It’s that time of year again. The leaves are starting to change from bright greens to oranges and reds, the breeze is starting to take on a crisp edge to it and Pumpkin beer will begin to dominate the shelves. But if you’re like me, you could care less about Pumpkin-flavored anything. When the air starts getting cold, I want something with a high ABV (Alcohol By Volume) to keep me warm and a pumpkin is not going to cut it. Fall is the time for sweet and spicy. Hops can have the spring and summer but fall is the time for malt. When it comes to a roasted malty flavor, there’s nothing better than enjoying the deliciousness that is Langunitas’ Hairy Eyeball. Picture this: you’ve just finished raking the lawn and now you’re relaxing in front of crackling bonfire, family and friends gathering around you, as you see off the summer and welcome the fall. Hairy Eyeball is what you want in your hand.
If you’re looking for consistently high-quality beer, look no further than Langunitas out of Petaluma, CA. Checking in at 9.1% ABV, Langunitas describes Hairy Eyeball as being “roasty, toasty, malty” and just what you need once the temperatures start to dip. Available only in the fall months in 22oz bottles or “bombers,” if you can find this seasonal release, snatch it up while you can. Fans of hoppy beers won’t find much love here as this beer’s only 56 IBUs, but what it lacks in hoppiness, it makes up for in toasted malt sweetness.
So, while you’re sitting around that bonfire enjoying this hefty brew with your friends, you’ll want to enjoy it while it’s cold and refreshing right? Well I’ve found that the best way to keep my bombers cold is with a Bomber Jacket. Not only does this jacket keep my beers 50% colder, but it also insulates and protects it, Hairy Eyeball is 9% ABV after all. Plus, the Bomber Jacket has a convenient zipper for easy beer access. As the winter months approach you’ll need your jacket, your bomber should have one too!
The holiday season may be winding down, but that’s no excuse not to go out there and get your hands on a 22 oz bomber of the seasonal, Jolly Folly IPA from Green Flash. This is one of those beers that will knock you back a step and make you think—that is, after taking a couple of decent sized gulps of course. Known for crafting some brilliant, dialed in brews, Green Flash actually kind of made a huge blunder with this one, but albeit, it happened to come out quite good. Sometimes, mistakes can force breweries to step outside of their comfort zone, and it may be a way to discover the unknown.
So, how did this brew come to be? Well, it turns out that that one of their bright tanks had been filled about two-thirds with the always popular Pure Hoppiness from their batch of Alpine brews, and was then accidentally topped with one-third of the always heavenly Soul Style IPA. Looks like there may have been too much cheer around the brew tanks within the hallowed walls of Green Flash Brewing Co. The result? A 7.7 percent IPA that’s laced with a citrusy, piney, and resinous hop-profile. It appears that this holiday mishap has worked out in their favor, and low and behold, an excellent brew was conceived.
A nice hard pour results in a lacy white head that dissipates somewhat quickly, but fills the glass in a burnt orange, coppery color. There’s a nice malty backbone in this beer that mends beautifully with the bitterness of the 71 IBU count. Escaping from the glass are giant aromas of the hops, and they attack your senses in a second flat. It hits you like a freight train that has been loaded with citrusy attributes like grapefruit, or lemon peels. Mixed in, there’s a nice underlying aroma of pine-needles, and deep, dark resins.
Drinking it results in a nice, crisp finish, and is very drinkable at the 7.7 percent. It’s a nice pleasant surprise, and unless one knows about the mishap about how this creature came to be, it would stand out as just another really solid IPA from Green Flash. These guys consistently churn out one good beer after another, and it’s a great testament to their abilities to craft good brews, when they can even deliver a really good one that was a bit of a mistake. Although, mixing two stellar IPA’s together would not exactly be a major reach.
The holidays may have delivered a nice surprise for IPA enthusiasts, and although the season to be merry may be nearing its end, there’s still plenty of 22 oz bottles of this Jolly Folly IPA floating around. Word around town is that they brewed 500 barrels of this stuff (15,500 gallons), so go out there and get your brew on. Green Flash’s mistake is many a man’s treasure!