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Ultimate 6er | Tornado

Ultimate 6er | Tornado
Mark Elliot

Severe weather can be crushing. Tornadoes can toss cars, homes and possessions upside down. Tornadoes can forever change the landscape. We know that occasionally, tornadoes can take lives. So why write a lighthearted beer article about tornadoes? Because anything that can raise your awareness about these storms, and potentially start you on a path of awareness and preparedness, is a good thing. Think about your disaster plan, and how you’d keep yourself, your family and your loved ones safe as you crack into some of these delicious, although ominously named, beers.

Tornado | Tree House Brewing

Image courtesy of Perfect Pour Magazine

A tornado is one of the most powerful forces in nature. Some have had winds in excess of 200 mph and you can make a scientific case for winds in excess of 300 mph. Some have been in progress for over 200 miles. Some have been over a mile wide. Some can move at highway speed. There really isn’t a such thing as a “weak” tornado, as even the meagerest of the bunch can still have enough wind to cause damage. You can’t talk about tornadoes and beer without bringing up Tornado by Tree House Brewing. This beer came to be after the brewers, and the not yet fully in existence brewery, had a close encounter with a tornado in 2011. I’ll let them tell it. “We paid such close attention to the brew and remained naively and stupidly oblivious to the impending storm. Then the power began to flicker. And then hail the size of baseballs oddly rained down from the increasingly rotating sky. And then, a remarkable, unnervingly peaceful calm. Then it happened. In an instant we were overwhelmed with noise like a freight train; the wind pushed the tops of trees to the ground, bending them beyond comprehension. Damien and Johnny were literally hanging from the barn door. Incomprehensible wind. I, being terrified of storms, hid under the stairwell seeking whatever futile refuge I could. We had never seen anything like it, and we were only brushed by the far outskirts of the Tornado.

Lauren called absolutely hysterical. The tornado had passed right in front of her on Route 20 at the Village Green Campground, spinning her car around 180 degrees and leaving her car tarred and feathered with an abundance of spring greens. She spoke of transducers on fire and complete chaos.” The beer made in those unlikeliest of circumstances became Tornado and is still occasionally re-brewed in commemoration of the strength and reliance of the area and its people. Plus it’s just too delicious not to do again. This extremely hopped American Pale Ale will transport you straight into the tropics with a nose of fruit and a taste of citrus. It, like many of the style, is best fresh but seems to do okay if you leave one in the fridge a little too long. While no one wishes for more tornadoes, there is always a demand for more Tornado.

Shelter | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Image courtesy of The Roosevelts

A good shelter is an absolute necessity when a tornado is coming. Underground is best, but if an official underground shelter isn’t available, get to the interior section of a basement or the lowest level of a sturdy building. In this way you’re putting as many walls between you and the storm as possible. Shelter by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery isn’t all that different. They looked at shelter as “a place you come home to,” and this approachable American Pale Ale is an easy go to home brew that should bring a sense of safety in what can be, for a newcomer, an overwhelming beer option smorgasbord. Only available in the Mid-Atlantic, Shelter is a nice combination of Willamette and Columbus hops and nutty malt. It’s great paired with traditional pub food, which for many of us, is yet another place to call home!

Pure Fury | Rhinegeist

Image courtesy of Rhinegeist

There isn’t much that can compare to the pure fury of a tornado. Winds like you can’t experience anywhere else on earth leading to unbelievable destruction. All that violence can do some incredible things, some more expected than others. For example, you can hear many a tale of children being sucked out of parents arms, only to land far away without even a scratch, homes destroyed but a flower pot on the front step still standing, or bowling alleys collapsed while the set of 10 pins remains virtually untouched (almost like every time I go bowling). It is this dichotomy that sets the stage for Pure Fury by Rhinegeist Brewery. This beer is extremely hopped with Amarillo, Mosaic, Bravo and Cascade, and yet the taste is almost delicate. A biscuit nose, gives way to an orange peel and grapefruit taste as the power of the ingredients yields a tender balance to the brew. The alcohol is hidden, the beer is easily drinkable, and all of it can easily get you in trouble if you don’t respect the Fury!

Emergency Drinking Beer | Wild Heaven Beer

Image courtesy of ST8MNT Brand Agency

A Tornado Emergency is issued when a tornado is headed directly towards a known population center. It’s something that you never want to hear for your town, but has happened time and time again including for some now infamous tornado towns such as Moore, Kokomo and Birmingham. If you were in these cities, and were under that Tornado Emergency, it’s something you can never forget. Many have described Wild Heaven’s Emergency Drinking Beer as unforgettable. A mixologist blend of a pilsner and a gose, the beer is crisp and clean but layered with salt and lemongrass. No need to wait for an emergency to drink this one, although it may get you out of one in that drinking several of these in a row won’t land you in the Emergency Room. It’s low ABV makes this a go-to outdoor beer during the hot summer days that turn into long drinking nights.

Devastation | Brewery Vivant

Once a tornado goes through an area, many have called it complete devastation. Imagine stepping out of your shelter to an unrecognizable world, where all landmarks are gone, houses are swept away and even things you take for granted like street signs are no longer available. The devastation can be disorienting. As for barrel aged beers, it’s so often the dark beers that get the delicious bath into a bourbon barrel. But Brewery Vivant takes a very different route here, putting their double IPA into a bourbon barrel to combine the piney mango hops with complex wood notes. It is almost disorienting when comparing the color in your glass to what you taste on your palate. This beer pour hazy yellow but tastes like a significantly darker sip worthy beer. Your taste buds may never be the same again after Devastation hits them, nor will your inhibitions that night as this is a big ABV beer.

Survival Stout | Hopworks Urban Brewery

All of this tornado talk is an attempt to increase survival. Knowing about tornadoes in your forecast, knowing how to get your warnings and knowing where to seek shelter are all key components to limit the loss of life from these storms. Throughout history, the key to our survival was less about the freak storm occurrence, and more about consistent food availability. Hopworks Urban Brewery has made a beer out of seven ancient grains responsible for our species long term historical survival. Amaranth, Quinoa, Spelt, Kamut, Oats, Wheat and Barley all play a role in this stout. Added to the grains is organic coffee, without which many would argue they’d never survive a morning. This beer pours jet black in color and has a hint of chocolate in an otherwise coffee dominated taste. And couldn’t we all survive on that for a long long time?!

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