PD’s own dissect beer. Leave the pretentiousness on the curb.
Beer is many things. Beer is food, science, luck and, more often nowadays, it’s art. Going beyond the packaging, comparing beer to art also draws from a brewer’s ability to build complex flavor profiles to achieve a final holistic composition. As brush strokes layer on top of a blank canvas to produce different forms of aesthetic appreciation, so can ingredients build upon a base beer to produce nuanced iterations of an original expression. Such is the case with this weekend’s variant releases from Westbound & Down Brewing Company‘s Solera Saison base.
One of my favorite things about craft beer is beer mail. There’s nothing more exciting than getting a box of beer from another part of the country and diving into the contents. I was particularly excited for this most recent arrival from my cousin on the East Coast. We kept up with each other’s beer adventures via Instagram, and I had been bothering her to send me some of the famous haze names that we all associate with New England–Trillium, Night Shift and Tree House. This latest box had a few of those (thank you!) but it was an unknown label that caught my eye. Today, I tried out Greater Good Imperial Brewing’s Pulp.
We’re in the dog days of summer, and while the season of stouts and brown ales is quickly approaching, the Colorado beer community is going to latch onto the warm weather and refreshing beers that accompany it for as long as possible. Intersect Brewing, the rock-’n-roll inspired, vinyl-fueled brewery on Fort Collins’ west side, is home to a variety of beers with names inspired by classic American songs. “Tramps Like Us” East Coast IPA and the “In Thru the Out Door” Berliner Weiss are just a few brews that take their names from classic rock records, but one stands out above the rest as the ideal summer porch slammer.
This story begins as many brewery stories start, with a friendship and a passion for home brewing. Austin Street Brewery, co-owned by friends Jake Austin and Will Fisher, opened in 2014 on Industrial Way in outer Portland, Maine. Together they spent years on Austin Street in Westbrook, Maine, creating beers on their homebrew system that they wanted to drink. In 2013, as the craft beer boom commenced, they took a chance and opened their brewery with a one-barrel system. When speaking with Jake Austin, he made it clear that their focus is to create “highly drinkable beer, not to chase trends.” It would seem that mission is working well for them as they recently opened a second, larger location in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood.
There are a lot of beers on the shelves that hang in the periphery of my vision in my regular quest for hops. I may notice a few of those beers from time to time—the traditional styles—and ponder for a second about trying them but instead, I predictably settle on a sixer of some flashy new IPA or stout. Then, one fine day, I decided to break the cycle. I now see the error of my ways, for where I was once blind, now I see. Pilsners can be downright delicious, too, and Live Oak Pilz is the best example I’ve ever had.
In 1979, Rupert Holmes released his defining hit and lyrical earworm “Escape.” The song was an immediate hit, rising to prominence and becoming the last U.S. No. 1 song of the 1970s. While Homes would go on to win two Tony Awards, the defining song of his career is better known by its alternate name the Pina Colada song.
A wolf hidden in sheep’s clothing, Aardwolf Brewing out of Jacksonville, FL has a wide portfolio of beers that are constantly hitting the mark. In a state that never receives snow and has summers that can be extremely humid and hot, Lagers are the beers that are perfect for any time of year.
It’s not often two giants in the beer industry get together to collaborate on a singularly fantastic beer, but that is exactly what Karl Strauss and Russian River Brewing did to make what they call the New California IPA. This beer has a piney and resinous front with hints of dank greens in the back. It has firm but not overwhelming bitterness and a palate cleansing kind of clean on the tongue. The IPA is complete with faint raspberries and rhubarb as it warms for a refreshing summer crispness. After talking with Matt Johnson, Brewmaster of Brewery Operations at Karl Strauss, and Vinnie Cilurzo, Co-Owner and Head Brewer at Russian River, I was able to get some insight into this wondrous amalgamation of talent and hops!
Did you hear? The 2019 Great American Beer Festival tickets recently went on sale. The nation’s premiere festival celebrating the country’s growing love of finely-crafted independent beer is absolutely worth the price. To enjoy the festival, be prepared to rummage through thick crowds of people searching for the “new hot brew” and the “next big thing.” If you get lucky during your adventure through the Colorado Convention Center, you will stumble upon a real gem. Our last visit proved it with, The Brewing Projekt.
Burns Family Artisan Ales’ Ship of Theseus serves up plenty of depth and complexity, echoing the multi-faceted career of brewer Wayne Burns. Burns’ two-decade journey has taken him from Michigan to Colorado. During his beer career, he has worked for notable breweries including Bells Brewery and Wynkoop Brewing Company; co-founded Jagged Mountain Brewery and started his current endeavor.
Along the way, Burns picked up favorite recipes and a fondness for crafting high-gravity beers. Ship of Theseus docks at 11.6% ABV along with a quirky name that pays tribute to the origin of the recipe.
With so much good beer coming out of Colorado, it’s easy to take for granted one of the early upstarts in the state’s brewing history. Ska Brewing has been around since 1995. The brewery has stood the test of time thanks to their commitment to rigorous brewing standards and bold flavors. A perfect example of this is their stalwart IPA, Modus Hoperandi, which is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this summer.
Modus Hoperandi was a trendsetter when it was released a decade ago and it still stands up against today’s wide swath of IPAs. The IPA was one of the first to come in cans and has won numerous awards thanks to a delicately-hopped combination of citrus and pine. Still, every brewery needs to innovate to stay competitive, which led to the release of its citrusy-variant, Modus Mandarina, in 2015. Both IPAs stand strong alone but work even better together. I got a chance to review both on a warm summer evening recently.
A few years back, Funkwerks Tropic King was somewhat of an undercover gem in the brewery-rich city of Fort Collins, Colorado. The Imperial Saison was locally made, had amazing depth, and had a reputation for being affordable while still dangerously high in ABV. Recently, though, as Funkwerks expanded their distribution far beyond Fort Collins, and Tropic King can now be found in ten states, the locals lost some of their bragging rights—until now. Funkwerks is no stranger to experimentation, and their latest unique offering is Barrel-Aged Tropic King, which is a local-only release.
This summer has been a filled with near constant travel to celebrate the weddings of those nearest and dearest to me. As such, they know exactly what info I need when I get to each place. Just as fate joins two strangers to cross paths and join each other in marriage, fate placed my friend’s wedding in Mt. Angel, Oregon; which is home to one of three true monk-run breweries in the nation, Benedictine Brewery. Obviously I had to check it out – as well as sample the namesake, St. Benedict Farmhouse Ale.
Summa, summa, summa time!
Portland, Oregon, is known for its beautiful summers: warm temperate climate, no real bugs or humidity, lush green landscapes, and the mountains, rivers, oceans and valleys all within a short drive of city life. …
Chad Hopkins, brewer and part-owner of Hopkins Brewing Company, grew up in the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah. Now, he’s crafting beers that pay homage to his past, like Sugar House Pilsner. The second batch of Sugar House Pilsner hit taps in mid-July and while it’s still an easy-drinking 4% ABV lager, this one features a slightly different recipe than the first.
As a New Englander, born and bred, it might be in my blood to be drawn towards lighthouses. With their metaphorical meanings and physical presence, there’s just something incredibly fascinating about them. Between Allagash’s rich history of great craft beer and my soft spot for all things nautical, their recent release of Two Lights had my attention.
Richmond, VA is known to some as a mecca for craft beer in the state for lovers. Ardent Craft Ales was originally started as a cooperative of homebrewers who wanted to get out of their kitchen and brew a little more seriously. To do so, they rented out a garage with a half-barrel system and started brewing every Sunday in said garage located in the Churchill region in the eastern side of the city.
We all could use a dose of fall to remind us that these dog-days of summer will end, and we won’t melt. So, thank goodness for Old Bakery Brewing Company. Sensing our need for cooler thoughts Old Bakery is “speeding” up their release of their popular Oktoberfest Märzen, releasing it on July 28, (a few days earlier than most of the nation’s breweries) in conjunction with St. Louis Craft Beer Week.
It can be difficult to keep up with all of the new craft breweries opening up in Nebraska but be sure to check out Prairie Pride Brewing Co. located in Grand Island, NE.
Prairie Pride opened in 2016. Their taproom is a cozy spot, located fifteen minutes north of Route 80. The artwork and custom-made flight trays clearly show off their love of Nebraska and they’re sure to make any native smile.