I know last week I talked about a beer also but I figure with the Easter Bunny in town this weekend, there will be a lot of blogs about wines and champagnes to go with Easter brunch so I decided to double down and do another beer. Besides, here in California the weather has been absolutely gorgeous for the last week and will continue to be for Easter. So while the kids are wandering aimlessly around the yard hopelessly searching for eggs, grab yourself a Saint Archer IPA. Also, the San Diego Padres are playing the San Francisco Giants which means that I get to watch them on TV! What better way to celebrate than with a San Diego beer.
5 years ago there really wasn’t a beer that came out of San Diego, or California for that matter, that escaped my attention. I was huge into the craft beer scene and so were a lot of my friends. We opened a bottle of poured everyone in the house a taste almost every night. In truth, more than one bottle was popped on most nights. We were happier than pigs in shit. Of course life eventually got in the way and we all finished grad school and ended up scattering around the globe and I lost a lot of my connection to the craft beer movement. It was hard for me to justify the investment that some of the beers demand. $30 or so for a 22 ounce bottle is not only a lot of money but that is a huge commitment in drunkenness. If I am the only one drinking it, I will definitely end up pretty smashed. It’s not like wine where you can cork it and come back to it tomorrow and it will still be drinkable. So over the years I moved more and more into the wine world. So when this beer was gifted to me, I was pretty shocked to be holding an IPA (which I love) from San Diego (where I grew up) that I had never heard of given to me by someone who isn’t particularly plugged into craft beer or even from San Diego!
This beer is exactly what I want from an IPA to drink in the summertime. The hops are so floral and delicious. They aren’t piney and bitter like a lot of IPAs. The overall taste leaves a lingering sweetness in your mouth almost as if there was some honey involved in the recipe. It’s not overly sweet. It has a dryness to it that leaves your mouth wanting another sip. It’s a really nice balance. There’s also some sort of herbal flavor that I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s not medicinal tasting at all but it does have that green flavor floating about. The body to this beer is very light. It makes it pretty distinct for a San Diego IPA given the lighter malt body and floral, rather than piney, hops. It just makes you want to be out in the sunshine and throw a frisbee or play some bocce. If I had to liken it to something a little more popular it has a similar profile to Blind Pig IPA from Russian River Brewing or Lagunitas IPA but it isn’t as malty as either of those.
Hop-heads might complain that this is an IPA for people who don’t like IPA. I would have to argue that this is the enlightened IPA drinker’s favorite. I was a total hop-head for a long time but eventually I just got tired of those big, bitter IPAs being so one-dimensional. I just want a beer that I can drink and more importantly, share. Go ahead and bring a Ruination IPA to your friend’s next barbecue and see how much people like it. It will be you and one other beer geek drinking it off in a corner somewhere talking about IBUs and how you, “don’t see how everyone else can drink that piss-water.” Yes, this story is semi-autobiographical. But beers like this, I’ve realized, are more important to me. I could bring some of this and maybe someone who would never be interested in craft beer could see how delicious it is and explore more into it. Then you get to have a much more productive conversation with someone about the joys of beer and all the versatility of it. And just like that, another sybarite is born. Something like this can bring the seasoned sybarite veteran and the bright-eyed rookie together in enjoyment of a beverage.
Also, it happens to go perfectly with baseball. GO PADRES!!!