Your Mind Will Be 3x Hazy

Though the labels are touch on the neon garish side for me, the beers in this new variety pack from Firestone Walker look intriguing. Hopical Crush would be the first one that I would crack open.

Mind Haze “Tiki Smash” IPA

Tiki Smash IPA delivers a tiki-inspired flavor combination born of pure hops and freshly toasted coconut. Original Mind Haze hops including Azacca are now joined by Motueka and Sabro hops. The Azacca portion has been increased to amplify the sense of pineapple tropical character, while Sabro delivers its complementary coconut qualities. “We use an elaborate system to introduce freshly toasted coconut for a smooth, subtle extraction,” Brynildson said. “The resulting beer showcases the special synergy of natural coconut with the tropical hop flavors of Mind Haze.”

Mind Haze “Hopical Crush” IPA

Hopical Crush IPA delivers a double-dry hopped explosion of tropical Mai Tai-inspired flavors, including pineapple and orange. This copiously hopped beer begins by accentuating the original Mind Haze hop blend with the Strata cultivar, which offers up bold pungent fruit and a touch of dank cannabis-like character. The beer is then double dry hopped with twice the amount of hops than usual—ultimately totaling more than five pounds of hops per barrel. The resulting beer exhibits massive flavors that will have you dreaming of Mai Tais on a faraway island.

Mind Haze “Citrus Cyclone” IPA

Citrus Cyclone IPA delivers a head-spinning taste of all the citrus flavors under the sun, finished with a kiss of real tangerine. The base beer is co-fermented with fresh California tangerines. This base is blended back with a separate lot of dry-hopped Mind Haze, then finished off with a final dash of tangerine to elevate the citrusy top note. Along the way, the Mandarina hop adds a distinctive orange character. The result is a remarkably refreshing Mind Haze experience.

Boont Branding

This year Anchor Brewing unveiled a re-branding that didn’t pass muster in many people’s opinion and now another heritage NorCal brewery has done it, but I think that most people will be absolutely fine with the Anderson Valley design changes….

I think the antlered bear is playful and Pixar-ish and I like the forested landscape at the bottom of the label. Having chunks of educational material on either side works for me too. The only mid-step (and it is slight) is the font of the brewery name on the blue banner. I think it is a little plain to my eyes.

This refresh along with plans for a destination taproom shows, to me, that this brewery is giving a good effort to change with the times.

Just Stop

OK, Miller Coors. We get it. You know how to extend a brand. Now stop. I have not purchased your original Redd’s Apple Ale. Nor have I bought the Green Apple Ale or what I can only imagine is sweet as sugar Strawberry Ale.

So no, I will not be getting your seasonal Redd’s Blueberry Ale which is on shelves now, which sounds like some anti-oxidant juice bar blend of apple and blueberry flavors.

I am not going to try all 900 new flavors of Oreo’s nor will I see the hundreds of superhero sequels just because you make them. There has to be a reason that is more than just, “well the last one sold well.”
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The Firkin for September 2014

It was right after the pumpkin spice potato chips. Or was it after the (quite possibly fake) pumpkin spice flavored/scented condoms? Either way the pumpkin bubble has burst for me. I will carve the hell out of a pumpkin this year out of spite for the spate of pumpkin products.

But seriously, I got nothing ‘gainst the gourd and I certainly don’t want to stifle brewing creativity. But this Halloween season, you will not find me excitedly choosing a beer from the P-Spice display. With the caveat that if a brewer brings something new to the glass and during October, I will listen and possibly taste. (I will review two pumpkin beers this month to keep on top of the trend)

But the combination of seasonal creep that puts pumpkin beer on shelves by late August and the ever increasing use of pumpkin and its pie spices as an unimaginative brand extension tool for seemingly every product under the sun, has me burnt out.

I understand that distribution dictates when beer gets brewed and when it arrives on shelves. Supply chain economics seem to be the driving factor at play. But why encourage me to drink pumpkin beers months before Halloween and Thanksgiving? If I told you to drink a Maibock in January, would you? Or Oktoberfests in May? It seems that Pumpkin beers and Holiday ales are not subject to the same calendar as other beers in the market.

Maybe I am just grumpy because we here in L.A. haven’t had a spring, fall or winter in a long, long while. But where is the brewing counterculture of tapping the beer that you want to drink, when you want to drink it and having the customers come to you because your beer is so good? Why are some bowing to the pressure of releasing beer early?

I don’t believe that it is the grumpy grandpa in me that is irritated.  Seasonal Creep takes the fun of enjoying the moment away.  How can the actual day of Halloween be fun if you are assaulted with pop-up costume shops for months.  To me it is a sign of a culture that doesn’t enjoy the day in front of them and has to set their clocks to future fun days.  Let me drink my Oktoberfests and ambers and dopplebocks first before hitting me with the full fury of fall.

Or maybe I should just give in to the marketing and start drinking winter ales right now or better yet I could start planning an all pumpkin based brewery. Pumpkin IPA anyone?