Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Hop Concept's IPA

The Hop Concept makes standout IPAs like Dank and Sticky and Citrus and Piney, but these 8.5% adv double IPAs are too much for casual drinking. They take over and punctuate an evening. The Hop Concept recently (I am not sure when) released THC IPA with a moderate 6.0% abv. Perfection. THC IPA is a robust beer and drinks bigger than its modest abv. Its bright citrus and tropical juiciness give a rush of flavor, and its bitterness is modest. You can smell THC's Mosaic and Idaho 7 hops as soon as you open the can. This beer is one of the best IPAs I have had this year. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Thought Power

Dang, last night I searched Stone Brewing's website to see it had released or planned to release its 24th anniversary beer. I did not see anything. Then a few hours ago I got an email notification from Stone announcing the release of its 24th Anniversary Digeridoom Double IPA. The power of positive thinking.

Digeridoom Double IPA contains Australian hops Galaxy, Ella, and Vic Secret, and has a sensible 8.1% abv (at least as far as a double IPA abv). It comes in 22 oz bombers, too, which are not popular any more, but a size I still appreciate. Stone says this beer is available now - August 17, 2020 - so I am going to pop over to Stone Liberty Station to get a bomber.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Culture Canceled

I have started this post more than a few times and always deleted it for various reasons. I need to get it out of my system before I can write other posts. 

Culture Brewing's Ocean Beach tasting room closed on April 19, 2020, and it still makes me sad. The closing was not pandemic-related, despite the date, but due to a big rent increase. I found Culture's tasting room an inclusive space, a real reflection of the community, which I know is an overused cliche. In this case the cliche was true. All types passed through the tasting room to enjoy beer, and no one cared or judged. A couple in their sixties was as common as a couple in their twenties. Women could drink without unwanted advances. As a middle-aged white man in a mostly white community, I know I am not the best judge of this, nor do I claim to be super aware, but it seemed to me that people of color were treated no different than anyone else at Culture. I hope I am right, and not just wishful thinking.

Culture's staff created this egalitarian space. Whether on purpose, or through the aura of the place, or because it is in independent Ocean Beach, the staff's calm, friendly approach did not waiver, even on nights when Culture was busy, or when new people were hired. I generally stopped at Culture once or twice a week for five years, whether for a crowler fill or for a taster while on other errands in Ocean Beach. I did not hang out there and drink sessions of pints, so maybe my experience is limited, but I saw various levels of crowds and different servers, and the staff remained cool, fair, and welcoming. (I never saw anyone drunk or belligerent, either.)

Last Growler of Culture Pale Ale

It is hard to capture the karma of the Culture's Ocean Beach tasting room. As mentioned above, maybe it was the variety of people who stopped in, I'd always see someone I had not seen before. Maybe it was the number of dogs, which I am not a fan of but that were part of the place. Maybe it was not having a TV. Maybe it was not blasting music. Maybe it was the rotation of local art displays. Maybe it was the wall lined with barrels aging beer, or the high ceilings, or the metal bar. I know it was not the beer, because Culture's best beers are mediocre. I guess all these things together made Culture work.

I know there are other tasting rooms in Ocean Beach; tasting rooms that offer better beer. None have the same ambience of Culture. Novo Brazil is taking over Culture's tasting room so there'll still be craft beer along with seltzer, cider, kombucha, or what ever other drink Novo offers that I'll never try. Sure, I intend to give Novo a try but for some reason I am expecting a Bro fest. 

Culture was unique, but I don't want it replicated. Nostalgia can turn to poison. Culture's tasting room was a positive addition to Ocean Beach and I do not think I am only one who misses it.

(The picture above is Culture's Pale Ale from my last growler fill at the Ocean Beach tasting room.)