Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 1.24.17: A flight of tropical paradise

Ron Swarner

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Remember when you knew how to relax? It was probably before you had an iPhone, before you had kids, before you had a job that demanded 70 hours a week — plus weekends. Relaxation, we’re afraid, is a dying art (especially this time of year). That’s why we offer a five craft beer flight of tropical chill today. So pawn the kids off on Grandma, put your phone down, and get ready to swallow one seriously giant chill pill. Step one: Deep breath, South Sound. Step two: Grab today’s Craft Beer Crosscut sample flight of tropical-themed brews intended to give you a psychological relief from the chill of winter by providing the impression of warmer climes.

Green-Flash-Passion-Fruit-KickerGreen Flash Passion Fruit Kicker

5.5% ABV, 5 IBUs

Despite being well known throughout the world for making great hoppy beers, the Lupulin-obsessed brewers at Green Flash feel the need to keep pushing the envelope rather than resting on their green, leafy laurels. Enter Passion Fruit Kicker, an India pale ale brewed with wheat malt, 2-row malted barley and dry-hopped with experimental hop cultivars so even the brewers aren’t sure how it’ll turn out. And here’s the kicker: the beer is aged in oak barrels and has tart, tangy passion fruit added to the mix for an escapism IPA unlike any other.

Urban Family Mangifera

4.5% ABV

It’s our guess the Urban Family folks take break walks around the Magnolia neighborhood loop, stopping on the southwest side to stare off into the Pacific Ocean. Those moments of Zen must be the inspiration for the Magnolia, Seattle brewery’s decision to brew a mango sour. The French and Belgian farmhouse-forward thinkers have a real tropical treat in their Mangifera — a lovely balance of mango and Citra hops. Sweet and tart and tasty.

Avery-Lilikoi-KepoloAvery Liliko’i Kepolo

5.4% ABV, 10 IBUs

The Liliko’i Kepolo (hard to say, easy to drink) from Avery Brewing is an unexpected delight! We don’t typically expect witbiers to be this interesting, original or surprisingly tart. It looks like your average Wit, with minimal, fine white foam over a hazy straw body, but lean in for a whiff and up wafts strong passion fruit, a little citrus and banana, coriander, and some creamy wheat malts. To taste, there’s an underlying spice throughout, but it starts off with a tart, citrusy bite, possibly due to the Bravo and Sterling hops. The passionfruit is evident, though not as heavy as on the nose, and the fuzzy mouthfeel reminds us of biting into a peach. The Liliko’i is a delicious, fun, and unique diversion from a Tuesday in January.

Maui-Brewing-Coconut-Hiwa-PorterMaui Brewing Coconut Hiwa Porter

6% ABV, 30 IBUs

Brewed with hand-toasted coconut and six varieties of malted barley, Maui Brewing‘s Coconut Hiwa Porter is a very dark, almost impenetrable, black coffee color. The aroma recalls baked coconut macaroons or, on the other end of the spectrum, coconut suntan lotion. The coconut flavor is present, but not overwhelming in the mouth, along with other roasted earthy lactose flavors.

Port-Brewing-Shark-Attack-Double-Red-AlePort Brewing Shark Attack Double Red Ale

9% ABV, 70 IBUs

OK, this is what we in the beer blogosphere call a streeeetccch. There’s always a shark attack that ends your tropical vacation, right? Anyhoo, what started as (and still is) a small pizza chain is now a full-fledged and high-quality craft brewery — Port Brewing Company. The San Diego County brewery is also responsible for the Lost Abbey line; Shark Attack Red is their imperial red ale. It’s wonderfully rich and balanced by intense hopping, with a big bite of citrusy and piny hops.

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