I had no business whatsoever going to the IPA Project at Sly Fox today. Work, a concert to sing tonight, family issues that I don't want to go into...I should have stayed home. But I didn't, and it's all worked out. I should worry less.
I did go, and immediately ran into Matt "Beer Yard" Guyer, who confirmed my thought about the best way to go at the IPA Project: eschew the flights and just pick something to get a real size of. I grabbed a flight attendant (the ever-popular and brilliant Corey Reid (portrait of whom you see to the left...) and ordered up a 12 oz. Aurora.
Quick explanation: the IPA Project is a series of single-hop IPAs. In December, at the Sly Fox's anniversary, they pull out kegs of all the IPAs and offer them all at once. Brilliant. Except this year...Well, the Aurora was okay. The Fuggles was okay. The 2008 Odyssey (DIPA, multi-hopped, cask) was okay. The Mt. Rainier? A bit better, but in a crisp refreshing way, not a knock-out way. By this time, I'm starting to think, what the hell, the hops shortage has made all hoppy beer boring? Hate to dis Sly Fox IPAs this way, but damn, my socks were not being knocked off! (Kinda cool when former Sly Fox (and Independence and Stoudt's and Sunnybrook) brewer Bill Moore showed up, though; and yeah, Uncle Jack was there, looking pretty good after his brush with severe abdominal discomfort last month: that's Guyer, Jack, and Bill in the pic.)
Then Uncle Jack kind of talked me into getting one more 12 oz. glass, and I got the Galena. Now, Galena is generally considered to be an industrial-grade hop, a bitterness source, and that's about it. But...I remember back in the 1990s, Great Lakes (before Andy Tveekrem left there to become the wizard behind the curtain at Dogfish Head) had a barleywine they called Steamroller that was never offered for sale (as far as I know), just an "under the table" beer at festivals: huge, hi-alcohol, bitter, and dry-hopped on a bed of Galenas. And it was brilliant, as I recall. And so was this. The Galena was easily the best IPA of the day. Well, at Sly Fox, anyway.
Because when I left Sly Fox, I realized, I've got just time enough to stop at Victory and get maybe a growler or two of the great beers I've been hearing they had on tap right now. So I did. And it was good. Although it did take too long to get a beer, because two bartenders had a long talk about boyfriends, and Oh MY God!, and school, and NO WAY! right in front of me, and then walked off in opposite directions...till the guy sitting next to me at the bar called out to the one and said, "Hey, this guy's thirsty, you know?" Bless him. Bartenders at Victory; what's it take?
Anyway, I got me a pint of Uncle Teddy's Bitter (great, as always), and two growlers: St. Vic (which I'm polishing off right now, although I planned on saving it till Sunday, but I caught the bail on the flip-top when I was setting it down, and I had to drink it...really) and Yakima Twilight, a dark DIPA that tasted just fantastic when a guy at the bar offered me a sip. The St. Vic is great, smooth, malty, just a tad raunchy/smoky/chewy, and I love that. More about the YT when we drink up that one.
All in all: hell of a good beer day. And the concert went well, BTW, thanks for asking.