Last week’s Flight Night at the Cloverleaf was a pretty cosmic experience. The days leading up to it had been sort of gross – rainy and cold – but things were clearing up and, by Thursday, the forecast looked fantastic. Likewise, in my own little brewniverse, the week had started out dull with a couple rye beers that were probably past their prime. Luckily once I hit the Leaf, the beer finally started to mimic the weather.
This week I was copilot with my friend, Emily. The genius of our “flight plan” was to start with the Spring beers (pungent, flowery, flavorful) and move on to summer (a lot brighter and lighter). Check out the progression below, with what little notes I managed to scribble onto my bar napkin:
1. Wee Geech (Anderson Valley, American IPA)
Tastes like bitter tears. A little thick. Sweet and salty, like saliva. Not a bad beer at all.
2. Rustic Saison (Sam Adams, Saison)
Dark brown. Tastes a little like ashy cigars, way lighter and sparklier than it looks – almost approaching Lite beer
3. Dead Guy Ale (Rogue, Maibock)
Tastes like a hef! Actually, sort of like a mix between a hef and a pilsner. Flowers, honey, spices, and fruit. Really great.
4. IPA Project #2 (Weyerbacher, English IPA)
Stinky! Like sweet B.O. Taste is warm and round. Stinky hops in the back, faint sweet and malty finish. I really liked this one.
1. Hell or High Watermelon (21st Amendment, Fruit Beer)
Not much smell at all. Tastes like a watermelon jolly rancher. Not unpleasant but I’d never crave it.
2. Farmhouse Summer Ale (Flying Fish, American Blonde)
Light lager, actually tastes a little like shellfish. Not in a bad way. Spicy hops, dry, maybe a little dank.
3. Sunshine Pils (Troeg, German Pilsner)
Nice pils, though not my favorite. A little more bready and sugary than most.
4. Summer Ale (Sam Adams, American Pale Wheat Ale)
Coconut and lime! I liked this, though I remember not liking it at all in the past. It’s crisp, not all that flavorful but nice. A little lingering bitterness.
It was a really good list, but overall the winner was definitely the Dead Guy. Unique, delicious, clean, refreshing. Awesome beer.
I kept my luck going the next night with another great summer beer: Ur Pils. The German Pilsner came from Pinkus Müller, Munster’s only brewery (the sole survivor of a list that used to reach the hundreds). Even better it’s as conscious as it is tenacious – Pinkus Müller was the first European brewery to go 100% organic.
But history and ethics aside, the beer was tasty. It had something going on that I haven’t seen in a beer before – sort of a scone thing. The nose had a lot of powdery baking flour and the grassy flavor was balanced with honey and lemon. Tea and scones, and unique addition to the pilsner profile, but a welcome one.
Oh yeah, and I finished the week with another beer from what’s quickly becoming my favorite English brewery: Black Sheep’s Riggwelter Yorkshire Ale. It’s classified as an English Brown Ale, but to me it tastes like an awesome Irish Dry Stout. Like what Guiness should be. It’s got nice toasty flavors – like salted dark chocolate – with a light, fluffy mouthfeel. If you see this stuff or anything from Black Sheep, get it.