Who would have believed that celebrating Independence Day or July 4 would involve drinking US Beer? Chilli Dogs, Beef Brisket Sandwiches, Pulled Pork, Chilli Cheese Fries – yes – American beer, no. In the ’90s all I knew about American beer was bud lite or miller lite. Trips to the US in the ’90s, which involved bar vists meant endless glasses of gassy, watery beer which involved marathon drinking sessions that rarely meant getting pissed, but always meant going to the can. The baseball was no better, as you endured horrible beer at USD$6 a glass at an exchange rate of 50 cents.
How times have changed. The US is now such an amazing place for good beer and magazines like Beer Advocate articulate well the amazing variety. BotF’s mate well travelled mate Grimesy slipped in a couple examples of wonderful craft beer, and I took the opportunity to knock ’em off over the Independence Day weekend. Australian brewers are also being inspired by the extreme use of hops favoured by US brewers and are releasing one-offs to celebrate July 4.
Blue Frog Grog & Grill is a brew pub and restaurant in Fairfield, California. Red Frog Ale is one of 5 beers they now sell and they come in particularly attractive pint sized bottles. At 6.5%, a pint of the Red Frog does the trick. It is a particularly attractive deep red, with a long lazy bitey hoppy feel at the end. Very sessionable.
Bear Republic Brewing Co. very boldly state that they make the Best IPA in the USA. Their Racer 5 India Pale Ale is one of their flagship ales, and is widely available throughout the US. Their website boasts a list of draught beers a mile long. They have a brew-pub in the middle of Sonoma, and is probably where I would set up camp, if I was dragged on a winery tour. I was actually expecting this to be a real squinter, but whilst very hoppy, it wasn’t that intense. A pleasant experience nonetheless. Another fine bottle as well.
The hoppiest beer I had on the weekend was a Red, White and Blueberry Ale especially made by the Rocks Brewing Co for Hart Pub’s Independence Day celebration. This was a very creative beer, and the second time it’s been made. The purple colour is pretty impressive, the aromas are dominated by blueberry (not sweetly so) and the taste is almost sour (but not bad). I could only stay for one, but could’ve knocked this off all afternoon. Harts had a good day going with a very impressive Brisket Roll heading the food list.
So, not all American beer is like sex in a canoe.