I'm a baseball writer first and foremost, and generally of the advanced metric variety, but I love beer. And while I like the mathematical side of baseball, I still get excited for events like the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. C'mon, who doesn't want to see Paul Goldschmidt face Felix Hernandez? You can see where I'm going with this...
But, I'd be remiss to not mention how absolutely terrible both broadcasts were. ESPN pretty much botched the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game, mostly through horrible announcing, but also through terrible graphics. They listed National League players as being members of the AL squad, they listed American League players as NL guys and made some terrible comments about my breathren, such as this site's Eno Sarris, when they made jokes about sabermetrics. To the fan who watches a handful of baseball games a year, I'm sure this went right in one ear and out the other. To those of us on the inside, this was pure blasphemy and an #epicfail.
Something to numb the pain was required, needless to say. Luckily I had a couple brews in mind.
Being a native Oregonian, I'm a sucker for beer from my home state. I live in SoCal, so this isn't always easy to find, but I've noticed a new brewery being carried on most beer aisles. Double Mountain Brewery was tasked with tiding me over during the All-Star Break, and luckily, it was up to the task.
Up first was the Vaporizer, a dry-hopped pale, which I consumed while watching Yoenis Cespedes crush massive bombs en route to his second consecutive Home Run Derby crown. It's a different breed of pale, with almost a hoppy pilsner type of profile. While it's not my favorite pale ale, it was unique enough to keep my attention. As you'd expect, the dry-hopping gives it a strong scent of hops and floral aromas. It drinks pretty light and isn't spectacular, but worth a try.
- Appearance: a light yellow, cloudy with a soft foam head (3)
- Smell: hops and flowers with a little funk (3.25)
- Taste: tart, with lemon up front and some hop character, although not a lot (3)
- Mouthfeel: a bit on the thin side, smooth with a light, lingering bitterness (3.25)
- Overall: a unique pale with the scent as the most notable characteristic, drinkable but lighter than your standard pale ale (3.25)
The All-Star Game was the following evening and I took things up a notch with Double Mountain's imperial IPA, Molten Lava. Like the Vaporizer above, it's a bit unique in that this imperial isn't overly hoppy. Sure, it has the requisite hops, but it's got a strong amount of toasted malts to more than balance it out. While I surely like my hops, this one disappoints in that regard but is still an enjoyable drink. If you're looking for a hop monster, this isn't it. But if you're looking for a very balanced imperial IPA, well, this is worth a shot.
- Appearance: a dark, golden amber (3.5)
- Smell: hoppy as expected with some notes of grapefruit and sweetness (3.5)
- Taste: a decent amount of hoppiness, but turns to toasted malts midway through, almost over-balanced for a imperial IPA (3.25)
- Mouthfeel: a tad thick but not syrupy (3.25)
- Overall: a very balanced imperial IPA that could actually use a larger hop profile for my liking (3.5)
If you didn't watch, the American League won the game 5-3 and will host the National League in the World Series this fall. And while ESPN tried to take all of the joy possible out of both baseball spectacles, Double Mountain kept me somewhat content. Now go to hell, broadcasters. Don't hate on some of us who happen to be smart and enjoy baseball (and beer).