Six to Seek: The Best Beers of the Week
Durham, North Carolina
5% | India Pale Lager
A collaboration with the new, mid-century-inspired Unscripted Durham, this beer is as retro and contemporary as its namesake. It’s a throwback in that it’s at its heart a lager, but made modern in its use of local malt (from Durham’s Epiphany Craft Malt) and trendy hops (Mosaic, Galaxy, Citra and Simcoe). Those hops give off a distinct lemon note in the aroma, which on the palate is joined by light grapefruit, pine and orange peel, with a crackery malt character. None of those flavors, though, are so bold that you lose sight of the crisp and clean lager base. There are a lot of poorly executed India pale lagers out there, beers so inundated with hops that you can’t distinguish whether it’s an ale or a lager. This isn’t one of them. It’s balanced and bright, everything you would want in an India pale lager.
BOULEVARD BOU LOU
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Kansas City, Missouri
5.5% | Wheat Ale w/ Pineapple & Coconut
Breweries partnering with bands and musicians is nothing new, but one genre often overlooked in these collaborations is hip-hop. That’s changing. Deltron3030 collaborated with Dogfish Head on Positive Contact, Nappy Roots recently brewed with Against the Grain Brewery and Monday Night Brewing, and now Tech N9ne has partnered with Boulevard Brewing Co. Bou Lou, named after Tech N9ne’s song “Caribou Lou,” is inspired by the cocktail from that same song. There’s no Malibu Rum, but the wheat beer is brewed with pineapple and coconut. Both of those ingredients are there but in perfect harmony; it achieves that tropical profile that so many IPAs are going for right now, but courtesy the fruit instead of hops. There’s a hint of vanilla, too, and the wheat beer base is refreshing and cleans up quickly.
CAPE MAY ALWAYS READY
Cape May Brewing Co.
Cape May, New Jersey
4.8% | Northeast Pale Ale
An homage to the Coast Guard and its base in Cape May, Always Ready isn’t, unfortunately, always available. It’s a seasonal that runs through this month, however if you’re lucky enough to see it around you should do yourself a favor and pick up some cans. Always Ready offers a big hop punch of pine and pithy citrus, with a satisfying bitterness. And it does it all in a well balanced, sub-5% package. If you miss Always Ready, keep an eye out for upcoming hoppy offerings from Cape May Brewing Co.
CORONADO MARINE DREAM
Coronado Brewing Co.
San Diego, California
6.5% | Hazy Oat India Pale Ale
The second in the brewery’s new Art Series, Marine Dream is brewed with oats, London III yeast and Citra, Vic Secret and Mosaic hops. Given these ingredients and the word “hazy” on the can, you might expect it to look as murky as many others on the market. Instead it pours bright orange and only slightly hazy, but it’s an attractive beer from the jump. The nose is more dank than tropical, with green onion standing out. On the palate, though, juicy notes of orange peel and pineapple come to the fore, along with a bit of juniper and watermelon rind. There’s a decent bitterness and the oats lend the beer a creamy body. While it doesn’t jump headfirst into the New England style, it’s a tasty IPA from a brewery that’s been making such beers for quite a while.
CREATURE COMFORTS TRITONIA – CUCUMBER & LIME
Creature Comforts Brewing Co.
4.5% | Gose w/ Cucumber & Lime
You can smell the cucumber in this beer well before the glass reaches your lips. On the nose, it’s difficult to discern much more, but the cucumber is actually more subdued on the palate. Tritonia lacks the lactic, tart-bordering-on-sour quality that many American goses have, but this makes the beer all the more refreshing and allows the lime and salt to come through. Make no mistake: you’ll need to like cucumber to enjoy this beer, but it is certainly no novelty. The cucumber departs quickly in the finish, where a wheatiness lingers. With a clean, refreshing quality and light tartness, this beer would pair well with lighter fare (we’re thinking salad or sushi).
PURE PROJECT / CELLADOR SCYNDICATION
Pure Project Brewing & Cellador Ales
San Diego, California
8.1% | Flanders-Style Red Ale
Released back in March, Scyndication is a collaboration between Pure Project Brewing and Cellador Ales that spent time in brandy, bourbon and red wine barrels. It’s the latter that is most noticeable in the aroma, but the barrels become tougher to pick out individually on the palate — the mark of a blender who knows what they are doing. The beer’s sourness and acidity are well balanced by sweet and jammy flavors such as tart cherry, plum, concord grape and caramel, with a dry oakiness on the finish. It feels light in the mouth, and all the more drinkable for it.