So I made it to the Green Flash tasting at Growler & Gill . . . despite a very minor bumper bender on the way home. I wasn’t driving, no one was hurt, no real damage (couldn’t see a mark on one of the three, and barely a mark on the one I was in). I may be coming down with something . . . it takes more than this to keep me away, and there were no fuel trucks this time.
There was a representative from Green Flash, and she was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Curiously, she poured all the selections from bottle even though some of them were on tap. So what was the lineup?
30th Street Pale Ale, one of the bi-monthly Hop Odyssey series that they have running this year. Yes, it’s a pale ale, but it’s a pale ale from a San Diego hophead brewery. It comes in at 40 or 50 IBU. Nice crisp flavor, medium body, somewhat “beery” nose, and maybe a hint of fruit.
West Coast IPA, their staple beer, a canonical west coast IPA. Actually didn’t taste hoppier than the pale ale, what comes through first, even on the nose, is a strong fruitiness. The hops snuck in on the finish.
Le Freak, a Belgian-style IPA. I think that’s a misnomer, because I’ve had Belgian ales with hops, but this is a serious IPA with Belgian overtones. In fact, it’s serious enough that the IBU is over 100 (on a scale of 0 to 100). However, what comes through first is a nice maltiness, and the bitterness is in balance. Good stuff, and I have a nice bomber in the fridge.
Black IPA, another in the Hop Odyssey series, rich and super dark with a spiciness and no question about the hops. Our presenter noted that a lot of black IPAs really don’t show their hop character, but this one does, and it’s about 80 IBU. I brought home a bomber of this, too.
With my light dinner (cheese & charcuterie) I had a Black IPA, so clearly I like it a lot. I also had a taste of one that I missed last week. That was a tasting of Anderson Valley, a brewery I had not heard of. There were still several on tap, and I tried the Wild Turkey Bourbon Aged Stout. It would be a tough call between that one and the Central Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout. This year, I might give the nod to Central Valley, but the G&G retail manager noted that Central Valley hit it big this year because they were able to get barrels from Heaven Hills Bourbon, very good stuff, but nobody knows what barrels they will be able to get next year. Anderson Valley has signed a multi-year deal with Wild Turkey, so their product should be more consistent from year to year. [I’ll have more Anderson Valley notes because I brought two kinds home with me.]
So, am I done with my Green Flash report? Not yet. I’m sitting here sipping a Green Flash Grand Cru. That one was neither on tap nor in the tasting, so I grabbed a bottle. As soon as I opened the bottle my nose sensed chocolate. It was more an impression than anything else, the nose of the ale is malty rather than chocolatey, though there is something going on, maybe a bit like Mexican chocolate or an herbal beverage. On the palette there’s a hint of coffee and and almost a liqueur . . . maybe like a Kahlua ale. As you may guess, this would go great with a mole sauce. Nice stuff.
A successful evening.