Last Weekend's Beer, Today

Eno Sarris, May 09, 2016

Went to a party Saturday night, brought some beers, hoped I didn't look like the roll-your-eyes at the beer nerd. But I actually happened to have the Lawson's from a trade, and I bought the other things for myself and didn't mind sharing, and I didn't really want to be subject to what they had, even though I would have had them just fine. 

Is it rude to go to someone else's dinner party that's not advertised as BYOB and bring a mini lineup? I tried not to make such a big deal out of it, just put them up on the counter and opened them and explained them to whoever asked. 

Low-key, right? 

Bike Dog Mosaic Pale Ale
Coronado Stingray IPA

Went out on a limb Thursday night and got burnt once, rewarded the other time. The Bike Dog was overcarbonated and thin, so either they really screwed up while brewing or they only screwed up during carbonation, but the result was like a bad session. Yeah, it's a pale ale, but at 5.5%, it could have had a bit more body. I'm going to side with failure rather than feature. 

The Stringray has an interesting combination of hops: Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Southern Cross. You get multiple types of stone fruit out of it, but then also some floral or herbal bitterness. This beer had a complicated taste. I didn't like every bit of it, but it was another way to move forward other than making grassy thick fruity IPAs. Imagine combining something like Flower Power or a Blind Pig with Alpine Nelson. I'll try some of those.

Cellarmaker New Beer Smell Pale Ale
Cellarmaker Mo Simcoe IPA
Cellarmaker (BA?) Sabrosa Imperial Porter
Bagby Beer Dum Dum Strong Pale Ale

Stopped by Cellarmaker and it was all good. I did have one weird thought: what happens when a brewery is so faithful to their taste that they make one or two beers over and over again, with little twists? Everything I had that day was grassy and fruity and bright! Which, is great.

But thank god for that Sabrosa. I thought I read barrel aged on the board, but someone said, no, I don't think so. Whatever, because I didn't get a ton of wood. What I did get was that *other* classic Cellarmaker taste: smoky milky sweet chocolate stout. The Sabrosa adds some Mexican chocolate chile taste to differntiate it from Coffee & Cigarettes, their other great beer like this. 

What am I complaining about? Even if they have like three archetypes, all three are reall really really good. 

It could be Bagby Beer, which impressed me a bit at first and has failed to impress me many times since. I went to the brewery and had two flights and liked two beers. I'm now something like three for 14 with them, not a good batting average. The Dum Dum was just strong and bitter and whatever. I didn't want to finish it. I mean it was 6% and tasted like a barleywine, how do you pull that lame of a trick? 

21st Amendment El Sully Lager
Alpine Hop Boxed IPA
Lawson's Finest Sip of Sunshine IPA
Drake's White Label Hopocalypse IPA
Crooked Stave Vielle Artisanal Saison
Almanac Farmer's Reserve Strawberry Sour

Here's the party. No offense to my friend, but if I'd been stuck with the El Sully all night, I might have gotten grouchy. The problem with trying to add taste to lagers, to me, is that they end up sweet. This one had a tiny bit of bitterness to offset that, but just wasn't interesting enough to want to ever have another.

Since I came packing heat, I was all set. The Hop Boxed might have been the king of the night. It's just a really nice fruity IPA with a killer smell. Makes you want to just smell it all night. This and the Sabrosa could have made for a great lunch and dinner on smell alone. It's really impressive what beers are doing with aromas these days. 

I'd take the Hop Boxed over Sip of Sunshine, and that's saying something. The Drake's is good -- the best of the Hopocalypse labels if you ask me -- but I'm not sure it stood up to the competition that night. 

I introduced some people to sours that night and nobody had the vinegar screw face reaction. I guess I hang with people that ate sour candies as kids. The Almanac had a really nice strawberry smell and just the right amount of fruit: gives you taste without weighing the thing down. The Vielle is an underated sour, a thick dirty saison with a tart finish, but I'll take the Strawberry if we were having a mini BeerSport. 

Cellarmaker Taco Hands IPA
14th Star Tribute DIPA
Bear Republic Mach 10 DIPA

Okay so I thought I knew what I was talking about with Cellarmaker, and they made this beer. And no, it's not the same beer as the one made by Tired Hands. I tweeted at Cellarmaker for clarification: 

So either these two brewers are connected in the psyche and having the same dreams, or that's meant figuratively. Could be anything with these brewers. Crazy people. Like who else would think of making a slightly floral fruity sweet lime grassy IPA with tortilla chips steeped in the beer for body? It's crazy. Totally insane. If it was bad, I'd be talking about Doritos Cool Ranch beer, but it wasn't. It was a step back from that ledge. Just really nice and bright and sweet and lime and spicy. In an IPA! 

The 14th Star was good, but not as groundbreaking. It was big and bright and floral, though, and man does Vermont make good beers. Must be in the water. 

The Mach 10 was put on Untappd in 2010, so I'm paranoid. The bottle I had was a malt bomb with scratches on the label. Won't rate that, but probably won't ever buy it again to find out. 

What did you have this weekend?