Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hopped Up for the Weekend

They always seem to arrive in bunches. A gush of good beers have come streaming into town over the past week. Among them are a bunch of newish (to our area) beers that emphasize hops. I’m feeling in a hoppy kinda mood, so lets get into those. Here’s a trio of hop-forward beers to crash against your palate this weekend in Oshkosh.

Toppling Goliath Light Speed Pale Ale
If you put your money down on just one beer in this group, make it this one. And make your move quick, because there’s a limited amount available and it’s going fast.

Toppling Goliath Brewing of Decorah, Iowa (pop. 8,127) is a darling of the geek set. Beer traders lose their nut over this stuff and it’s as rare as hen’s teeth in Wisconsin. We’re getting it in Oshkosh thanks to Adam Carlson of Gardina’s. He’s been trucking down to Madison, making a connection and hauling a few cases back home. This time he’s landed a perfect, summer-weekend beer.

First off, it’s a pretty thing: golden amber with a lacy, white head. It almost looks innocent. The aroma brings a distinct watermelon scent that makes you want to drink it in big, sloppy gulps. Go ahead, it’s just under 6%, it isn’t gonna kill you. That melon note comes bursting out as you draw it in. It’s sweet and candy-like with a slithering bitterness behind it that gradually drives everything else from your mouth. It’s a delicious beer. Gardina’s is offering Light Speed in 22oz. bombers for $9.99. If you don’t see it on the shelf, make sure to ask for it. And if they run out, ask if they have any of Toppling Goliath’s PseudoSue still available. Never know, you might get lucky.

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
Here’s a beer that hasn’t been available in Oshkosh since 2011. When Dogfish Head brought their beers back to Wis. last December, their flagship brew was conspicuously absent. Word out of the Milton, Delaware brewery was that they couldn’t brew enough of it to keep up. Another expansion later and now they can. Their 60 Minute IPA returned on draught last week at O’Marro’s Public House and it’s now selling in 6-packs at Festival Foods and Gardina’s.

I have an affinity for this beer. It represents everything that Dogfish Head is supposedly not about. There’s nothing “radical” or “off-centered” about it. This is a flavorful, workmanlike IPA with a broad nose of citrus-like hop aromas. I get a lot of grapefruit, skirted with a hint of sugar. It’s surprisingly light-bodied with a firm bitterness riding over a semi-sweet malt flavor that makes me think of Vienna malt. The finish is fast and dry, leaving the palate clean and refreshed. It’s no wonder this is the Dogfish Head’s bestselling beer. Unlike most of their other beers, this is one you might want to drink a few of. At 6.0% ABV, that shouldn’t present too much of a problem. There’s just one drawback: the price runs to the high side. At Festival it’s going for $10.99 a sixer. I’m not sure what Gardina’s is charging, but I imagine they’re in the same ballpark. Oh, what the hell, you only go around once.

Tallgrass Ethos IPA
Here’s the sleeper. This beer triggered a memory for me. The first IPA that really grabbed me was Tyranena’s Bitter Woman IPA. That was back in the fall of 2003, I think. I hated it. But I kept going back to it. All of a sudden, I couldn’t get enough of it. Ethos IPA reminds me a lot of what I used to and still do like about Bitter Woman.

The beer has tingling, pine-forest aroma that charges up from the glass. It’s like putting your nose into a brew kettle just after a big dose of cascade or centennial hops have gone in. The flavors are strong and direct. There’s a sticky, caramel-like malt note that’s immediately shredded by a bitter grapefruit flavor. They come together beautifully. The finish is bitter, lingering and very enjoyable; if you enjoy such things. And sometimes, I do. And this time I did.

They’re selling Ethos IPA in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans at Festival Foods in Oshkosh for $7.99. Every once in a while, I find something at Festival that keeps me coming back. Here’s another one. I haven’t given up on that dump, yet. But I probably should.

1 comment:

  1. Ethos comes and goes down here at festival; it should stay.