PulseBrew: Timeless Classics
It seems every week a new beer is released, and it’s the latest and greatest. It might be finished with the newest experimental hop, aged in a barrel that once contained a spirt of some sort or is remarkable in some way. There was a time when all craft beer was remarkable. Here are a few pioneers of the craft beer movement and their beers that have stood the test of time. Cheers!
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (5.6% ABV)
This beer has been around since the ’80s. This is the same recipe, and I tip my hat to the folks out there in Chico, Calif., for staying true and dancing with the girl that brought them here. It pours a familiar amber color with a two-fingered white head that sticks around and also sticks to the side of the glass. Citrus and pine are the primary hop aromas, along with a sweet malt backbone. If I had to describe this beer in one word, it would be “balance.” It tastes of bready malt and muted grapefruit and pine undertones. It gives slightly bitter kick at the end to let you know it was there. This is an old favorite that is in many places on tap and waiting for you in a package store nearby.
North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout (9.0% ABV)
Back in the day, this was many people’s first stout not named Guinness. It pours a deep, dark black with a small, persistent head. It smells of primarily coffee and chocolate. It tastes as it smells, but it has a thick, rich mouthfeel missing from many stouts. It has a creaminess not often seen in stouts that are not poured from a nitro tap. It is a filling, almost chewy, experience. If you would like a history lesson, Google Rasputin, the man for whom this beer was named.
Dog Fish Head 60 Minute IPA (6.0% ABV)
This IPA got its name from the 60 minutes that the wort is boiled. It is continuously hopped, meaning it gets 60 separate hop additions. It pours a pale yellow with a soft, white, pillowy head. It tastes of pine and citrus, with a slightly sweet bread-like malt backbone. This is a nice classic version of an American IPA, using the same recipe as it has since it was introduced.
Wachusett Nut Brown Ale (5.2% ABV)
There was a time when super hoppy IPAs and barrel-aged imperial stouts were not nearly as common as nut brown ales. Brown ales are an excellent way to take a break from the currently popular styles. They are not overly hoppy, nor are they high in alcohol. This offering pours a deep brown with ruby highlights. The head is a sticky foam that does not want to leave your glass. It smells of chocolate and hazelnuts. It tastes as it smells, with just a hint of hops – at the beginning. This beer changes drastically as it warms. I found it became sweeter, and coffee notes were introduced as time passed. Enjoy it over 30 minutes for the full effect.
Saison Dupont (6.5% ABV)
Saisons, or farmhouse ales as they are sometimes called, are one of the most sought-after current styles. Saison Dupont is the one that the others should be compared to. It pours a hazy yellow with a white head that stays put. It smells of spicy hops, lemon, pepper, bread and even grass, depending at what temperature it is served. It tastes as it smells, yet seems to offer a new sensation at every sip as it warms. This is one of my favorite beers to woo wine drinkers over to craft beer.
By Kerry Cyganiewicz