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!
If there’s a beer that’s going to jump up, grab a hold of you and not want to let go, it’s the Nelson from Alpine Beer Company. This 7.0%abv rye IPA from Alpine, CA, is one of those beers that’s almost delicious beyond belief. For a long time, it was a mysterious beer that was tucked away into the hills outside of San Diego like some type of mystical creature. With the brewery being so small, it was difficult to get your hands on this stuff, but thanks to a recent partnership with Green Flashing Brewing, Nelson, along with a string of other Alpine beers are more widely distributed in beautiful, 22 oz bottles. Whether it’s Nelson or one of the others, be sure to pick up a couple of bottles, wrap it in your favorite bottle bomber and go to town on these delectable brews.
Let’s go ahead and begin with the aroma on this one. Immediately upon cracking the top, there’s big New Zealand, Nelson Sauvin hop aromas that immediately fly out of the top of the bottle. With a good pour into the glass, you will immediately get smacked right in the face with some up front pineapple, grapefruit and tropical fruit smells from the hops. I love the Nelson hops, and the way they are featured in this brew is tough to match. Simply delicious.
The pour is not what you would really expect in a traditional IPA. It’s got a bit of a cloudiness or a haze throughout. The color is a peach, and oh my goodness, those hops continue to attack the senses. By this time I’ve just about had it, so it’s time to dive into this beauty.
The first though I have upon consumption is that the rye comes through beautifully to blend well with the New Zealand hops. It gives it a bit of a nutty flavor with strong notes of the tropical fruits, perhaps a bit of pine, an overall just a fantastically balanced brew. The flavor is big and bold, but far from being overpowered and bitter. Alpine Beer Company just has a way of churning out some fantastically delicious brews, and this is without question no exception to that rule.
As Green Flash continues to expand their production and expand to new locations along the East Coast, the country and world will be seeing a lot more of Alpine and the Nelson. This mythical creature has spread its wings and is now taking fight throughout the county. As soon as you see this sucker on the shelves, grab at least a couple, allow it to get nice and cozy in your classiest bomber koozie and take this hazy New Zealander from San Diego for a whirl. Trust us, you will not regret this one!