Postcard from the Floor

Thursday. Still another day to go this week.

Relief was necessary; liquid relief. A bomber. Initial thoughts were for the Brewdog Hardcore IPA, an “explicit imperial ale” at 9.2% abv. Discovered in a Stop n’ Shop up in Stratham, where I also discovered the magical “mix-your-own” six pack. Lovely. But Brewdog? Not tonight. Something else.

Ah. One of the Syracuse discoveries. Purchased at Wegmans, though I have seen it here since: Breckenridge Brewery 417 Small Batch IPA. Another imperial. Another 9.2%. Screened on label, like Stone Brewing; will make a lovely drinking glass, if I ever get around to it. The trick is to used painted/screened labels, as paper labels would wash off. Pop the Breckenridge cap, lots of carbonation. Worried the top might explode, as a homebrew bottle once did. It was a jalepeño lager. Left to their own devices, they constantly ferment, and can become shrapnel bombs. The top literally exploded off of the bottle as I cracked the seal, releasing a geyser of peppery beer foam. Fortunately, the cap and glass ring flew the opposite direction. Treat the rest as explosive material, and dispose of carefully. The Breckenridge didn’t explode, it just had lots of carbonation. Still, the concern was there.

Breckenridge pours clear, and amber orange. No cloudiness. Good head, though evaporates quickly. Stinging bubbles, lots of carbonic bite. Large pour, putting the newly-acquired Throwback 21.5oz pub glass to work for only the second time in its life. It’s a big glass kind of night. The brew noses apple tart, with a bit of fruit sweetness. Still, tartness is predominant – there’s a greenness in there. Somewhere in between the English bitter and the West Coast sweet. It has a snap, but not too harsh. Apple, apple, apple, and a little malt finish if you try hard and wait for it.

To taste: heft the glass, tip to the mouth, inhaling all the way. Bang… carbonation, then quickly to hop bitter tart. A touch of malt swooshes in from the left flank and, in a swallow, all is gone. The hop stays around for a minute to erase all traces of sweetness until it too evaporates. Almost a hotness to it… that would be the alcohol. It is easily lost in the flavor pool, but here it is, sneaking up uninvited, but not unwanted. The glass doesn’t hold the entire bomber, so a top-up is called for after some time spent with the couch, watching School Ties and wondering what the big deal is. He’s Jewish, the big secret got out, Matt Damon is a douche, and Ben Affleck, as usual, lurks in the background adding nothing.

Standing with the intent to refill reveals wobbly legs. Not bad, just unexpected. A BeerAdvocate search reveals the reason, and brings the 9.2% abv fact to light. The bottle said nothing of “imperial” status, or other such buzz words hinting at the octane of its contents. “Double hopped” rings the “IPA” stamp, the only clue to the powerful nectar within.

Still, a good beer to finally put this day down. Not the best, but it put up a good fight.

Breckenridge Brewery 471 Small Batch [Imperial] IPA. Go grab one.

This one is mine. You can’t have it.

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