In the category of “why the hell had it been three years since the last time I’d had one of these” beers:
Name: Hop Ottin’ IPA
Origin: Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Boonville, CA
I drank this: from a CAN, y’all, at a friend’s backyard BBQ
Yes, a can. I have no pictures because I was too busy enjoying the beer to bother digging out my phone, but it’s a pretty purple-and-blue affair of a can, and the beer inside of it is SCRUMPTIOUS.
Seriously, people, this beer has one of the creamiest mouthfeels of any IPA I’ve ever tried. It’s glorious, like drinking silk, or melted ice cream.
The head foams up out of the mouth of the can just enough to let you know it’s there but without spilling over the side and getting all messy. I’m thankful for this, because it’s about the only way to smell the beer. This is the only problem I have with canned beer: actually getting a sniff of what I’m drinking is not. easy. Sniffing the head, however, when I could get to it, was a hit of bergamot and sweet orange along with a touch of pine needles running over a base of caramelly-rich malts.
Flavor-wise, it’s a precision balancing act between the malts and the hops, which is flipping impressive given the IBU level. The malts are rich and slightly sweet, all caramel and brown bread. The hops are serious business West Coast-style hops: they’re a massive citrus bomb, mostly grapefruit and orange, but rounded out with bits of everything from pine and fir to grass to a touch of flowers (mostly rose petals to my palate). The finish is smooth and easy, meaning that even with 80 IBUs, my food still tasted the way it was supposed to (and not, you know, like raisins).
The thing with the can is that I think it’s actually a pretty good way to go about packaging beer*: there’s no ability for sunlight to get in and skunk things up, and as long as you drink it within a few months, you won’t run into any kind of metallic taste. The biggest issue with canned beer is, so far as I can tell, the macroswill associations that beer cans inevitably carry with them – i.e., any beer in a can must be crap. I’m here to tell you to dump that mindset (if you haven’t already): canned beer can be good. Really good. Really amazingly lovely, even. And you can take it with you to all the places that bottles aren’t welcomed.
*I know it’s a little late in the season to get on the high and mighty DRINK THE CANNED CRAFT BEER horse, but this summer has been absolute madness. Hopefully I’ll get into other things – like, say, Octoberfests – in a more timely fashion.