on. One might think, “I’ll just run in and grab some Green Flash Saison Diego,” and upon entering the store finds none in stock, or that it’s out of season. So one goes to their next standby, perhaps it's Bell’s Oberon, or Tallgrass 8-Bit Pale. Whatever the specific beers may be, over the course of drinking different beers all the time, you’ve probably subconsciously put together a sort of pecking order of standby beers. For me, one of the breweries at the top of the pecking order is Odell, based in Fort Collins, Colorado, and one of the beers that they make which is at the top of my list is St. Lupulin.

St. Lupulin is one of Odell’s seasonal offerings, and typically becomes available in late spring or early summer. The label says it’s an Extra Pale Ale, and Untappd calls it an American Pale Ale. Both of those seem accurate. It’s not quite an IPA, it’s close, but there are some factors that make it not quite so. It’s a little bit light in color, not quite as hazy as a typical IPA, and despite it’s 6.5% ABV it’s got a sessionable flavor and mouthfeel.

St. Lupulin, along with their other consistently solid to excellent offerings, has made Odell one of my brands. One can virtually always find something from Odell in my fridge, and I’ll probably offer you one if you happen to stop by. If they made St. Lupulin in 30-packs and sold it year round, I’d almost certainly keep a couple of those next to my fridge and replenish the refrigerator shelf dedicated to it as my guests and I sipped on beer after beer over a ballgame or classic sitcom.

Until that day comes, though, I’ll enjoy St. Lupulin through the summer, switch to Mountain Standard once the leaves change color and fall from the trees, grab a few bombers of Le Friek as the winter wears on, then enjoy their fantastic Red Ale as the snow melts and I anxiously await as their mash tuns and fermenters start churning out St. Lupulin once again.

Odell's St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale

Appearance: 4. Pours a dark gold, almost orange color with a thick, creamy head and leaves patches of lacing.

Smell: 4.8 Very nice, there are a bouquet of hoppy scents here, with a potent piney aroma and some citrus present as well.

Taste: 4.5 Starts out slightly malty, and gives way quickly to piney, grassy hoppiness. There isn’t a lot of bitterness, and it doesn’t linger very long, it’s just enough to give a full flavor but remain very, very refreshing.

Mouthfeel: 4.5 Medium bodied, and very satisfyingly so.

Overall: 4.4. This has become one of my go-to beers when it’s actually available. If Odell made this beer year-round, I would always have a few in my fridge, although they wouldn’t stay there long.

Josh Augustine sometimes mentions beer and baseball in between whimsical musings on Twitter, and somewhat reliably informs the world what he's drinking on untappd.