Beers I Have Known — Zero Gravity Craft Brewery Keller Dry-Hopped Lager

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

keller
If only I had that many! (Source)

I am a mediocre beer hunter. Much as I value expertly brewed concoctions, I am highly limited in my ability to keep all the revered and coveted craft beer offerings in my head so I can make expert selections at remote liquor stores. Confronted by walls of strangers, I grab with almost random recklessness, stocking up with no assurance that I’m doing so wisely. At any given point, I’m likely to pass up a true wonder while acquiring stock for the garage fridge that will be enjoyed but forgotten. But sometimes I get lucky.

I secured a few cans of Zero Gravity Craft Brewery’s Keller Dry-Hopped Lager on a road trip to New York earlier this year. I like dry-hopped beers, I like lagers, and a member of my household has caused me to be quite fond of the name Keller. And I was further enticed by the relatively frill-free packaging. While the theory doesn’t always hold, I’ve often found that the breweries that aren’t preoccupied with busy labels or given to elaborate, pun-peppered names are instead focused on making fine beer. In this instance, the guideline worked marvelous.

Tonight, I drank my last can, imbibing over the grill in what could very well be the last throes of warmer weather. It was like a summer romance coming to an end, inspiring instant nostalgia. My, it was nice.

 

Beers I Have Known — Bad Weather Brewing Company Munich Helles

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

bad weather

I’ve previously acknowledged the unique prominence of Minnesota’s Bad Weather Brewing Company in my personal collection of favored purveyors of brewed beverages. Tonight, I was lucky enough to sample a wide array of their offerings, including the exemplary Munich Helles lager, all accompanied by a V.I.P. treatment that left me feeling honored and joyful. Truthfully, I can’t elaborate much further without lapsing into overly rhapsodic sentimentality, so I’ll essentially leave it at that, adding only that I’m proud as can be to officially and unreservedly list the brewery among my absolute favorites.

 

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Beers I Have Known” tag.

Beers I Have Known — Brewery Ommegang Neon Rainbows

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

neon

I stood outside Brewery Ommegang in a steady rain and it was perfect. I’ve mostly outgrown the college bar table game of authoritatively rattling off the list of artists that I long to witness in a live performance, constantly curating a concert wish list. Even so, there are unseen acts that tug at me, often because of parallel lines of earnest fandom and missed opportunities. So it was of some personal import when I joined countless others braving a chilly, wet night to convene in a craft brewery’s vast field — growing muddier by the second — and watch Jack White put on a show.

Truthfully, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for this long-awaited show. The vast outdoors of the countryside was the only environment large enough to safely accommodate the booming majesty of White and his band, and even the precipitation felt just right, creating one more sheen of texture against the flashing blue lights favorited by White on this tour. And the brewery’s official address in Cooperstown, New York — best known as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame — fed right into White’s romanticism for a bygone brand of Americana. At the end of the show, fireworks burst across the sky.

As our arrival at Brewery Ommegang neared, I realized that I couldn’t name a favorite beer they offered. I’ve liked Ommegang for quite some time, but nothing quite locked in as the one I’d eagerly order up if I saw it on a draft list. (The situation is complicated and compounded the exhausting number of beers themed to Game of Thrones that the brewer has offered over the years, which eventually caused me to instinctively tune them out because it all exceeded my ability to keep proper track.) That dilemma has now been erased.

Neon Rainbows, a delectable New England IPA, was in my hands as White’s first guitar chords rattled the darkening night. As I noted, everything was perfect.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Beers I Have Known” tag.

Beers I Have Known — Half Acre Beer Company Daisy Cutter Pale Ale

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

daisy cutter

In my neck of the nation, we’re accustomed to winter holding on with a fierce tenacity. This year has delivered a strange and unique experience as frigid temperatures and hefty snowstorms hung around so long that they seemed to basically crowd out the entire season of spring. Not long after the middle of the state was hit by a historic blizzard, the thermometer spiked upward. Now, in the beginning of May, it feels like the height of summer.

And the shift in the weather means a shift in the chilly brews pulled out of the fridge. I will admit my choice for the beer that tastes best when sipped under the high sun changes with the fickleness of schoolyard crushes. It’s early, of course, but oddsmakers should put even money on this year belonging to Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, one of the chief offerings of Chicago’s Half Acre Beer Company. Crisp, lovely, and dense with flavor, it’s near-perfection in a can.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Beers I Have Known” tag.

Beers I Have Known — NOLA Brewing Company Revivalists American Pale Ale

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

nola ale

It is probably beyond my command of words — regardless of where I consider it to be, at any given moment, on the spectrum between erudite and inept — to convey the sway over me that is held by the city of New Orleans. My adoration is informed by my exposure to its ramshackle, freewheeling culture, informed by hedonistic impulses. But it’s also because I’ve seen the city when it was desperate close to its lowest point. At that time, I witnessed its enduring grace, which somehow felt like it represented the beautifully foolhardy perseverance of all of humanity, absolutely refusing to give up, no matter how emphatically the universe insisted it was the proper course of action.

And the beer’s good, too.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Beers I Have Known” tag.

Beers I Have Known — Highland Brewing Cold Mountain

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

cold mountain

I’m now two years removed from residency in the picturesque mountain burg of Asheville, North Carolina. The span of time gives me enough data points to state with confidence that I never feel quite so homesick for Beer City U.S.A. as during Cold Mountain season.

Cold Mountain is a spiced winter ale offered by Highland Brewing, the pioneering craft brewer in a city that has now exploded with modest, innovative competitors. The beer typically made its yearly bow in mid-November, lasting in various venues across the area for a good couple of months. It is so coveted that impromptu online tools emerge just to track its availability. Once, at a time of particular scarcity during the season, one of those feeds alerted us to the opening of a Cold Mountain tap line at a dive bar we usually didn’t frequent (mostly because of their tenuous grasp of what items should be burned to generate heat). We wound up enjoying the the most perfectly chilled glass of the ale we ever had.

These days, I don’t crave Cold Mountain. If I were to make a list of North Carolina beers I wish I could make magically appear in my fridge, Cold Mountain likely wouldn’t even crack the top ten. Even so, the beer represents a certain time and place for me, stirring up the warmest of memories. It’s one of the beers that feels like home, or at least one of my homes.