You probably noticed, assuming you are still here, that I’ve taken some extended blogging breaks this year. Where was I?
Well .. I was in rehab.
For bad beer consumption.
Thank heavens, my taste buds were saved by Hangar 24 Brewery, a very generous craft brewer based in Redlands, Calif.
Out of the blue this year, they sent me this ginmorous insulated case of some of their many fine, fine brews for me to sample. See:
And sample, I did. Not a bad one on in the bunch. In fact, one of the tastiest, most consistently good batch of diverse beers from one brewer I’ve every had. Here are some of my faves:
First up, the Hangar 24 Orange Wheat -- their flagship brew and with good reason.
While wheat beers usually are not my pick of the litter, this one really burst out with a nice crisp yet sweet citrus flavor. Much subtler than, say, a Blue Moon and more much rewarding on a hot day.
Well, I guessed it would be great on a hot day.
I think it was about 26 and snowy the day I had mine this “spring.”
(I did have a few in Los Angeles when we vacationed out there in April and it tasted just as sweet; however, the temps barely cracked 65 those days so I’m still taking this warm-weather refreshment thing on faith.)
A big ol’ bottle of Hangar 24 Columbus IPA came next.
This, my good friends at Newcastle, is what an IPA should taste like. Hoppy makes me happy but it also had a nice dose of malt (five different kinds apparently) that balance it. Also, just look at that yeasty goodness floating in there:
Note: It’s not tri-colored like this in real life. I had to stick a flashlight behind the pint glass so you could see better. SCIENCE!
If you like hyper hoppy, the Double IPA does the trick. The bite of the hops is strong but not so much that it strips your taste buds off, which for whatever bizarre reason was all the rage a few years back.
As you see, I paired mine with some guacamole, salsa and chips. The extra hops and, again, some sweet and tangy citrus flavors really mix well with the spice of Mexican food.
Finally, the beer that scared me the most – Vinaceous.
It’s beer! It’s wine! It’s both!
It’s a smooth, slightly sweet and very hearty blend that – with 8.4% alcohol – will warm you as well as put you flat on your back if you are not careful. Best to enjoy with a fancy meal not with Cheetos.