It's a brand new year with a brand new look on the blog. To start of 2011, I take a stab at a brew that was given to me as a gift from one of my oldest (and most intense) drinking buddies, the infamous Mark Burton Grez! Between a holiday visit in the pouring rain and a look at my new place with his parents, Mark managed to gift me with two bottles of Port Brewing Wipeout IPA - his number one favorite beer of late.
Holy hop Batman, this beer's got bite! So apparently Mark is a fan of hops. That's no surprise to me though, as the man has started growing his own at his house. It also makes sense considering the well-known fact that the hop plant and the cannabis plant are close cousins (seriously, not only is the hop plant a legal relative of cannabis, but it will get users reasonably stoned. If smoked in the form of a joint, the sweet-sour, flaky fruiting parts of the plant will produce a mild, grass like high accompanied by a feeling of peace and serenity), and Mark has long been a fan of nature's smokes. But enough about drugs, we're here for the beer! Wipeout IPA was a great beer with a thick head and smooth taste. The hoppiness of it definitely provided some intense bitterness, but it was balanced so well with the level of malt and carbonation that I didn't mind it so much as I have in other hoppy beers. According to Port Brewing, this beer mixed in "no less than five hop varieties including Amarillo, Centennial, Cascade, Simcoe and Summit." That's a lot of plant in a beer. But it worked. I wouldn't place this as high as other IPA's I've tried, but it certainly was quite tasty and I can understand why it's Mark's favorite.
I decided to drink both bottles for this test, reserving a little from the second bottle to ensure that I not exceed my 48oz limit (although the bottles claimed to be 22oz, they were by far the largest 22oz bombers I've ever seen. I swear they were identical in size to Sierra Nevada's Estate bombers which come in at 30oz). After the first beer was finished, I felt completely fine. Measuring in at 7% abv, that didn't really surprise me too much. It's a respectable amount of alcoholic content but definitely not the heaviest or highest I've had in an IPA or even in an IPA for the purposes of this blog. However, by the time I was done with the second bottle - or atleast the amount I chose to drink out of the second bottle - I was rocked. Something hit me hard. And I liked it! The buzz was one of those "good time" feelings where you acknowledge that you're drunk but don't feel sleepy or full or angry or any of the other associated effects of a good buzz. Perhaps this goes back to the level and complexities of the hops and they're relation to weed. The feelings were similar in base, yet different enough in detail. And again, it occurred to me that this all makes sense in respect to Wipeout IPA being Mark's favorite beer. If there was ever one person on the entire planet who embodied good times and legendary drunkenness, it'd be Mark. I could start a separate blog that'd take me years upon years to fill with accounts of his epic nights of intoxication. Without giving away too much or compromising any good standings, I'll just say that he ALWAYS fell asleep with either a beer in his hand or next to his bed...ALWAYS!
Hangovers...always finding a way to fuck up a good thing! After finishing off my set amount of Wipeout, I opted for a small bite to eat. Some Whole Foods Kettle Corn in fact, along with a glass of water to wash it down. I put on some Howard Stern and promptly passed out popcorn in hand slumped over on the couch. After a few hours and a sore back, I awoke to realize that I never quite made it to the bedroom. So I finished my water, put the food away, brushed my teeth and popped some Advil before I went down for round 2. Cue the dogs a few hours later and I again woke up to let them out. Apparently at this point, the Advil had no effect on me as I had a headache that felt like I had drank some heavy IPA's and passed out awkwardly listening to some Stern. Once the dogs were done with their stuff, we all headed back to bed where I passed out for round 3 of sleep. One might think that all this up & down would only help my chances of shaking any possible hangover. Well, one would be retarded then. When I finally woke up for the day a few hours later, the headache was still there. It was coupled by the usual hangover nastiness: mild dizziness, fatigue, a little stomach pains, and total annoyance at the sunlight. Although I was feeling like a hideous monster being prodded with pitchforks, apparently my body was not producing any of the other symptoms that typically come with my suspected allergy to certain beers. My wife didn't notice any foul odors emitting from my pores, I was able to successfully drive (and shop) at Home Depot, and I didn't feel like I needed to be within sprinting length of a bathroom at all times. No, I may have been hungover, but I don't think I was allergic!
And so, my first beer experiment of the new decade has come to a close. And with it, some interesting results. I discovered a hop explosion in a quality beer. I detected similarities and nuances between the iconic ingredient of beers around the world and its infamously controversial horticultural cousin. And just as infamous, is the provider of this months brew, who although hasn't exactly taught me anything about beer, he has taught me much in how one enjoys beer. And for that, I'm eternally grateful!