The True South
Welcome to the true south. Or as we say it here in the south, Da Tru South, Tha Dirty-Dirty! One thing that’s true to the south, it’s damn hot. Wow what a Summer. Thankfully fall is drawing closer. We are expected to see our combination of a high during the day in the 80sF, and a night in the 60sF. It can’t soon enough. Along with that, soon to follow, college football (along with NFL), and a resurgence of homebrew activities, and pumpkin ales. Which will be my first homebrew since my day late rye pale ale for National Homebrew Day on May 2. The reason this blog comes on a weeknight? I need to stop thinking about work. So now for the real reason I’m writing. Some IPA from The Dirty-Dirty.
Highland Brewing Company – Kashmir IPA Up first we have a North Carolina beer. For some of us in the south, NC is our Colorado. With that said, Asheville, NC is to us what Denver, Fort Collins or Golden, CO is to the west. Asheville has nine breweries, while Colorado has 92. Hey, no one ever said it was an equal comparison. My first Highland was an Oatmeal Porter draft in downtown Athens at the Winery. Yeah, I know. A craftbeer at a bar named The Winery. It might have been the first time I had a dark beer. Kashmir is a great IPA. It pours a nice golden straw color with a small head. Slight retention of the head means it’ll disappear as soon as you turn your back on it. Very nice glass lacing is noted, and that means more to me than head retention. It means I can enjoy the beer as I drink it. Not as I stare at it, waiting on the head to fade. I think I tasted some noble hops, with some banana ester tastes as well. A nice grassy taste finish is pleasant, yet not overwhelming. At 5.6% ABV and 60 IBU it’s quite sessionable, and low on the bitter side. Still as enjoyable as my first Oatmeal Porter.
Sweetwater Brewing Company – IPA I like simple names. Sweetwater likes simple names too. However there names, to my mind, always tend to suggest other things. For instance, Big Ole Belgium Blue Balls, Motorboat, Happy Ending, DP Barleywine, Hummer. To me, they all implement nicer things in life. Hummer, which has been retired, comes with the statement, just like marriage, hummers aren’t forever. The IPA, sans perverted name, suggests a great beer. My first brewery visit ever was to their 11th anniversary. It had been a nice, warm February week leading up to the event. Free tickets, so who’s not gonna go right? I was damn near freezing that day. The place, which has now been moved next door to a larger facility, was packed out. I think I downed more Blue and Georgia Brown that day than any other brews. The IPA recipe has been tweaked since then, and for the better. It’s 6.3% ABV and 65 IBU, so it stands up well to most IPA. It pours a nice, thick, frothy head. Amazing hop aroma suggests the amounts of dry hopping that goes into this brew. A typical color for most IPA in the challenge, it’s around 14-16. I’m slightly color blind so forgive me if I missed that. There is some glass lacing, yet it’s different beer to beer. I think I might have picked up an old six pack. And yes damn it, I had a clean glass with each beer. The flavor of this beer is what makes it so enjoyable. 6.3% might not be sessionable for some, but it’s tasty enough to try.
Terrapin Beer Company – Hopsecutioner I remember when Hopsecutioner was introduced. I think I tried three different stores before finding it. Albeit a few days after it should have appeared on the shelf. One complaint with Terrapin from us Athens local beer geeks is that their beers aren’t in our hands first. Blame it on the 3 tier system I’m sure. The brewery is like 10.8 miles from my house. How can people in Atlanta Tweet about how great their new beer is before I’ve had it? Plug alert incoming. I found Hopsecutioner at my favorite east Athens store, Village Wine. Not the selection of some other Athens beer stores, but it’s 5 miles closer to me than they are. On a recent quick trip in before a neighborhood cookout, we were rewarded with a couple of t-shirts. The front Village Wine logo is reminiscent of Cheers fame. Same with the back that says Eastside, with the underlying statement of Stay Classy Athens. Sarah and I like them. So Hopsecutioner, as the name implies, kills it! 7.3% ABV and 78 IBU. Just what I want in and IPA, some hoppiness. Great aroma, but not that of those with high dry hopping ofcourse. Nice head, almost huge. Swell retention follows. Glass lacing is superb too. The color is darker then almost all IPAs tasted at somewhere around 18-20.
So who brings home the winning beer. Well I do of course, duh. Yet, which was more enjoyable to my palette? Cutting straight to it, it’s Terrapin. This is what an IPA is supposed to be. Hoppy, correct? It’s not so bitter that it’s undrinkable either. Although I do know some that say this. I wonder who drinks for taste, or are these people drink looking for compliance to BJCP style guidelines. I’d go with the first too. It’s all about taste. Well if you think this beer is too bitter, try the newest Side Project from Terrapin called Hopzilla. 110 IBU is stellar, but doesn’t show itself with 10.8% ABV. The sweet malts easily hide the 110 IBU. Next blog I’m going give my top 3 or 4 from the entire challenge. That blog, which hopefully you’ll see next week will be followed by a short blog from Hilton Head Island Brewing Company. If it even exists. I’ve never seen it, only read about it. A visit soon will help me find it. I know I need a new vacation, even after returning from the Dominican Republic not too too long ago. That blog will follow my first homebrew of the season, which I’m shooting for Labor Day.
If you happen to wonder to your local beer store, do not hesitate to pick up any of these offerings. They are all super beers.