Beers of the Week: When the New Fails to Impress

Before I talk about my beer experience from last night, trying three newbies and one “second chance” beer, let’s cover my vacation.

I went to Panama City Beach and retired about 30 cans of some quality beach beers that you can actually taste. Here are the winners:

Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose: Probably the best of my trip, and that’s good because I brought 14 of them.
Westbrook Gose: I had a sixer of this. The more you taste, the more complexity you notice. In my view you get the Gose sourness and sweetness with a little bit of farmhouse funk.
Anderson Valley Briney Melon: The brine can be intense but it’s better than a mouthful of sea water. It’s darn refreshing.
Evil Twin Sour Bikini: Not enough sour, too much bitter. It’s one of my “second chance” beers, a beer that had a meh first run and got a second shot. I think I’ll pass on buying more in the future.
Sierra Nevada Otra Vez: For a $14 per 12 pack beer, it’s a good value. The combo of grapefruit and cactus can lean refreshing but there’s not much “there” there.
Abita Strawberry: It has been a regular for years but I’ve found better summery beers. I’ll probably grab a 12-pack in June and not finish it until September.

When I was out, I had two beers. I had a Founders Dirty Bastard which had a bit of smoke, some malt, and some bitterness, not bad with my sea cow. I also drank one 30A Beach Blonde Ale, again, the only beer on a list that I would even consider, another summery light beer that’s not going to offend the palate.

One of my favorite things to do in a “new” city is try out their beer stores. In PCB, I stopped at a liquor store in a strip mall. The selection was nice, including some Boulevard beers that I can’t find anymore in Atlanta. The price tag was a little steep so I passed. Before leaving, I saw this three-pack of bombers and couldn’t pass it up.

Chocolate Indulgence is the one I haven't tried.

Chocolate Indulgence is the one I haven’t tried.

I broke my Game of Thrones Ommegang glass so I now have a replacement along with two bombers I’ve tried and one that I’ve never seen before. When you see a new beer from a brewery you like in a style that’s up your alley, it’s as good as it gets as a beer aficionado. At $24, which is probably less than the cost of the three bombers, I considered this a bargain.

Onto the Saturday night new beer fest. I made a post-beach beer run last week and picked up some old favorites along with a few newbies. Saturday was newbie night. Here’s what I sampled:

New Belgium Heavy Melon: Watermelon and lime beer, tastes exactly as you think it would, nothing special and a friend on Twitter mentioned that all New Belgium beers are on the meh spectrum. I have to agree. Hold out for their bombers.

Collaboration not litigation Ale: Avery and Russian River discovered that they were making two of the exact same style of beer with the exact same name so they did a collaboration. What’s weird is the picture on their web site has a dark beer so when I bought the 2016 version in the store that’s what I expected. It was a gold color and tasted like a quad and a golden ale smashed together. I tasted the tubinado sugar but there was an odd bitterness on the finish, not an IPA bitterness but something different. I enjoyed the front end but the back end was odd and I will not repeat this one.

Starr Hill Shakedown: I thought this stout with cherry would be a nice compliment to a blackberry cobbler with homemade vanilla ice cream that my wife made. It wasn’t great. The booze was heavy and the cherry was limited.

Bells Cherry Stout: I bought a six-pack as part of my winter bargain purchase and this was the last of the batch. The beer as a whole is superior to the other cherry stout but there’s a smokiness that tastes a little bit like it’s coming up. This second-chance beer will not get a third shot.

All in all I had a disappointing beer night but as always, there are many others to try and re-try.

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