Peaks and Pints thinks “drinkability” is a perfectly decent, useful word. Yes, drinkability is one of those words that some people dislike, along with “refreshing,” “smooth” and “creamy.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with aiming to brew high quality and drinkable beer. There are many craft breweries that seek to create balanced, drinkable beers that aren’t hop bombs. Our flight today is all about complex and delicious, easy-drinking American craft beers. Enjoy Craft beer Crosscut 8.28.17: A Fight of Drinkability.
Evil Twin Sour Bikini
Throw on a bikini top, drop the beads around your neck and toss back Evil Twin‘s cross between a hop cone and a lemon. The aromatics are a truly beautiful blend of straight-up citrus, primarily lemon and tangerine, backed up by very fresh, green, grassiness. Sour Bikini tastes, in the most marvelous way, like Tang gone tipsy, or perhaps liquid Flintstones vitamins for the beer-drinking set. Low in alcohol, spritzy, tart, refreshing, citrusy and chuggable, it’s suited for IPA die-hards looking to escape a bitter rut, or intrepid drinkers eager to explore the sour waters, an accomplice to good times as endless as summer sunshine.
Founders Green Zebra
4.6% ABV, 10 IBU
Founders Brewing Co.’s award-winning stouts and IPAs watched in horror as the Grand Rapids, Michigan brewery brewed a watermelon gose. (Insert record scratch.) It took a year’s worth of test batches, but Founders Green Zebra is a thing — a tasty thing. There’s sweet, juicy watermelon flavor up front — real watermelon, not Jolly Rancher watermelon — and a tart, slightly salty finish. At 4.6% ABV and 10 IBUs, the Zebra is a crisp, easy drinking beer for late summer.
Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale
5.5% ABV, 28 IBU
T’was 24 years ago that Adam Avery (blessed be his name), smiled upon Boulder, Colorado and the world at large by opening Avery Brewing, which begat White Rascal Ale, which begat Out of Bounds Stout, which begat Ellie’s Brown Ale. This beautiful, deep russet brew has the sweet and somewhat nutty character of Avery’s late (1992-2002) Chocolate Lab, for which it is named. Avery adds Cluster hops at the beginning of the 60 minute boil primarily to add bitterness. Cascade and Fuggles hops are added at the middle and end of the boil respectively for their aromatic contributions. Ellie’s Brown has a rich maltiness with a complex caramel and roasted combination in the flavor profile for a lovely, balanced beer. Overall, a flavorful and sweet brown ale, almost too much so for an English Brown — more of an American Brown in flavor and English brown in its malty balance.
7 Seas Rude Parrot IPA
5.9% ABV, 75 IBU
7 Seas Brewing’s Rude Parrot IPA has become one of the more reliable low ABV, well-balanced IPAs in the Northwest. Brewed with Vienna, light Crystal, and a touch of Honey malt, this golden hued IPA is aggressively hopped with Simcoe and Citra hops. Checks all the boxes you’d expect from an IPA with pine and citrus notes in both the smell and taste. Taste is rich and full with sharp orange rind and grapefruit followed by a minty coolness and an off dry, pleasantly bitter finish. It’s an everyday IPA, especially if a barbecue is present.
Stillwater On Fleek
13% ABV, 50 IBU
Vermont brewery Casita Cerveceria traveled to Baltimore, Maryland to brew this black as night imperial stout at Stillwater Artisanal. Oh, but it doesn’t smell like motor oil but instead coffee, burnt toast, dark chocolate and a little marshmallow, all woven between strong alcohol tones. We placed this delicious treat at the end of the flight as it warms complex licorice, bold earthy bitterness, chocolate, earthy vanilla, faint smoke and caramel fudge come forth. It finishes long with an intense and heavy mouthfeel — almost like a milkshake — slightly vinous for the style, with a smooth but firm alcohol warmth. There’s enough carbonation to push the beer along and make it dangerously, DANGEROUSLY drinkable for 13 percent.