Feeling gypped by the first round I doubled down and spent a smidge over €10 for a half-US-pint of Jolly Pumpkin Saison X, a beer of just 4.5% ABV. There's a sharp bricky aroma, like good lambic, though almost tipping over into vinegar. On tasting there's an immediate gritty funk which is much more saison-like, huge juicy peach and honeydew fruit, which was a surprise, and then a classic oaky sour finish, bringing us back to lambicland. It's only barely to-style, though admittedly saison does have a pretty broad set of parameters. But it was absolutely beautiful: combining the best bits of several different kinds of beer in exquisite balance. Which, at that price, it would want to.And a beer he did not like:
I kicked off with Invasive Species, a 5.7% ABV sour ale by Brooklyn outfit Greenpoint, which incorporates Motueka and Citra hops. It's a pale hazy yellow colour and smells very farmyard. The first hit on tasting it is an eye-wateringly sharp green acid effect from the Motueka and then a surprising candy-sweet middle. The Citra succeeds in turning this into 7-Up while the sourness is merely a tangy afterthought. A chalky fruit-flavoured antacid tablet flavour finishes it off. This really didn't work well for me: hoppy and sour I like, but sweet and sour is for chicken."Bricky aroma" and "gritty funk" are descriptors I don't read in other beer reviews, and I will not read a more brutal slam this year than "succeeds in turning this into 7-Up." It is hard to write this well.
The Beer Nut's focus is Irish craft beers, but he reviews and discusses American, English, and European beers, too. He is knowledgeable and open-minded and has followed craft beer's European growth. He is no sentimentalist and does not bemoan non-cask beer or the rise of hop-heavy IPAs, or pine for a world of 4% milds. The beer writing on The Beer Nut is worth reading even if you never drink any of the beers or plan to visit the pubs described on the blog.
(The Beer Nut visited and wrote about McSorley's pub in New York City, a place that if I had a Bucket List would be near the top. I wrote about, but mainly linked to and copied and pasted from Joseph Mitchell's classic 1940 New Yorker profile of McSorley's here.)