Thursday, April 30, 2020

Coronavirus Comfort Beer

Pizza Port has regular canned special releases, and many of the ones I have tried have been outstanding beers. One of Pizza Port's most recent releases is Campgrounds IPA (7.2% abv). It has been my go-to beer during the lockdown. It is a modern take on the West Coast IPA. By modern I mean it is brewed with new hops strains of Strata, Cashmere, and Rakau, not the classic hops like Cascade, Centennial, or Amarillo. It is clear and light in color. It is plenty bitter, but it also has prominent citrus fruit. The mouthful is a striking oily resin. Pizza Port did everything right brewing this beer. I am not sure how long this is going to stay in circulation, but I know it is still available around town and at Pizza Port locations.

Still Got It

Stone Brewing's Arrogant Consortia's Arrogant Bastard is still one heck of a beer. The rise of hazy beers, beers made with hops that bring more fruit, or vegetables, or earth than bitterness, and the absence of malt in many beers has not diminished the impact of Arrogant Bastard. It is unshakeable; still bitter and still malty. I did note a high level of sweetness I had never noticed or paid much attention to before, but it seemed warranted with the big malt presence. I didn't find Arrogant Bastard as complex or as subversive as I did twenty years ago, but that is fine, because it made me realize how good a beer it remains.


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Drinking Local

Beer blogging was an outlet during the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, but blogging has not provided me the same escape during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has not stopped beer drinking, and it is heartening that so many breweries and restaurants have adapted to this challenge. Pizza Port in Ocean Beach has a steady line. Mike Hess Brewing is offering $5 fills in is 32 oz growlers of any beer*. This is an incredible bargain and I am getting mini-growler fills several times a week. Over the past few weeks I have discovered Societe Brewing's marvelous Beer for the People Pilsner and Rouleur Brewing's Endo IPA, which is a proper update to the West Coast IPA.

We have ordered takeout from Stone Brewing's World Bistro & Gardens - Liberty Station on a few occasions, and it has been fantastic. I once even got a crowler fill of Pliny The Elder (my only non-local beer since the pandemic started). Stone Brewing's most recent Enjoy By 4.20.20 is stonking good, and example No. 1 of an ABV smuggler (Indy Beer Show podcast term).

Rules have been relaxed to allow restaurants to sell beer to go in growlers or other containers, even though I have not bought any. I am not sure if this change allowed restaurants to get rid of existing beer supplies, or if restaurants are now taking on new kegs. Either way, I think it is positive and should become permanent. (Hey, Joint OB, I know you are closed, but you should open for a draft beer sale because you have a great beer list and that beer should not end up as a fancy drain pour.) Even breweries have seen relaxation in the types of containers they fill, and of course Stone Liberty Station filling crowlers or growlers of Russian River beers is a bonus. It is too bad it took a pandemic to cause a growler comeback. I find a 32 oz growler more convenient than a crowler.

Many breweries are offering free home delivery and free shipping. This is wild and provides another post-pandemic sales channel. I have not ordered beer for delivery yet, but who knows. It seems like a good way to get beer from some of those North County breweries I always want to visit but never make time to visit.

*Mike Hess's new Pershing Pilsner, I believe, is the one exception to the $5 fill.