Last Weekend's Beer, Today

Eno Sarris, April 18, 2016

One more love song to the crowler since I spent the weekend drinking them.

You seal about as well as you can. You block the light about as much as you can. You may not get the best insulation, but trade that for lightness, which can be huge in traveling. You may not be reusable, but you're well recyclable, and easy to hump out if you're hiking or beaching. If you're on a beach, you've got the added benefit of not being made out of glass. 

And best of all, you're completely dissuaded from any notion that you could save this for any second later than the one you exist in currently. You open a crowler, and it's time to drink it down. 

A 32 ounce crowler is therefore the nearest to perfection our travel containers can achieve right now. 

Almanac Farmer's Reserve Blackberry

The longer you get to know a brewery, the more likely it is to disappoint you. This is true of all breweries, and it's important, considering all the Big Beer buying up Little Beer moments we all have. We all know that turning point where you thought they could do no wrong and they did some wrong and you didn't know what to do with yourself. And that it's tempting to just keep pushing forward into new beer because every brewery will let you down at some point.

That was a while back for Almanac. Since, they've gone a long way to get me back on board, and that's important -- sometimes it's worth checking back in with an old favorite brewery. This blackberry sour is still as tart as ever, it's still an Almanac, but it has a wee bit more fruit than they had before, and that's been going on more recently at that brewery. 

Fieldwork Berliner Weisse
Fieldwork Tart Cherry Gose
Fieldwork Sea Wall Sea Salt IPA
Elysian Space Dust IPA

Fieldwork disappointed me for the first time ever. The Weisse was kind of flat and boring. The gose wasn't salty or even that tart, and really restrained on the cherry. I wouldn't recommend Fieldwork for their sour work so far. Which is fine, not many breweries hit it out of the park on every style. 

The Sea Wall was very interesting, though. And it's part of a trend you'll see more of in my weekend -- Alex Tweet can make a mean pale ale. In this case, the salt doesn't taste like salt. Like the chef next to me pointed out, salt in the right quantities actually is an enabler. It brings everything else up a notch. In this case, it's bitterness, but also something else. I wish I could put a word on it. 

The Space Dust? I don't want to be some sort of 'oh now that it's bought it's bad' guy, but... it was way sweeter and maltier than I remember it. And the lines are still fresh this early in the season at the coliseum. I don't think it was that, or freshness. It was on tap, through clean lines, and I took it down three quarters of a star. 

Modern Times Devil's Teeth Imp Coffee Stout
Fieldwork Pulp Free IPA

Bleary eyed on a crazy birthday saturday for my now four year old, I turned to coffee in the only way I enjoy it. The Devil's Teeth was chocolate coffee and tasty. Well crafted. You don't feel all 10% of the heat. I drank it without complaint really. Other than the fact it did nothing extraordinary that made me want to order it again. That's okay -- Modern Times is a hoppy label for me. 

Oooooooh man. That Pulp Free is top shelf. It's like a Tree House beer, with less mouthfeel. Which is important to our current conversation about yeast and filtering -- Fieldwork fines and filters their beer, and out comes a semi-hazy fruit juice IPA that's all bright and fresh and crushable. That's what Tweet is all about. Nothing wrong with this beer, even if it's the more filtered version of the beers that are hot out east. 

Fieldwork Little Ships IPA
Fieldwork Morado Punch IPA
Jester King El Cedro Barrel Aged Saison

Little Ships is a session beer, but why call it that and make enemies. Call it a pale ale and everyone geeks out about how much nose there is. I'll admit I five-starred it at first and then on second try might have taken a half star off -- it's more nose than taste, which makes sense at 4.4% ABV. It's hard to get more taste into a beer at that strength, so I'll give it an A for effort and an A- for turnout. 

Yes yes yes on the Morado Punch though. This, Little Ships, and Pulp Free mean that you have to go to Fieldwork and try Alex Tweet's pale ales. Pine, orange, grapefruit, some tropicality, and all with a velvet mouthfeel and gentle bitter twist at the end. It may not be creating a new style, but it's really fucking good. 

I've been holding the El Cedro for a while, unsure that it was a sour, and a tiny bit sad in my head, since their sours are so ridiculously good. The El Cedro surprised me, though. The cedar is in the nose but with some fruit, then you get all the brett funk and grassy sweetness on the front of the tongue. The end is tart without being fully sour. I didn't give it five stars perhaps because the spicyness and the pepper from the brett were so strong that they overwhelmed some of the fruit that you got on the nose. Still an excellent, world-class saison of the newest sort.