So, I knew this whole parenting thing was going to impact my craft beer imbibing. What I didn’t realize was that the activity that would take the biggest hit would be my time on the ol’ blog. It’s one thing to find time to enjoy a beer, but getting the hour or two that it takes me to sit down and bang out 500 words, in between naps, changings and what I was sure was an Earth-ending plague (but my wife assures me is just a common cold), is proving to be one of my more difficult post-baby tasks. To illustrate, I started writing this post last Wednesday and it is now Sunday afternoon. The other interesting phenomenon that has developed in the seven weeks since Archer was born is the rapid change in my craft beer preference. An oak-aged, dry-hopped Imperial Belgian Kamut Red still sounds great, but who has the time? A nice crisp Alt, that I can enjoy between the above-mentioned naps, changings and Earth-ending plague – now that is something I can wrap my lips around. And with that beautiful image in mind, here are a few of my standout lighter brews of early 2012.
Widmer – W’12 Dark Saison
While Saisons are no longer the style of obscurity they were a few years back, it is still a rare occasion to find one in a six-pack. Great Divide’s Colette is the only one that jumps immediately to my sleep-deprived mind. So, props to Widmer for tackling the style with this year’s W-series brew. And a few more props for creating a tasty little beer in the process.
W’12 is clean and crisp, with the distinct spicy Saaz hops and phenolic French farmhouse yeast. The high percentage of wheat malt gives the beer a nice roundness, despite its dryness and low final gravity. The sprinkling of crystal and roasted malts not only adjust the color, but also flesh out the flavor with a hint of toasty sweetness.
Flat Tail – Tailgater Kolsch
What is the recipe for a tasty, authenic Kolsch? How about : Pilsner Malt + Wheat Malt + German hops + Decoction mash + Kolsch yeast + 1 month lagering = man-crush on Dave Marlaive.
Flat Tail’s Kolsch is a no-nonsense, by-the-books interpretation of the classic German style. Big grainy Pilsner aroma, sweet malty flavor and a crisp, clean finish. I still haven’t had the opportunity to take my Corvallis beer road trip, so it didn’t hurt my feeling one bit when my former employer started carrying this beer at the location down the street from my house for $3.39 a bomber.
Southern Oregon Brewing – Na Zdravi’ Pilsner
I haven’t been the biggest SOB fan, and this beer flew well-under my radar the first two times it was released. A friendly staffer at 16 Tons turned me onto Na Zdravi’ recently, which happens to be the Czech word for “Cheers”.
The beer is a fine balance of Bohemian malt and Saaz hops. Maybe a touch sweeter than necessary, but still a crisp and refreshing Czech Pils. The biggest complement I can give this beer is that it now has me wanting to give the rest of SOB’s offerings another go.
And speaking of going, the little monster has once again woken, so I’m going to need to wrap this up in a hurry. How about a hearty Na Zdravi’!