Saturday, April 30, 2011

Frequent Sips

Since my fairly regular feature about the albums I've been listening to is called Frequent Spins, I figured it might be interesting to write about the beers I've been drinking recently. I'm not sure that this is something I'll do on a regular basis—and I'm certainly not going to mimic the nerdy 2011.x title scheme—but for now, it seems that Frequent Sips is as good a descriptor as any.

Lagunitas Maximus
KJ and I had a small dinner party on Valentine's Day, to which we invited two other recently married couples that we're friends with. I went to the store in search of Southern Tier's 2XIPA and another milder beer to serve our friends, but came home with a six-pack of Lagunitas Brewing Company's Imperial IPA in lieu of the former. As is usually the case with these types of events, our friends also brought beer, so there were still five Maximus's in our refrigerator at the end of the night.

Since I don't really drink like I used to, and this is a pretty strong beer of which I can usually only drink one at a time, it was only recently that I finished the last of the bunch. While it's not my absolute favorite IPA, it's pretty darn close. Possessing all the characteristics that I look for in an Imperial IPA—full bodied, well balanced, and with a wonderful citrusy hop aroma—it's just slightly harsher than my favorites of the style. Still, a fantastic brew and probably the best I've had in a while.

Dale's Pale Ale
Since I've been on a canned beer kick since last fall, Dale's has been my most frequent go-to beer, which is pretty fitting considering it became America's first canned craft beer back in 2002. I've made the observation before that, while Oskar Blues Brewery considers Dale's a pale ale, stylistically it reminds me more of an IPA, but one that's much easier going down than Lagunitas Maximus. That, of course, is mostly a good thing, except when it tricks me into thinking I can have one more, and I find myself regretting the decision the following day.

Leatherlips IPA
Northeast Massachusetts' Haverhill Brewery produces one the rare IPAs that I really don't like all that much. I'd had it before on draft a couple times, and wasn't overly impressed, but a six-pack found its way into my refrigerator recently when some friends from my hometown visited and brought it with them. Of course, it's the thought that counts, and they obviously know my taste in beer pretty well. Unfortunately, it falls into the category of IPA that—in my opinion—is all about hop bitterness and has no other significant redeeming qualities. To me, the problem is the use of two types of high alpha hops, particularly Chinook, in a beer that is only 5% alcohol.

Porkslap Pale Ale
Another brew I've frequently consumed during the winter of canned craft beer is Butternuts Beer and Ale's Porkslap Pale Ale. While most of my standard beers are fairly high in alcohol content, Porkslap has filled the role of "session beer" for me lately. In case it needs explanation, a session beer is one that, due to its mild character and modest alcohol content, allows a drinker to consume multiple beers in a session.

Porkslap has nice malty character up front, and is easy going down, but its finish is a little lacking, in my opinion. I suppose that comes with the territory of a beer that refers to itself as an all-malt farmhouse ale.

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