Monday, July 15, 2013

Beer of the Week (Vol. CLXXXI)

Another edition of Beer of the Week sponsored as always by the heavenly folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help you find the wine, whiskey, and beer you need to reach the skies.

Before we get to our featured beer this week, allow me the opportunity for a brief, mild-mannered rant. It concerns the appeal that certain beers have outside of their distribution areas. It’s a takeoff on the old adage about absence making the heart grow founder. In this case, it’s more like not being able to get a particular beer makes peoples’ appreciation of and desire for said brew become wildly distorted.

Probably the most well know example of this is Coors. Believe or not, there actually was a time when Coors was not available throughout the United States and people clamored for it. Yes, they really did clamor for Coors and went to extreme lengths to try to get their hands on it. In fact, as Brian “Saint Paul” Ward recently reminded me, the plot of the original Smokey and the Bandit movie involved trying to get a truckload of Coors from Texas to Mississippi. Yes, the premise for a major motion picture revolved around breaking the law to drink Coors. Tell me again that the Seventies were not the nadir of America culture.

Another example of this wanting the beer that we can’t get also involved a Colorado brewery. Although it is widely distributed now, there was a time when New Belgium’s Fat Tire Amber Ale was not available in many parts of the country. Before I ever drained a single Fat Tire, I heard stories about this “awesome” beer from Colorado that people would make road trips specifically to procure. They would return with trunk loads of Fat Tire which they would then hoard like liquid gold. When I eventually did get a chance to drink Fat Tire on a trip to Colorado, I was not impressed. Really? This is the beer that you drove to Colorado for?

The latest example of this is much closer to home. New Glarus Brewing is a well-known Wisconsin craft brewer whose product is only available with the confines of the Dairy State. Now, I have nothing against New Glarus and in fact I have rather enjoyed some of their beers like Moon Man, Cracked Wheat, and a Imperial Weizen. Recently, I tried their Black Top Black IPA and found it quite good.

However, the one New Glarus beer that you hear the most about and the one that is the most pined for by those outside Wisconsin is a decent offering at best. Yes, I’m saying it: Spotted Cow is a vastly overrated beer. Sure the label is cute, but the beer ain’t all that. There are plenty of better farmhouse ales that are readily available on local shelves and I can’t understand why anyone would covet Spotted Cow. The only rational explanation is its exclusivity. So the in-state only approach that New Glarus has taken appears to be a wise strategy.

Okay, enough on that. Let’s get to this week’s beer. It’s Galactica IPA from Massachusetts’ Clown Shoes Beer.

Four-pack of 12oz bottles sells for $9.99. Label has green background with Loki-like clown shoe clad female figure in an interstellar setting. According to the label “Galactica, a hop staff wielding heroine patrols, in karate kick mode, throughout the heavens.” Appeals to beer and comic book geeks alike.



COLOR (0-2): Copper brown. 2

AROMA (0-2): Grapefruit and malty sweetness. 2

HEAD (0-2): White color, moderate volume, good lacing. 2

TASTE (0-5): While not as pronounced as some double IPAs, Galactica has a nice citrusy hop bite with a solid caramel malt backbone. Overall, the flavors are well balanced. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy and it has a medium body. You can feel some heat-not as much as you would expect given the ABV-, but the finish is smooth. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Rich and lasting. 2

OVERALL (0-6): Galactica is a not your typical imperial IPA. While there are a healthy dose of flavors powered by the Galaxy hops it’s balanced and nuanced with more of a malt presence that you would expect. This isn’t a hop bomb, but it’s a taste explosion none the less and quite delicious. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 16