Monday, May 6, 2013

Beer Treats

I love it when my friends travel and think of me when they're gone.

I mean, it would be kinda creepy if I was in their thoughts when they were away from home. It's nice to be missed, but only when I've been away and my friends haven't seen me, are wondering what I'm up to, and are wishing me well. If they're the ones who left Ottawa, and they missed me, that would be kind of weird, wouldn't it?

But no, I like it when my friends are travelling and they come across a beer and they think of me. And they think: I bet Ross would like this. I'll bring him some.

That's the best way to think of me when they're gone.

Not that long ago, two of my friends went down to The States, on separate trips, and kept me in mind when they were beer shopping. One of them returned with my favourite beer of all time, plus a couple of extras. I'd like to look at one of them now, especially because of my hankering for IPAs.

India Pale Ale (6.2% ABV)
Wagner Valley Brewing Company
Lodi, NY (Finger Lakes)
Beer O'Clock rating: 3

Appearance: copper-orange with an off-white head that quickly dissipates to a fine lace.

Nose: whisky, oak, and orange zest.

Palate: an oaked, bourbon punch with a nice balance between the citrus flavours and hops.

Overall impression: there's something about this ale that reminds me of a rustic farm scene, much the way that some old red Bordeaux wines have an air of barnyard. This is not a bad trait: some of the best French wines have this classic tone. I think the barrel fermentation lends to these classic flavours, especially in the oak (surprise, surprise) and to the whisky-bourbon flavours.

This is a truly enjoyable IPA that is a must-try. I will keep my eye out for more when I next travel through the Finger Lakes region.

The other IPA came with an outrageous name, and because I didn't know what style of beer it was until I did some digging, I was glad that it fit in with my latest brew kick.

Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga' Substitute Ale (7.85% ABV)
The Lagunitas Brewing Company
Petaluma, CA
Beer O'Clock rating: 3

Appearance: an effervescent, clear deep gold, with a lively, foamy, sudsy head.

Nose: pineapple, honey, and mild hops.

Palate: solid hop flavours with mild citric grapefruit in the finish.

Overall impression: this is a solid American double/Imperial IPA. While it is a memorable beer and worth trying, I think I'll remember it more for its name than how it went down. Unlike how its name suggests, this IPA does not suck.

That's the best kind of false advertising.

This is the type of review that my manager dislikes. He reads my blog from time to time, but he gets discouraged when a beer attracts him, only for him to learn that he can't get it here.

But if you're in an area that offers these selections, get your hands on some.

And thanks to Katy and Chris for bringing these beer treats to my attention.


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