Terre Haute Living January/February 2019 - Page 10

UP FRONT columns BEER F(L)IGHT! BILL RILEY Ready to shake up your selection? A list of ‘weird beer’ — conversation starters you can find in Terre Haute I t’s resolution time, which for many of us means it’s time to strive to break all the bad habits we’ve formed over the last year, or in some cases, a lifetime. Little behav- iors have become big behaviors, and it’s time to change our ways. Resolutions are often about health or wealth, love or family. At least, on the surface. In the end, all of my resolutions end up about exploration. How can I get out of a rut? What haven’t I tried that might make my life more interesting? How can I squeeze more out of my life? When we think about resolution-worthy events in life, it might seem silly to also think about beer. But think about this: If you were invited to a gourmet meal and they served you tap water, you’d start to wonder. Is this meal really gourmet? Is this really the experience I thought it was? I view beer, in some ways, as the soundtrack to my life. I take care to curate my beer fridge for all occasions. I have some bombers of single-run beers for special occasions. I have High Life for a treat after mowing the lawn. I have my closest friends’ favorite beer, in case they drop by. This begs the question: What are you missing out on if you’re in a beer rut? Probably nothing of substance, to be honest. Drink what you like, of course. But, we have more options than ever before. I think it means something — to me, to others — when I am intentional about all of my choices. That, for me, extends to beer. So, are you ready for your resolution? Are you ready to shake up your selection and move past the grocery store brands? Here’s a list of what I’m calling “weird beer” — conversation starters that you can find right here in Terre Haute. Caution: They’re not all good. We’ll start with my favorite and go to my least favorite. It’s 2019. Resolve to get weird. Upland Brewing Prim: If you’re resolving to drink better beer in 2019, hurry out and pick up a few bottles of Prim. Bourbon & Canal on the east side had it in stock, but most liquor stores will carry Upland’s sour bombers. Upland is nationally known for their sours, and this barrel-aged offering is a real treat. Layers of oak, cardamom, and even a bit of cinnamon give a new experience with every sip and com- plement the bold plum flavors. Don’t be put off by this pinkish-purple brew — it’s world-class. TRVE Brewing Cursed: Another sour, but this one also goes beyond tart. It’s a sour pale ale, which can read as a bit of an oxymoron. The pale ale comes in through the aroma, which has a nice hop dankness. Sipping this undercuts that aroma, though, with bold yeast and lemon flavors. This Colorado-based beer has traveled well. Dogfish Head Mixed Media: You’ve heard of near-beer, but this is near-wine. Billed as the closest thing an ale can legally be to wine, Mixed Media boasts 51% of its fermentable sugars from Viognier grapes. If you’re serving a meal that would normally call for a dry white wine, consider this funky offering from Dogfish Head — one that bursts with Belgian yeast flavors. OddSide Brewing Raspberry Peach Fruitsicle: Even if you think of Michigan as our hat, it’s hard not to find value in their beer. Grand Haven’s OddSide is a beer-award factory, and Raspberry Peach Fruitsicle is a fine example of the fun smoothie-style fruit beers that many craft breweries are producing right now. (Look at Columbus, IN’s 450 North for more of this style.) The addition of lactose makes this drink like a smoothie, but I found myself wanting a bit more thickness, creaminess, and general milk flavors. Instead, this one was a bit think on the mouthfeel, like a gose. Still, a nice beer to shake things up. Short’s Brewing Mule Beer: When I’m not drinking beer, I’m either drinking an Old Fash- ioned or a Dark and Stormy — a simple cocktail with spiced dark rum, ginger beer, and lime. While many malt beverage companies have produced cocktails in a can — including a Dark and Stormy — I haven’t yet had an actual beer that can reproduce the burn and tart of this Caribbean delight. Enter Michigan’s Short’s. This beer is so spot on to the cocktail that it’s hard to believe it’s a blonde ale with lime and ginger added. BrewDog Pina Playa: Gose styles are be- coming more popular, especially in the summer months, because their tart and salt flavors can be quite refreshing. This take on a gose left me wanting a bit more of those flavors, but the co- 10 Terre Haute Living • January/February 2019 conut cut through those flavors a bit too much. Still, it’s crisp and finishes nicely — it’s one I’d drink again. Tallgrass Brewing Raspberry Jam: Don’t be put off by the raspberry here if you’re trying to avoid a pink beer. Yes, this one is packed with raspberry and is more fruity than sour. However, I think Tallgrass has stayed true to the Berliner Weisse style here and the wheat flavors come right through. This is more complex than the fruit would have you first believe. Luponic Distortion: IPA Series #10: Here’s a problem with series beers: If they’re IPAs, you have to buy them right away. The tenth edition of Firestone Walker’s Luponic Distortion series promises peach ring and mango creamsicle, but by the time I plucked this one off the shelf, the hop profile was all gone. Since many of the citrus notes are meant to come from the hops, all that I was left with was a slightly sweet beer with a touch of mango and cream. 10 Barrel Raspberry Sour Crush: All you need to know about small breweries that were bought by InBev: I tweeted a review of this one, saying it seemed too sweet to be a true sour beer, and that I thought it tasted like a sparkling wine cooler. 10 Barrel liked that tweet. Go for something else. Bill Riley is a writer and a professor at St. Mary-of-the-Woods Col- lege. His book, The Milan Miracle: The Town That Hoosiers Left Behind is out now from Indiana University Press. Find it on Amazon and tweet him about it or beer at @billplusbeard. tribstar.com/terrehauteliving