Tröegs Hop Knife Harvest Ale: Tröegs defies yet another law of the Universe.

Next up, Troegs Hop Knife Harvest Ale:IMG_3604

OK, sheeple, listen up. Beerbecue uncovered Troegs’ Nugget Nectar mind-control project. Beerbecue exposed Sierra Nevada Hoptimum’s secret hop collider under Chico, CA. And Beerbecue busted Troegs Perpetual IPA’s blatant defiance of the laws of thermodynamics and the theory that time is finite. Nobody took me seriously. Hopefully, this time you’ll listen.

Sure, Hop Knife looks innocent enough. However, the small print on the neck label reveals that Troegs uses a HopCyclone to create an “inward spiral of hop dispersal during fermentation”. Fair enough. But when I asked them on Twitter whether the HopCyclone spun clockwise or counterclockwise there was only damning silence.

See, in the Northern Hemisphere, free moving objects apparently deflect to the right due to the Earth’s rotation, and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s known as the Coriolis effect. Don’t ask me. Some shit about conservation of momentum and differences in the rotational velocity of the Earth.

Or, if you're a poli sci major: Witchcraft.

Or, if you’re a poli sci major: Witchcraft.

In the case of liquid and air in the Northern Hemisphere, when opposing currents or pressures meet, there is a rightward deflection and sometimes a resultant equilibrium-seeking counterclockwise cyclonic flow (like a Northern Hemisphere hurricane). This effect gets stronger the further one gets from the equator. Thus, any differences in currents in a Troegs fermenter should create a counterclockwise cyclone. Ohhh, but not Troegs…

OK, so the little martini olive looking thingie at the end is Hershey, PA's latitude...Oh, fuck it.

So if the little martini olive looking thingie at the end is Troegs’ latitude and the frat letter to the right of the 2 is…Oh, fuck it.

Troegs’ silence is a clear admission that they have figured out how to create a clockwise rotating cyclone in the Northern Hemisphere, thus violating the laws of physics in the name of imparting more hop character. Beerbecue demands that Troegs comes clean, shares this secret with the world, and sends me more Hop Knife so that I might recreate this clockwise cyclonic flow down my pie hole.

It pours clear amber with a beautiful, fluffy white head. It smells like its going to be a juicy, hoppy love affair. And it is. It’s chocked full of bright and ripe citrusy, tropical, and resinous hops. It kinda has a fall/harvesty malt backbone with some lightly sweet caramel, but this beer is all about hop harvest, people. Get some while it lasts.

The Haybag: It was a very good beer. Now stop bothering me while Nashville is on.

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Beach Brewing Hoptopus Double IPA and Chincoteague’s Dirty Little Lies

Next up, Hoptopus Double IPA from Beach Brewing Company:

hoptopus

Beerbecue vacation beertography: 25% worse than usual.

We grabbed Hoptopus on our family vacation to Chincoteague Island. I’m not naming names, but somebody forgot to pack the beer cooler.

Of course, Chincoteague is known for its wild ponies. But it’s also infamous for its preternaturally abundant mosquito population. Now, I’ve lived in and visited places known for their mosquitos, but Chincoteague mosquitos don’t mess around. In fact, I’m convinced the island’s inhabitants are enslaved into a sick symbiotic relationship whereby the mosquitos spare locals in exchange for telling potential visitors such complete bullshit as: “oh, the ‘squitos haven’t been bad this year on account of there not bein much rain.” Indeed without such a detente, Chincoteague locals would spend all summer limping around in a languid, anemic, malaria-ridden state.

By comparison, the ponies are less impressive…at first glance. Depending on who you ask, these ponies gone wild are either descendants of domesticated horses that (1) escaped from a sinking Spanish ship or (2) were placed there by their owners as part of an early-American livestock tax avoidance scheme. Most people find the former theory more congruent with marketing the romantic notion of the wild Chincoteague Ponies, however, as a tax attorney, I’m kind of in love with the idea of a 17th Century horse tax-shelter scheme.

Luckily horse tax breaks are a thing of the past.

Luckily horse tax breaks are a thing of the past.

They’re disappointingly short, scruffy, and bloated from their low-nutrient salt marsh existence. But if you think about it, they’re the product of years of natural selection in harsh conditions. In fact, to improve the stock, they once released an Arab Stallion into the heard…a breed known for being war horses, carrying 300 pounds for 100 miles in one day,  and general badassedness. It died. They also released some Mustangs…wild/feral horses known for being sturdy, hardy, and a symbol of American grit. Dead.

Pictured: Iris the Pony reaping the rewards of natural selection.

Pictured: Iris the Pony reaping the rewards of natural selection.

As for the beer, I had it at the end of a day of corralling 2.0 at the beach (which included such fun games as Catch the Seagull; Put Every Fucking Cigarette Butt in my Mouth; and Ooh, Daddy, Let that Wave Get Me…No, Daddy, Don’t Let the Wave Touch Me!) Sucking the snot from a dead Rhino’s nose would have been refreshing after that. I also had it after a Heady Topper, which for a beer is like peeing at a Wrigley Field trough urinal next to John Holmes. But it’s pretty good. It’s huge with a caramel maltiness and resinous hops. The bitterness is substantial (as the 108 IBUs would suggest), and before I even made it to the store counter I was cautioned by at least two people about how hoppy it is. But it’s nothing that the jaded palate of a hop-head can’t handle. It’s not the most complex Double IPA, but sometimes tangling with a Hoptopus is all you need.

The Haybag: I gave you one job! You’re lucky we found Hoptopus.

Westbrook Gose: From Goslar to South Cackalacky.

Next up, Westbrook Gose:IMG_3122

Gose (pronounced “Go-zuh”) is a wheat beer of German origin that is brewed with coriander, salt, and lactic acid bacteria. What? Spices and bacteria in German beer!? I know. I know. Leave your jackboots in the closet, Klaus von Reinheitsgebot. Gose enjoys an exception to Germany’s beer purity laws. And if there’s anything we should welcome with German purity rules, it’s exceptions…especially in light of their newfound comfort with nationalism…

german fans

When is the next invasion of Poland planned?!

Gose originated in the town of Goslar, where the water was known for having high salinity, and the sour character was probably the result of spontaneous fermentation. As production moved to other places, such as Liepzig, salt was added in the brewing process to lend the appurtenant salinity and lactic acid bacteria to achieve the sour (although sourness can be added by a sour mash process). Interestingly, gose almost went the way of the Wooly Mammoth and the Dodo, but it always made a comeback. Currently, it is actually making a resurgence of sorts in the US, with a number of breweries brewing this curious beer.

I’ve heard that if there is a benchmark gose, it’s Leipziger Gose. It’s lightly sour, with light lemon, wheat, and salinity. It’s pretty low-key, but refreshing. Now, what about Westbrook’s crack at the style…straight from Goslar to Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

It pours a hazy gold with a bubbly white head that dissipates so quickly and completely that you’ll forget it was ever there. It smells like a wheaty, lemony, and citrusy affair, and like there’s some lactic sourness up in the game. Then you taste it and it’s all BOOM, just like General Stonewall Jackson liked his lemonade.

Why yes sah. Sour as a dickens and served by a slave.

“Why yes sah. Sour as a dickens and served by a manservant.”

Whoa, whoa. OK, so maybe only halfway like General Stonewall Jackson liked his lemonade: Lemony and sour as a dickens. And this is way more sour than any other Gose I’ve ever had. It’s good though. It has a slight salinity to it, maybe a little coriander in the background. But the lemon, wheat, and lactic sour are where it’s at. It’s very refreshing on a hot, summer day. My one complaint would be that the carbonation flags a bit early…but I ain’t mad. It’s 4%, dammit. Just slug it and pour another one.

The Haybag: I may be from South Carolina and from German stock, but this beer ain’t my bag.

Allagash Avancé: A High Ball Stepper video music review

Next up, Allagash Avancé. This is beerbecue’s first video music beer review. The idea has been bouncing around my noodle for awhile. Based on the reception, there may be more.

Avancé is a strong, sour ale aged with strawberries for three years in bourbon barrels. Three damn years, people. Allgash says it “has the aroma of strawberry preserves and toasted oak. The oak and berries continue their presence in flavor, and compliment the sweet, warm finish.”

When I think of strawberries, I think of their sweetness AND tartness. I also think of their distinct strawberry smell: A little caramel and this slight funk you get when you pass by an unwashed container of them on the kitchen counter…kinda like they’re up to no good. This beer captures that essence well. And it’s sour…quite sour. Oh, and at 10.8% ABV, it brings the heat.

Out of the bottle, this little fella kinda needs to breathe a little. Hey, if you spent three years in a bourbon barrel, you’d be a little cranky, too. Ok maybe you wouldn’t. Additionally, use a glass with a little more open mouth than I used. This beer has a potent nose. It doesn’t need to be concentrated with a highly-tapered glass.

Now, without further adieu, Jack White’s High Ball Stepper and Allgash Avancé:

 

Eerie Brewing Co. Misery Bay IPA

Next up, Misery Bay IPA from Eerie Brewing:

misery bay

Eerie Brewing likes historical references for its beer names. I like grossly distorting history for the sake of beer reviews. Seemingly, this is a match made in heaven.

Misery Bay is a reference to the Battle of Lake Eerie, the biggest naval battle of the War of 1812 (also known as the Everybody Wins Except the Indians War). British North America (Canada) got to keep the Queen of England on their currency and continue pretending they are more than just cold Americans. The Americans wrote their National Anthem, got to think they won a second war of independence, and convinced the Brits to stop being insecure, passive-aggresive twats about American growth. And while the Brits for years after gnawed their fingernails about defending Canada from another American incursion, during the war they were so busy dicking around with Napoleon that they could fill in the English Channel with the number of fucks they didn’t give about skirmishing with Americans.

warof1812

Actually, everybody just realized that the reasons for bickering had become largely irrelevant. So, everyone started playing nice again and got their stolen game pieces back…well, except for the Indians. They became inconvenient in this new scheme, and thus no longer had backing to frustrate United States western expansion. Pesky Indians. Although, they did get some sports teams named after them…

Lucky Indians.

Lucky Indians. They catch all the breaks.

Misery Bay IPA is a pretty ubiquitous-tasting IPA. There’s some citrus and pine floating around, but nothing big. It doesn’t offend. It doesn’t astound. The only interesting thing about it, really, is that the hops have a distinct mint character. Do what you will with that little nugget.

I should note that this review is representative of my new outlook on the beer review portion of beerbecue posts. Starting several weeks ago, I decided to only include funny stuff and impressions that I think will help you decide whether you want to drink it. Like anyone reads this blog anyway…

The Haybag: Oh, great. You’re finally going to include funny stuff. Are you starting next post?

Ithaca Beer Co. Flower Power IPA: Mario, Donkey Kong, and Smelly Hippies

Next up, Ithaca Beer Company’s Flower Power IPA:flower

When I hear Flower Power, I only imagine dirty, smelly hippies. All the beer store cashier could talk about, though, was Super Mario and flower power-ups. And I have to admit, nothing chafes my hide more than misplaced love for Mario. No video game character is more beloved, yet more deserving of our outrage than that fascist-mustachioed, overall-wearing, mushroom-tripping prick.

Just sayin'.

And I’m just throwin’ it out there…terrorist.

Even the Haybag, who thinks video games are a monumental waste of time, played Super Mario. But everybody seems to forget that Mario first busted on to the scene as the hero in Donkey Kong. Fair enough. What’s so bad about a working-man rescuing his haybag from the hairy mitts of a filthy, barrel-tossing ape? Well, everybody conveniently forgets the game’s backstory.

It's OK, big fella.

It’s OK, big fella. We’ll tell them.

That filthy ape is actually Mario’s pet. Now, before passing judgment, let’s set aside the improbability and questionable moral underpinnings of owning an ape as a pet. What we can’t look past, however, is the reason Donkey Kong snapped: Mario abused his monkey…and not in the euphemistic sense, either.

flounder

While the particular type of mistreatment is unclear, several sources indicate that Mario forced Donkey Kong to perform in the circus by balancing on barrels, while juggling pineapples and avoiding flaming torches. That’s some serious Michael Vick shit right there. No wonder the ape is pissed.

The beer pours as pictured above, without the pansies. It’s got a nice, white, fluffy head. It doesn’t leave much lace, but I ain’t gonna hate for that. It smells like peaches, pineapple, and citrus, with some floral in the backseat. The taste is orange and grapefruit with a kiss of honey. It finishes nice with a pleasant bitterness and a slight, lingering resin that hopheads will dig. It’s kind of like crossing Hopslam with Two Hearted; but less sweet and heavy than the Hopslam, less floral than the Two Hearted, and a little more resinous on the finish. I likey.

The Haybag: It’s fine, but get this post away from me. That Ron Jeremy terrorist guy’s picture totally creeps me out.

Victory DirtWolf: Earth Day SodWolf

Next up, Victory DirtWolf Double IPA:

dirtwolf

When looking for a new beerbecue HQ, one of the cool things about the HQ we bought was the 430 sq. ft. fenced-off garden in the back. That’s a lot of dirt.

Srsly?

Srsly?

The Haybag, perhaps seeing yet another object of preoccupation for me, immediately proclaimed it would be sodded over. I put up a half-hearted fight to keep it. Perhaps I was looking to mitigate capitalism’s further erosion of my humanity. Or maybe it was to remain in touch with my family’s farming roots. Most likely, however, it was to escape changing shitty diapers under the guise of a heavier landscaping/gardening workload and to hit the bottle of George Dickel Rye I stashed in the shed. Perfectly classless.

I see what you did there. Very funny.

“I see what you did there. Very funny.”

Eventually I relented. It’s 430 damn sq. ft., after all; and we’re moving from a townhome. I already have to buy a lawn mower, I don’t want to figure out squeezing a fucking Harvester combine into the family budget, too.

So, we had sod delivered on April 22nd (Earth Day). I laid it like the sod-laying boss that I am. 1.0 even came home after school to help. Then I proceeded to water the shit out of it.

Look like she's got it handled. Time for a beer.

Look like she’s got it handled. Time for a beer.

Now, environmentally, I’m a middle of the road guy, but the irony of doing this on Earth Day is not lost on me. So, proud to have imparted upon my issue my vast and generationally vital sod-laying knowledge, I was a little troubled to later find her drawing her “What you did for Earth Day” homework (with gleeful encouragement from the Earth-raping Haybag): A picture of her and daddy sodding over a large and once fertile garden and spraying enough water to lower the Chesapeake watershed mean high tide by several inches. I am a terrible person.

"One might say, classless."

“One might say, classless.”

It pours like it looks in the picture above, except imagine I used proper lighting and something other than a camera phone. It smells like a double IPA should: Dank and citrusy. And the taste doesn’t disappoint. But it’s less a “wolf among sheep” as the bottle claims. It’s more the wolf’s lazy, stoner cousin who wakes up at noon, drinks from his roommate’s carton of orange-grapefruit juice, puts it back in the fridge empty, decides to forego a shower to wallow in his earthiness, and fires off a fat spliff on the couch to play Call of Duty till nap time. I like it.

The Haybag: This was OK. The earthiness was a little too pronounced for me, but that’s a personal preference. Now, get the George Dickel bottle back in the house and make us some Manhattans.