well, thanks to the dysfunction of the usps these days, it took nearly two weeks to get to me in new orleans from chicago (even with priority mail), but i finally poured my very first tasteNA sample from big drop brewing, their pine trail pale.
it’s funny how for most of my adult life, i have not enjoyed pale ales, IPAs or anything that has a strong hops bitterness to it. i’m usually much more of a dark beer fan, a lover of maltiness, sweetness, and caramel, chocolate, nut, and/or coffee undertones. but now that i’m drinking NAs, i’m finding i can tolerate hops more and actually enjoy it in some brews. i don’t think i’m gonna become a huge IPA fan anytime soon, as things labeled as such usually have much higher IBU than things simply labeled pale ale and i’m not that into the bitterness, but i’m happy to have more options.
so, this beer. it arrived earlier today, late morning, due to its detour and extended stay in a distribution center in southaven, MS, so it was only in the fridge for like 6-7 hours. but i couldn’t wait any longer! (my fridge is petty cold though.)
first of all, i love their can design and logo. the company is originally from the UK and has just recently started brewing and distributing here in the US, so it has a bit of a different “cool” look to it than a lot of the US NA brands. this should help them stand out on the shelves, for sure.
it poured a pretty pale yellow color but had minimal head. usually that would make me think it might be flat, but not in this case and really didn’t bother me visually. it had a fresh, floral aroma that was inviting. the carbonation and body of the beer was great, good mouthfeel – that addition of lactose really helps it to feel like a beer in my mouth. i get the pine, a little citrus (lime), and the hops bite is there, prominent but not overpowering. it’s light and crisp and paired nicely with my pasta dinner. i can see why it won a world beer award for style!
i would drink this again for sure, and now that i have an idea of the quality of their beer, i’m even more excited to try their galactic extra dark, which is basically a stout. thanks tasteNA for the chance to sample this! hopefully next time it won’t take 2 weeks to get to me!
no new NA beers to sample this weekend since the stump jump and cerveza atletica arrived, but i have plenty to keep me busy. (my kitchen floor is littered with NA beer stock cuz i can only fit so much in the fridge at one time!) i did end up buying a six pack of the partake pale at total wine as i liked it enough to want to drink more of it. they were out of a lot of things and didn’t have anything new, so that’s all i got.
my friend allison went out there and asked at customer service for them to order brew dog NAs, and they said they would. (i hope they get the wake up call and nanny state, though i’m sure she asked them for the ipas cuz that’s what she drinks.) so maybe that is the route i will take in the future, instead of trying to find the beer manager who never seems to be available when i go. i’m gonna make a list and ask them to order a bunch of stuff because it will be cheaper for me to buy from them than ordering it online. (they need to restock wellbeing amber and coffee cream stout, and add their victory wheat; i’d love it if they added bravus peanut butter stout and blonde to the other bravus beers they already carry; and it would be great to be able to sample NA offerings from untitled art (mostly interested in the chocolate stout), two roots (helles), sober carpenter (blonde, white, red), gruvi (peach pie ale, stout, lager, pale ale), big drop (pale and stout) and ceria (i’m interested in the belgian white but they also have an ipa that would probably do well). i know, it’s asking a lot. but if i don’t ask, they’ll probably never order it and i know all of those are carried at other total wines around the country so they shouldn’t have trouble getting them.
meanwhile, i always look at every new retail food/drink store i’m in to see what they have. this past week: target doesn’t carry ANY NA at all; neither does the random circle k by tulane, though they have a pretty extensive beer cooler; lakeview grocery had minimal macro offerings and the lagunitas IPNA was randomly stuck in the middle of the alcoholic section next to the other lagunitas stuff; and i went back in to rouses on carrollton just to see if i could find the beer buyer (wasn’t there). this pic below is of their sad NA section.
however, i do have several new brews on the way to me. i couldn’t resist ordering the athletic st. patrick’s day offering of an irish red, which is one of the pilot brews; i’m not a big red drinker but i’m looking for variety right now.
i also “discovered” rightside brewing, randomly, from a post in one of the NA fb groups i’m in. i’d heard the name before but hadn’t been curious until a link to an interview with the founder/owner was posted. turns out it’s a woman-owned brand and southern, out of atlanta, georgia. they have a great website with a blog that tells the story of the beer/company and offers inspirational and informational posts. how could i not support this business? so i immediately ordered a six pack of each of their citrust wheat and ipa, as they are smartly offering the two six packs = free shipping promotion that is quickly becoming the standard in the NA beer world. i’ll let ya know what I think when they get here.
the other thing that happened was that i reached out to bravus brewing‘s customer support after my experience revisiting their oatmeal stout left me confused as to whether my taste buds had just done an about face on their beer, or if it was a bad batch. they immediately wrote back, offering to give me a pre-paid return label if i’d send them back some of the beer in question. i’d bought two four packs so i tried some from both and both tasted off to me, so i sent back two of each. i mentioned how i was hoping to try some of their other beers (pb stout and blonde) and they offered to send me a free fresh mix pack of oatmeal, pb stout and blonde to try! now THAT’S customer service! so that is also on the way. i hope they don’t get the beers i sent back and tell me there is nothing wrong with them, cuz that would just mean a) my taste buds are wack, and b) i don’t like their beer. but i will remain hopeful until i try them.
ok, that’s all i got for this week. and yes, i am clearly obsessed at this point and this is becoming quite an expensive habit. but i’m also not spending nearly as much money as i used to on food and due to the pandemic i never go out and spend money in bars or restaurants or anywhere else, so i figure it’s ok for now. and at some point, when i’ve sampled all these beers, i will know which ones i like enough to want to keep on hand and it will be a much smaller number of beers. but for now it’s a fun adventure that takes my mind off this fucked up world we are living in and at least feels like a semi-healthy choice to be making in my recuperation.
i just finished drinking this athletic brewing stump jump autumn brown ale, which i had been dying to sample for quite a while. (it’s hard to find it in stock on their website.) sadly i am underwhelmed. i think i actually like their maple brown pilot brew better. this one definitely has the look and mouthfeel of a brown ale down, but the taste is just kinda meh. it’s smooth, malty, a little nutty, and not as sweet as the maple brown, but kinda nondescript. some brown ales can be like that but i guess i just expected a richer flavor out of something called an autumn brown. i have five more of them so i guess i’ll be drinking them but they will not be the first thing i reach for. it’s not a total miss, but not anything exciting either. 😕
earlier this afternoon with lunch i tried partake brewing‘s pale. if you recall, i had been previously disappointed with their blonde and unimpressed with their stout, but someone in one of my facebook groups suggested that i give their pale a shot because it was better. and they were right! just enough hops to make it interesting and give it a bit of a bite, which is something that beers without alcohol often lack, but not so much that it overwhelmed me. i don’t really like an overwhelming hops bitterness, hence why i don’t like most IPAs. it had a pretty good mouthfeel even though it’s pretty thin and light but it is crisp and refreshing and went very well with the pizza i had for lunch. and it only has 10 calories! that is ridiculous! tastes pretty spot on and only 10 calories – i give it a 👍!
lastly is theathletic brewingcerveza atletica, which they describe as a light copper brew. i found its color to be darker than light copper and i was expecting this beer by its name to be more in the vein of corona or similar light lager/pilsner mexican beers. i would say it’s more like dos equis amber. very smooth, good body and mouthfeel, malty and fairly light. i like this one and can see it being a good table beer for me as i think it will go with pretty much any food. i will buy this one again. 👍