I was scrolling through the Twitter-verse, jealous of the all the posts from Nashville, where the Craft Brewers Conference was taking place, when I saw the following from noted beer writer Lew Bryson @lewbryson:
(Thinks to self): Brewers are ruining beer by adding STUFF to it! Fruit! Glitter! Vanilla! Spice! JUST MAKE BEER! BEER-FLAVORED BEER! (Thinks to self 20 seconds later): Damn, I want more of that blood orange Berliner. That shit’s tasty AF.
Adventurous beer drinkers have encountered a cornucopia of added ingredients in beers. Joe-Joe’s cookies? Check. Super Hot Peppers? Check! Bugs? Check!! (the last was coloring made from beetles at the Eagle Rock Session Fest a few years back).
In 2018 you can add edible food-grade glitter, cereal, spruce tips, candy, and the like to the long and growing list of not hops, water, yeast, or malt that could be in the beer that you are drinking. Quicker than you can hit Like/Dislike, the interwebs will light up with opinions and counter opinions about whether it is fine or an abomination.
You can argue both sides, I certainly have, but the genesis of what is now independent beer started when we, the consumer, wanted more than just one type of light lager. That diversity DNA is still alive and well in today’s brewing scene. Why have just West Coast IPA when you can have Black IPA, Imperial IPA, Hazy IPA, Fruited IPA, Milkshake IPA or a bedazzled IPA.
You can make repeated calls for plain, simple beers, but the new, new will always hold the curiosity high ground. Just Google hemp, THC, or marijuana beers to see the full extent of that interest level.
This time next year, we will talk about the latest [fill in the blank] style of beer and wonder why glitter beer was considered such a talking point.
I haven’t talked IPA since the Brew & You format change and it is time to get back to the ever popular style with two canned offerings from Hawthorne’s Los Angeles Ale Works.
First up is a collaboration Milkshake IPA brewed with The Propagator (aka Firestone Walker) This new sub-style utilizes lactose and usually a fruit to create a mash-up of hops and cream. Lion Claaws looks like a glass of grapefruit juice. The aroma is pineapple mixed with coconut and hints at sweetness. The first taste unveils a lot of lactose. A lot. This beer is sugary. It was a little over a week old when I tasted it and the hops of a DIPA are just not to be found. There is some orange juice, but that just creates a creamsicle effect. As it warms, some bitterness starts to peek through, but by then lactose has won the battle. Strong fun flavors, but the balance is off to me.
Lunar Kitten IPA comes in a shades-of-blue can with an astro cat in Meow-ter space. The beer pours a yellowish orange color. A bright orange and melon aroma. Soft and pleasant. Fruit forward, but with a really good kick of hop bitterness. Doesn’t taste like 7.5% ABV at all. Of the two beers, this was my clear favorite. The balance was just right.
Put low ABV on your calendar as Eagle Rock Brewery Session Fest pours tap after tap of beers created by the brewers and staff of both the main brewery and the Public House on Colorado Boulevard. The whole brewery opens, allowing you to wander from station to station making the hard decisions as to which beers to try before you remember that you don’t have to watch the ABV percentage like you do at most festivals.
The event runs from 12pm to 8pm on Saturday, May 19, 2018. A mere $25 gets you a commemorative 8oz Session Fest glass, plus 5 pours (8oz) of whichever beers strike your fancy.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.