Sleepy Dog Tail Chaser IPA (7.5%) from Tempe, Arizona. Had this beer at a bar in the ludicrously busy Phoenix airport, where the over-opinionated waitress called it ‘nasty’ beer. Not a hophead I guess. It pours a deep amber, with a slight herbal nose, somewhat floral, hops definitely present, nice white head, but it quickly dissipates, leaving good lacing, an even bitterness dominates the palate, balanced, lots of malt supporting this bold bitter brew, medium to full body, slightly astringent mouthfeel, but smooths out to a bone dry finish. Woof!
Good brew to relax over lunch with, watching the tunnel-visioned hordes running for their flights with way too many bags in tow and on their backs. I had my toes run over a couple of times when I stopped to be amazed at the madness of this airport.
Brouwerij West My First Rodeo (7%) from San Jose, California comes this delicious and funky farmhouse ale. Two strains of Brettanomyces are used in this Belgian style, but definitely west coast saison, creating something quite unique. Is it terroir? Could be, but more likely the brewer’s art. This brew is fruity, bready, slightly sour, pale gold/blond, cloudy, tart, crisp, medium bodied and fully favourful. Not overly carbonated, My First Rodeo saunters through your palate offering a yeast tinged delight in every sip, soulful and searching, complex and reassuring, all the way to the long, lingering finish. This will age well, develop more funky sourness and be a delightful thirst quencher in the summer heat.
Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp Belgian IPA (7%) This brewery from Massachusetts always surprises me with their consistent quality and humour in the development of their beers. This one is no different, a deep amber brew, a touch hazy, that exhibits wonderfully complex aromatics: floral, herbal and earthy, hints of citrus fruit, and yeasty spice too. Big palate, combining soft biscuit malts, tropical fruit undertones and hints of orange peel, bread, clove with a smooth spike of hops throughout. Fairly aggressive flavour profile, but not overpowering, a well balanced version of this very popular style, carbonated to attenuate the sweet malt while featuring the Columbus, Amarillo, and Centennial hops. Definitely some candi sugar notes also contributes to the overall character and the long finish.
El Segundo Blue House Pale Ale (5.5%) citric nose, malty middle tempered by smooth hops, hints of tropical fruit, pouring deep gold, offering citrus and soft floral aromatics, a smooth middle balanced malt against hop, earthy tones sneaking through, light carbonation and mouthfeel, could make a decent session beer. Went very well with the excellent spicy fish tacos I had at Public School 612.
El Segundo has a taproom and brewery in South Bay, Los Angeles, where they make their 8 different brews. Their hop-centric beers can also be found at finer establishments throughout the city and beyond.
Golden Road Brewery Wolf Among Weeds IPA (8%) Made in L.A., this bad boy checks in at 8% and 80 IBUs. Pours deep, rich and golden, big aroma of citrus and hop, thick head, but quickly dissipates, very hop forward diving into the malty deep end, fruity, caramel, toasted malt, pine, light mouthfeel for such a big beer, the palate invites more, long, round, with a bitterness that leads to a dry finish. I also got to taste this on tap at Bottlerock, much the same attributes, perhaps even fresher, more aromatics. Delicious brew! Michael, the friendly and knowledgeable barkeep told me about a tap takeover the next day, $5 pints and the launch of 4 products, including the Wolf Among Weeds and the White. Unfortunately not available, I was still able to buy a couple of 4 packs to take with me.
Allagash Brewing are from the other Portland, in Maine, and make some pretty remarkable products, bottle conditioned and champagne corked in large 750 ml. bottles. Though their Belgian style White (5%) does come in regular bottles. It is a delicious summer wit, fruity, cloudy, crisp and spicy, light on the palate but full of flavour.
Allagash Curieux (11%) is a Belgian Tripel style aged in oak Jim Beam bourbon barrels for 8 weeks, then reblended with more Tripel. The result is a subtle, sultry treat. Beautiful clear golden colour, floral nose, pours with a bright, white head, has good carbonation, beautiful balance of pale malts and understated hop, citric notes combined with hints of bourbon, candi sugar, tropical fruit, vanilla, wood and yeast. A wonderful brew.
Odells 5 Barrel Pale Ale (5.2%) 36 IBUs Brewed in small batches in Fort Collins, Colorado, this delicious pale ale is laced with hops, in the kettle, hopback and fermentation tank. It pours golden with an orange hue, presents a small, white head, aromatic fruit and hops leads to a pleasantly balanced brew, hops permeating, but not overpowering, malt shining through as well, good balance, low carbonation, smooth mouthfeel, soft, inviting and more-ish! Some sweet malt sneaks in, some earthy hop bitterness, all culminating in a nice, dry finish. Still overall this is an easily drinkable English style pale ale, with its own American character.