Back to regular old beer tests this month. However, that's not to say that I haven't added something new to the mix. Just as my beer palate is growing, so is my pint collection. The glasses I used this week came courtesy of my good friend and beer buddy John. Having attended an absolutely insane AC/DC concert a couple years ago, he & I have become hardcore fans, enjoying anything and everything AC/DC. And let me say with absolute conviction and assurance...great beer and great rock go hand in hand!
So the beer this week is Shipyard Brewing Co's Pugsley's Signature Series XXXX IPA. Although I made the choice of what to try this month, the wife heavily influenced my selection. While perusing the beer selection at the brand new BevMo up the block, I had a hard time picking just one beer to apply to my test (although I admittedly picked up several 22oz. bottles of some select Rouge & Stone brews). So when we came across Pugsley's XXXX IPA, she thought it'd be great to get a beer named after friend's dog. Yeah, we're dog people and had there been a Murdoch Smoked Porter (Murdoch is our Boxer/Bulldog), I very likely would have bought out the store. So we headed home with a four-pack of XXXX IPA and several other beverages for a low, low price and I decided to catch up on some episodes of True Blood while putting the latest brew to the test. Right off the bat, I wasn't blown away by XXXX. It wasn't bad per se, but it wasn't particularly special either. The color was a nice copper and the aroma smelled slightly citrusy, but the taste was lacking in my opinion. It wasn't hop-heavy, it wasn't barrel-aged, it wasn't much of anything honestly. In fact, the first thoughts that came to mind were that this beer most closely represented a higher end beer from one of the major distributors. It had all the pieces of a unique beer but without the lasting impression of something I'd get again. Perhaps the best way to put it into perspective is that if I were at one of the ever-present gastropubs popping up throughout town, I'd taste the beer once and probably avoid it to sample what else the bar had to offer.
Here is where XXXX IPA surprised me. The beer packed a subtle yet powerful punch. Bringing in a respectable 9.25% abv, I expected this beer to overwhelm me the way other 10% abv beers so often do. But after only 1 episode of Sookie & Bill, I had already cracked open my third beer without feeling especially tipsy. Realizing the rate in which I was drinking, I slowed down considerably with number 3. When finished though, I was feeling fine and had to make the delicate decision of going for all 4 in the pack, or leaving one soldier behind to fight another day. Well, you can thank the power of Angus, Brian, Malcolm & crew for inspiring me to go for number 4. How could I possibly leave one beer behind when I still had one unused AC/DC pint to christen? Simple answer...I couldn't. And so, in what may have been the worst decision (or perhaps the best), I poured beer number 4 into the "Highway to Hell" pint and went to town. By the time the glass was emptied, 2 hours of True Blood were done...and so was I.
So what could I expect the next morning after finishing the max allowance of beer for my experiment? I. Felt. Death. For the first time since the Lagunitas round, the hangover from hell returned. And this time, he hung around a little longer than before. Even with my standard hangover cocktail, I still woke up to a headache like none other. While it wasn't quite attacking my stomach like past hangovers, it did however bring with it the alcohol sweat that notoriously existed only when drinking beers like Bud Light, High Life, & even Corona. A shower, second teeth brushing, third mouth washing, some brunch, AND coffee...the beer stench finally faded. The headache however, did not. It stayed with me well into the afternoon and early evening. While not the worst hangover of my life, it was definitely one I'd like to avoid in the future.
Pugsley's Signature XXXX IPA was unfortunate for many many reasons. It was the inaugural beer for my new AC/DC pints, it was the first beer purchased at a new BevMo, it's name sake is an adorable pug who is gay for my Brussels Griffon, Belvedere. And it's one I won't get again. The lack of outstanding taste and aroma combined with lasting hangover and headache was a simple equation for avoidance. In fact, I'd probably steer clear of Shipyard Brewing Co. altogether, which is unfortunate because this wasn't an awful beer, it was just unremarkable.