It dawned on me this week just how many beers I’m going to be drinking. Am I going to be sick of beer by Easter? Am I going to be able to go back to NOT drinking a beer when I come home from work? Am I going to grow a beer belly? Will I have trouble finding new beers? The answer to all of these questions is probably “no”. So far, I have not had to force myself to drink a beer at night. I’m pretty much always in the mood after a long work day. However, some nights it tastes better than others. A friend told me this week that he never drinks alone. Without an ounce of shame and perhaps a bit of pride, I was able to tell him that I drink alone every night.
Wednesday - Sip of Sunshine, Lawson’s Finest Liquids (Double IPA 8%) – I’m ready to say this is the best beer I have ever had. Maybe I got an extremely fresh batch. Maybe I was particularly thirsty every time I have had it, but it goes down easier than any beer I've ever poured. Sip of Sunshine gets overshadowed by its Vermont neighbor, Heady Topper. It doesn't have the cult status or the adoring fans. However, people who know beer better than I do (which is to say a lot of people) will tell you that if you had a choice between the two, this is the one you choose. I drank my last can of Sip of Sunshine on a cold night and was immediately whisked away to summer. It has a citrusy taste (although it’s not as citrusy as it smells) that is both refreshing and hoppy. Trying to taste sunshine? Mission accomplished.
Thursday – Sweet Action, Sixpoint Brewery (Cream Ale 5.2%) – I made a rather disparaging comment in week one about the low potential of cream ales. When I made the comment I had clearly forgotten about the delicious cream ale made by Brooklyn's Sixpoint. Sixpoint is available at any place that sells beer in New York City, but I have been told it is not readily available outside this area. That’s a shame, because they have an excellent line up. Sweet Action has a nice cream taste and sessionable qualities (you could drink a couple and not get drunk/full). I had it on tap at the new bar in my neighborhood, but I've had it in a can too and it’s equally as good.
Friday – West Coast IPA, Green Flash Brewing Company (Double IPA 8.1%) – I've mentioned this beer two weeks in a row, so it’s time I put it on the list. From a brewery that prides itself on powerful, hoppy beers, this is their best brew. It goes down pretty easy for an 8% beer. First you taste the malt, then you taste the hops and a nice flavor lingers. When it comes to widely-available double IPAs, this is your best bet.
Saturday – Hop Drop and Roll, NoDa Brewing Company (IPA 7.2%) – We moved out of Charlotte nearly four years ago. Since then, approximately 150 breweries have opened up in the Queen City. When we lived there, it was Old Mecklenburg and that was it (Try their Copper if you’re ever down south). Like any city with a pop-up brewing scene, there are hits and misses. Hop, Drop and Roll is a hit. There a lot of really good IPAs out there, but this one stood out to me especially for an IPA that is a little on the sweeter side. I’d love to see this distributed outside of North Carolina.
Monday – Baby Maker, Triple C Brewing (Double IPA 8.0%) – I had the t-shirt for this beer before I ever actually tasted the beer. That felt wrong to me. It’s like wearing the t-shirt for a race you didn't run. It’s not for lack of trying. Once I tried to ship myself a bottle of this and it shattered in transit. Instead I ended up getting a beer-soaked shoebox full of glass in the mail. A name like Baby Maker implies the beer is so potent it is going to make you contribute to an unplanned pregnancy. But, I don’t get that vibe from this beer. This beer is unremarkable in the sense that nothing about it really stands out. That said, it’s a fine choice and one I would drink again. It goes down easy, doesn't offend and hides its ABV pretty well. Now that I write that, I see where this beer could get dangerous. It comes in 22 ounce bottles and I could see polishing off one or two of them solo without even noticing.
Tuesday – 2X Stout, Southern Tier Brewing Company (Milk Stout 7.5%) – I believe it’s impossible to make a bad stout. The style itself, especially the texture, makes it inherently good. Nothing has proven me wrong yet. As I said last week, I’ll still happily drink a Guinness if given the choice between that and some fancy pants saison. Of course, some stouts are better than others and Southern Tier’s 2X Stout falls into the “others” category. Stouts are often lower-ABV or mask their ABV. This tastes like every bit of a 7.5% beer. When I drink a milk stout, I want a sweet, milky finish, not a boozy finish. There’s a really good coffee taste with this beer that I wish stuck around a little longer.
Next week: Another saison tries to change my mind about saisons.