Delicious Rictus: Summer Beer Review
Well folks, summer is FINALLY here and that means farmers markets, grilling, boating, and drinking on the patio. I love this time of year for beer- session IPAs, refreshing Hefeweizens, and tangy sours start rolling out. Oh, and how could I forget, outdoor beer fests are upon us!!! My May beer fest of the month was Bacon and Barrels in San Diego. Don’t worry, I’ve already put in an official bid for Madison as a site change for B&B 2017. People there were surprised I traveled all the way from Wisconsin for the event, but they clearly don’t understand Wisconsinites. There are few distances I wouldn’t travel to eat bacon and drink whiskey and beer all day. This was my first trip to SD and it did not disappoint. In 48 hours I visited Coronado, Ballast Point, AleSmith, Green Flash, Half Door, Modern Times, Mission, Stone, and Karl Strauss. These stops were of course on top of the B&B fest, a Padres game (18 stadiums down!), partying on the ocean front, losing my phone, locating my phone, and finding the only bartender in San Diego that doesn’t think a side of beer with your Bloody Mary is crazy talk. I could go on for hours about all the fantastic food and beer, but my highlights were as followed (for all of you out there that are part of a beer trade):
Any sour from BarrelHouse Brewing Co, especially Helena and Othello
Plenty For All Pils by Fall Brewing Co
City of the Dead Export Stout by Modern Times
IPA collab between AleSmith and Mikkeller
San Diego introduced me to some great new beers, but more importantly the perfect weather got me excited for Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial beginning of summer. It also got me thinking about the breweries around town and the awesome summer sippers they are rolling into stores. No beer is more quintessential Madison then Hopalicious. I’ve had few Ale Asylum beers that I don’t like and that’s probably why they keep expanding like there’s no tomorrow. They just celebrated their 10th anniversary with happy hour specials all day and $2 Hopalicious, it was a fantastic party. I mean, how many people can say they were in a 94 person simultaneous beer shotgun? I’ll tell you- me and 93 other people. One of the new summer taps is Rictus Grin, a Belgium pale ale. Bottling is finally finished and it’s in stores as of this past week. Rictus Grin has a hazy golden color with a clean, refreshing finish. It’s well balanced, not overly hoppy like some Ale Asylum beers, and not overly spicy like other Belgiums. It has an easy drinking light-medium body with a slight fruit note to balance all the flavors. I don’t know many people who would call a 6% beer “sessionable”, but I’m going for it! Hey, we’re in Wisconsin, brandy goes down like water in this state. This beer has such an easy-drinking quality, that your non-IPA drinking friends who don’t think they like Ale Asylum will dig it. And unlike many other summer beers on the market, Rictus brings people together. No more fighting about what beers go into the cooler. NO MORE! This beer can make IPA/pale ale/Belgium/lager drinkers be as one in the sun. Of course, if you’re looking to go the Hefeweizen or straight-up IPA route, this will not suite. Look instead for Ale Asylum’s Unshadowed, Demento, or Hopalicious. New Glarus also has a new summer release called Bubbler. A 100% naturally carbonated Hefeweiss that is on shelves now across the state. Rictus Grin: Belgium Pale Ale, available on tap and now in stores ABV 6% Rating: 3.75 old, old wooden ships (out of 5) You stay classy San Diego.