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Friday, May 8, 2020
THE BREWSPAPER / (TASTING) NOTES FROM THE APOCALYPSE
GUEST BLOG / By Ian Cheesman, Contributing Writer, Westcoastersd.com.
I think it was Week 246 of quarantine when Savagewood Brewing Company contacted me for help. Time has lost a lot of meaning of late. They, like so many other breweries, were launching an online store in an effort to stay afloat during these tumultuous times and needed descriptive blurbs for their beer to populate it.
This was exciting for me. There are very few crisis scenarios where a beer writer can attain the rank of Essential Worker. Yearning for a slice of that heroism, I enthusiastically accepted and set to work.
There was one slight hitch though. I’ve come to learn that captivity does funny things to a creative mind. The line between inspired prose and the ramblings of a solitude-addled brain started to blur. The following is what I delivered.
This crisp, easy-drinking lager harkens a return to a simpler time. A time when men were men, boys were men, women were men, and so forth. It was 3.5 billion years ago after all and protocellular life replicated via binary fission, so gender wasn’t really a thing yet. A simpler time.
Whenever we yearn for those halcyon days, we tip back a Hometown Lager. Its bounty of husky cereal grains with hints of freshly squeezed lemon and primordial soup delivers in all the ways you want a lawnmower beer to. It finishes earthy, dry, with a soupçon of citrusy vibrance. It pairs great with BBQ or abiogenesis.
Millionaire in Training (Session IPA)
Not all of us can be millionaires and that’s okay. The fleeting joys of financial excess have never been a pathway to real contentment anyway. That’s why we made this low carb/calorie beer as a reminder that true happiness doesn’t stem from the superficialities of material wealth, but rather how attractive you are.
With only 4g of carbs and 120 calories per 12 oz serving, this fruit and pine-forward IPA is perfect for low carb diets such as Keto, Intermittent Fasting routines, counting calories, or any other form of making sustenance your ultimate nemesis. Millionaire In Training is basically liposuction in a can! Wait, no, that sounds disgusting. Bad analogy there. These cans are definitely filled with (delicious!) beer, we swear.
Canadian Cowboy (Imperial Stout)
This beer carries on the proud spirit of Rory Gagnon, once revered as the politest cowboy in the Yukon. His reputation was built on simple gestures, like always saying “Thank you” after rustling cattle and never failing to tip generously at the town whorehouse. He died as he lived, killed in a duel where it seemed rude to draw first.
This tribute stout reminds of roasty frontier coffee sweetened with a decadent swirl of pure maple syrup in a mug rimmed with Cheerio dust – just like the cowboys drank it.
Penny Savage (Berliner Weisse)
Fun fact: Penny Savage was named after the grandmother of famed wrestler Randy “Macho Man” Savage. After he lost his own mother in a tragic drive-by suplexing, Penny assumed the role of matriarch, sewing the decorative fringe on Randy’s school uniform and teaching him to mind his Pleases and OH YEAAAHHHHs.
Our Penny Savage has all the vibrancy of sequined leopard-print speedo. Its measured lactic nip gives way to bright lemons, apricots, plum, and a resonant, but moderated tartness. It not only quenches your thirst, but it also destroys it with a flying elbow drop off the top turnbuckle.
I Get Around (IPA)
This IPA summons a beguiling nose of white peach, pear, and stone fruit. This is playfully accented by a soft palate of fruit cocktail and Juicy Fruit gum countered by a lean, but resonant piney bitterness. The finish is balanced, with a hint of lychee lurking around the margins. This IPA also is notorious for having a ton of sex, but that’s really none of our business. We don’t slut-shame around these parts.
“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” When supermodel Kelly LeBrock uttered this iconic phrase in deference to the transformative powers of Pantene shampoo back in 1986, the world was stupefied. It was hard to say what was more galling – the idea that a genetic outlier such as LeBrock owed her stunning features to a commodity shampoo or that we all personally loathed her possession of them. Suffice to say, her beauty was no reason to think ill of her. More sensible minds reserved that for her decision to later marry human oil slick/Aikido-booster Steven Seagal. Like….ew.
Still, the phrase resonated and for good reason. Humans are a simple, covetous bunch and we all know it. So when we say San Diego is “America’s Finest City”, a backlash is understandable. Especially when you consider that backlash is coming from a bunch of janky, weather-having Nobody cities that can’t hold a candle to us. Haters gonna hate.
So, yeah, we pay a Sunshine Tax. And how appropriate that this eponymous beer echoes the same balance of slightly more bitter than sweet to that transaction. Yet, you’ll hear no complaints from us. That juicy orange wedge and delicate pear note is stunning enough to endure a little pine resin and grapefruit rind. Don’t hate it because it’s delicious.
Amber Ale (No spoilers this time. You guess the style!)
Amber means many things to different people. For scriptwriters, it represents a vehicle to reincarnate an entire population of dinosaurs. For paleontologists, it represents a vehicle to pretend they could actually reincarnate dinosaurs just so they can recruit more paleontologists. For 311, it is likely the color of your energy, wooooaaaa-ooooh. For us, it is a simple, yet elegant showcase for cereal-forward malts and a light dusting of earthy hops to balance it out.
The Red Delicious apple notes of our Amber Ale pair perfectly with nu metal-infused reggae funk rap alterna-rock, tenderly whisking bits of earth off a Piatnitzkysaurus femur, or basically anything else. It’s so good you might even say “Wooooaaaa-ooooh!” But probably not. That would be really weird.
Raspberry Hard Seltzer (Hard Seltzer)
In a world rife with lackluster, anemic seltzers, we offer a bright, piquant, and satisfying alternative. How do we do it? Our secret ingredient…is love. Every single bubble of carbonation is hand-sculpted and tenderly placed in solution. Our raspberries are not harvested until they’ve completed one summer abroad in Paris and had a chance to leisurely sip espresso in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe. Sure, there are less expensive ways to make a hard seltzer, but we think it’s worth it. We think YOU’RE worth it, mon ami.
Boombox Serenade (IPA)
John Cusack’s iconic turn as Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything taught us so many things. Never judge a book by its cover. Love conquers all. Most of all, never allow rejection to keep you showing up on the property of your former paramore at dawn to loudly woo them with worldbeat-laden soft rock because their father is probably embezzling the elderly under his care and it will all work out when he goes to jail.
Some timeless lessons are more specific than others.
Similar to Lloyd’s wholesale rejection of boundaries, this beer happily bucks west coast tradition with a supple and delicate expression of hops. Its aromas of peach and mango ring out like the impassioned pleas of Peter Gabriel. A delicate, pillowy mouthfeel seduces your palate, while tenderly embracing it with notes of syrupy fruit cocktail, pear, and the faintest ruby red grapefruit bitterness. It is an unconventional love song to IPAs, offering as much aspiration and hope as 8 “D” batteries can muster.
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