Just imagine this little bambino hanging off my arm as I type this. His tiny chubby, Michelin Man arms balled into fists at their ends, bopping uncontrollably. Picture his sparse tufts of ginger hair all cowlick and Peter Boyle skullette. Visualize his bright baby blue eyes turned into little labradorite, as iridescent and tiny as some undiscovered sea creatures. You want to squeeze him, right? Forever, right?
But then there’s the shrieking. That adorable, diminutive mouth becomes the gateway to both demon howl and thick, milky spittle. Then there’s his sniper-like ability to pee on anything vaguely important to me, including blasting his own face. Don’t get me wrong. I love him. He’s perfect, but I need to put him down on occasion. I need to convince him to sleep. Yes, sleeeeeep little prince, so daddy can grab a beer before bedtime and dementia sets in.
On those rare occasions when sleepy baby descends in a timely fashion, I like to retire to the couch with a cold craft beer and stare blankly at, well, anything in front of me. Lately, that beer has been a lot of box brews arriving in the mail from kind craft breweries, sending me much needed liquid solace. So, with a baby firmly squeezed into my bicep, I decided to dedicate this chapter of cool loot to my love of getting both baby relief and free beer in the mail.
It should be noted, we are not a beer review site, but we do drink beer, so we’re always quite tickled when craft businesses send us some of their awesome products for us to crush. In this reoccurring column, I will highlight those generous businesses, focusing on the innovative packaging techniques and cool products. I’d like to thank these breweries for their magnanimity. Here goes…
The perfect summer beer for fathering (Burnt City’s Retrofit Lime Radler)
The hot summer months and long, baby-filled nights require a crushable brewski with a low ABV. I choose the Burnt City Brewing Co.’s Retrofit Lime Radler, available in 12-ounce cans and on draft in 1/6 and 1/2 barrels from April through September. Maybe you remember Burnt City used to be called Atlas Brewing Co., but because of trademark conflicts they’ve evolved their brand into Burnt City (“We burned it all down so we could build it back up,” notes the website). Now, the Chicago-based brewery has some of the coolest marketing in all of beer. Cans are brandished with awesome characters: steampunk cyclists, meat-cleaving robots and post-apocalyptic heroes and heroines.
Plus, these guys and gals know how to send a proper package!
The Retrofit Lime Radler is Burnt City’s twist on the traditional German style — a refreshing session made with delicious key lime juice. Fruity and tart, with a hint of malty sweetness for balance, this refreshment comes in at 3.6 percent. It’s 100 percent poundable and less sweet than other radlers on the market. We suggest you grab some Retrofit before the end of summer.
Does SweetWater make a bad beer? (TripleTail secures legacy of perfection)
I’ve had just about every SweetWater Brewing Co. beer made — even all those crazy Dank Tank releases — and they all continue to rock out most convincingly. TripleTail Tropical India Pale is no exception. This seasonal sweetheart from the Atlanta, Ga.-based brewhouse weaves juicy bodacious hops with notes of papaya, pineapple and passion fruit. Drinking it is like huffing Calgon.
The malt bill ranges from 2Row to Pilsner to Carapils. The hops range from Bravo, Mosaic and Denali, and then its dry hopped with Mosaic, Denalis, Citra and Waimea. The result is a suitable beach beverage or porch cooler with a perfect 5.5 percent ABV.
This package also came with the new Dank Tank release call Torikumi, which is a Wasabi-infused blonde ale. The Dank Tank series is the brewery’s brand of sinister laboratory experiments — i.e. rare release beers that showcase the creativity of SweetWater’s brewers. From the press release:
Telluride Brewing Co. Brewmaster Chris Fish visited Atlanta to see what he and SweetWater Head Brewer Nick Nock could cook up for a collaboration brew. A trip up Buford Highway inspired the brewers to experiment with wasabi added to a blonde ale. The wasabi provided some serious heat and a flavor profile that knocked the brewers’ mawashis off. This is a beer to share with friends and experiment with — try pairing it with sushi, ginger, Japanese noodle dishes, or just some grilled chicken.
I’m not into spicy hot beers, but this was a beautiful brewski. Again, SweetWater doesn’t make a bad beer. If it’s weird, new and from SweetWater, just buy it already.
Rogue has been confirmed as collective godparent (Cool Brew IPA, Good Chit and beyond)
My UPS guy is fairly familiar with me and Rogue Brewery and Ales. It feels like once a week Brown’s ringing my doorbell with a perfectly packaged box beneath his curled arm (not unlike my bambino). I blast to the door like Usain Bolt, fearing a second ring might wake señor crabby sleeper. The delivery guy takes my uncanny speed approaching the door as pure excitement for the mail beer I’m receiving, and he’s not entirely wrong.
Just last Wednesday, a six pack of beautifully green Cold Brew IPA cans showed up on my stoop. They seemed at home wildly roaming the natural beauty of my backyard (see pic above).
Cold Brew IPA is an Oregon concoction. Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters’ Cold Brew Coffee is blended with an IPA made using Rogue Farms hops for a unique interplay of hops and coffee flavors. Opening with a huge hit of rich coffee aroma that is balanced by a not-so-subtle hop punch, the transition is seamless from one bold flavor to the next.
Beyond the Cold Brew, a bomber of the perfectly named Good Chit Pilsner was hand delivered to the Gribbins-Hill residence one day. Coming off a 100-acre barley harvest, Rogue announced the 2017 release of Good Chit Pilsner to much aplomb. To the press release.
Grown in Rogue Farm’s volcanic-rich soil at Tygh Valley, Ore., the barley is harvested, combined and delivered to Rogue’s on-site malt house to be floor-malted. The golden grain is spread across a specialized floor, where it is hand-turned every 12 hours over the course of eight days. Once the barley creates “chits” or sprouts that start to grow as a result of the floor-malting process, it is transported to Rogue’s brewery in Newport, Ore., to become Good Chit Pilsner.
“The floor-malting process is an ancient brewing practice that best represents our farm-grown pilsner,” said Rogue General Manager Dharma Tamm. “It creates a unique experience in every bottle of Good Chit.”
Good Chit Pilsner is available now on draft and in 22-ounce bottles nationwide.
In finale, my adorable little scion is named Cole Leo Reed Gribbins. He was born on June 27, and my first holiday weekend with Cole was the Fourth of July. Here’s a cute picture of Cole in his Independence Day ensemble.
And here’s a cute picture of me outside shortly after, celebrating the 4th with Rogue’s American Amber Ale, the perfect summer beer to pair with Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day and generalized daddy free time. God bless America, I guess.
— CraftBrewingBusiness (@CraftBrewingBiz) July 5, 2017
Thanks again to all the generous brewhouses that sent me free beer! You made me drunk with appreciation and alcohol!