Scenes from Quarantine: Beer

The last couple of years, I’ve migrated my preferred beer selection from standard IPA’s to hazy IPA’s. They tend to be fruitier, lighter, and easier to drink, and are particularly delicious in the warm weather. However, they lack the potent, bitter, hoppiness of original IPA’s and the sweetness comes through more, so sometimes, after a few too many hazys, I definitely crave an original IPA to balance out the palate.

COVID-19 hit in March, and shelter-in place orders trickled down the coast, beginning in Northern California, making its way down to San Diego County. Since shelter-in-place took effect, we have stocked up from Bevmo on a couple of occasions and taken the time to try different beers. While I didn’t buy into the toilet paper or hand sanitizer panic (somewhat to my detriment, however, as we have a pretty sad supply of hand sanitizer), I certainly did panic when I saw that some states were considering banning alcohol sales, and that there could be a beer supply problem due to shortage in CO2. Ultimately, it did not end up being a problem, and there has been plenty of beer to go around (thus far).

The Goose Island pictured below is not a hazy, but was unexpectedly citrusy, fruity, and well-balanced. I was not a huge fan of Goose Island’s original IPA, so this one took me by surprise. Price was also something to gloat about – not a lot of solid beers are going for $7.99 a six-pack, so I considered this a win. Both Lagunitas hazys had a similar feel. Lagunitas tends to be sort of unmemorable for me (no different from their original IPA) – drinkable and good enough, but probably not good enough to buy again if it isn’t on sale.

Since bars and restaurants were forcibly closed for an extended period of time, we watched sadly as longstanding neighborhood breweries went out of business. When we saw that Lost Abbey, which had opened just shortly before the coronavirus madness, was selling beers to go, we picked up a few bottles. They were selling them for very reasonable prices, comparable to retail. We’ve had the Judgment Day quad before, but it is no joke. Strong as hell, deep flavors (currant, raisin, warm Belgian spices).

 

Quarantine has not been too bad for us, as we have a yard, good weather, good books, and a few hiking trails nearby on which to enjoy our beers. There’s a lot of crazy shit going on, and it’s a good time to count blessings.

Lost Abbey

Lost Abbey‘s very close to me, but I hadn’t been in years. I took my brother when he was in town for a wedding, and we had a few tasters. I was up in Orange County for work all day, and made it back down to San Diego around 4:00 p.m. I had a long day and didn’t feel the need to go back into the office. I picked my brother up and we hit up Lost Abbey. I don’t usually drink on Tuesdays, but apparently everyone else does. At 4:00 p.m. on a Tuesday, the place was bumpin’. Don’t people work? I wondered what I am doing wrong. I need to be drankin’ at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays…

The menu was extensive, including their own beers and that of Port Brewing, their sister company.

Carnavale: This is a French country ale, with an ABV of 6.5 percent. It’s fruity, tropical, and very Belgian-trippel-ish.

Devotion: This is a dry-hopped blond ale. It’s 6.5 percent ABV, and does have a “crisp hop finish” as described on the beer menu.

Lost and Found: This was an Abbey-style dubbel. It was a bit tart, fruit, and was not as thick as some dubbels. It had a hint of caramel, and was a malty, roasty beer. A bit red. It has a sweet finish.

Serpent’s Stout: I’ve had this one a few times, and it’s a good stout. It’s a double mash imperial stout, with an ABV of 11 percent. It’s bitter like espresso grounds, and tastes of vanilla, bourbon, and spices. It’s got a bit of heat, but is smooth.

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I also had some Wipeout IPA by Port Brewing. That’s a fruity, fresh, hoppy west coast IPA, 7 percent ABV, dry hopped with amarillo and centennial hops. To be honest, this is more my type of beer, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a decent appreciation for Belgian styles.

 

Back To The Bellows (Again)

Last time we were at The Bellows, I posted about a lovely Hangar 24 Essence IPA. We were back at Bellows again recently, and had a couple of more gems.

The first was the Avery IPA, a West Coast IPA with an abv of 7%. Avery is located in Colorado. Beer Advocate gives the Avery IPA an 87% (“very good”). It was hoppy and very floral, with a sharp bitterness. It came to our table with a big thick head.  The beer has a crisp and fresh feel overall.

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Next, we had a Serpent’s Stout, made locally by Lost Abbey (pictured above). You can’t usually go wrong with Lost Abbey; almost all of their beers are pretty amazing. At their inception, Lost Abbey tended to specialize in Belgian-style beers, though I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case any longer. I do have to say I appreciate a lot of their Belgian-style beers more. Serpent’s Stout was OK. It’s an 11% Imperial Stout. I could definitely perceive the alcohol flavor. The beer was malty, with coffee tones, thick lacing, thick head, rich texture, and a sort of metallic edge I could have done without. However, Beer Advocate considers it world class, so my opinion may be in the minority.