tried and true? or something new?

21 Jul

it’s a friday happy hour celebration, and i find myself at Produce Row pondering the beer menu as everyone else at the table has already ordered a drink. no surprise, i’m the last to order. but i’m contemplating an important question. i mean, i could have already ordered. a few favorites on the menu jumped out immediately: Boneyard RPM, Terminal Gravity IPA, or Upright’s 4. but then a few beers catch my eye that are new to me and i think…should i order something new?

this is a question that often plagues me when i head out in this town. especially now that we have this beer blog. there is more pressure to try something new – it’s material for a new post. but sometimes, i just want that really great favorite that never lets me down. i know what i am going to get and i know its exactly what i am in the mood for.

sometimes it’s clear. i’m feeling adventurous and see something on the menu that sounds yummy or has an awesome or hilarious name. or the whole purpose of the trip is to head out to that brand new brewery in town and try a bunch of new brews. and sometimes i am headed out because a brewery or beerhouse has just tapped one of my favorite brews that i just have to have.

but most of the time, i don’t have a plan, and i find myself out at a bar with a lengthy beer list and its easier to pick an old favorite. then i think, what a shame. with all these options, and beers i may not find somewhere else, what am i missing? could one of these turn out to be an old favorite? i mean, how did my old favorites become favorites anyway? and then what flashes through my mind are all the memories where i went for it and ended up with 16 ounces of garbage. pure disappointment. a waste of calories. can i find something adventurous, yet safe? maybe, but its always a gamble. but then i remember that the stakes really aren’t that high. i mean, its $5 and a pint of beer. and normally, i walk away even – a bad beer can always be followed by a favorite. and sometimes, i walk away with a big win – a new favorite.

we are lucky here in beervana. it’s rare to walk into a bar and have had everything that is on the beer menu. there are always seasonals and more breweries starting up every year. bars strive to get at least a beer or two from one of the new, small breweries or that one that is just a little farther away and harder to get. the last thing they want is to be deemed to have a blah or boring beer menu. so i know some of you find yourself asking this same question: tried and true? or something new?

so here i am, with one of those interesting, ever-changing beer menus, contemplating my decision and i decide to go for something new: the Glisan Street Dry Hop by Migration Brewing. It poured with a slight cloudiness, light amber in color, and offered a crisp, carbonated mouthfeel. it has a nice citrus fruit hop with light bitterness and just a slight, flowery note. as it warmed the caramel malt emerged a little more, both on the nose and palette, complimenting the hop and smoothing out the beer. this was a perfect beer on a hot, summer afternoon. easy to drink, but enough hop and malt to keep this beer from being too thin or flavorless, as some summer beers find themselves. this is a nice one i could enjoy pint after pint on this summer afternoon. the chance paid off this time.

so i went for it again, but this time i picked something old and new. i saw Walking Man’s Homoerectus (Imperial IPA) on the menu and realized it had probably been a couple years since i had enjoyed a pint of it. i thought that qualified it as somewhat new and that i should give it a whirl to see if it tasted the way i remembered. when it arrived, it was a reddish, amber color with a light creamy head. the aroma was mostly citrus hop with just a slight floral sweetness to it. although the citrus hop was definitely there, i was struck by the alcohol on my first sip. it was also quite malty, trying to stand up to all those hops and all that alcohol, giving it a nice full body. it was actually quite good with my potato skins. the chili sour cream brought out the sweet caramel malt, and a kick of citrus hops to beat the heat. as the pint warmed, the alcohol lost its sharpness, letting the hops emerge even more, which was probably the best way to drink this beer. it finished with a nice hop bitterness on the tongue. this is probably a bit much for multiple pints, but this is definitely a solid Imperial IPA. not the most balanced, but a hop head willing to let it warm for a few minutes after service, is sure to enjoy it.

i finished the afternoon with a favorite, a pint of Boneyard’s RPM IPA (see Brian’s post). so, in the end, tried and true? something new?

why bother. just go with both.

lesson learned.

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