Like baseball, the beer world is a sphere with a tight orbit. Revolutions come and go, epochs arrive within the space of a year, and sunsets cascade endlessly like so many sliders strewn across the horizon. As a result, beer consumers are assholes with elephantine memories. If a beer was infected during the Bush administration, you’ll be damn sure someone who wasn’t even into craft beer at that time will be spouting petty epithets. LOL BC FLAT ABEY and Hellshire II amirite? You can even give full refunds for beers a and there will be some dumbass fresh out of undergrad who wants to still mention BURERY IS QC PROBLEM.
This is the culture we live in, petty mouthbreathers who don’t often forgive and even more rarely forget.
In the spirit, today I want to review some beers from a brewery that had a PR face plant earlier this year, to give them a fair shake and see if the product warrants overlooking some baseball comments. Full disclosure, I don’t even sports so I could give a shit less what stadiums peddle what beers at which huge arenas funded by public money then named after shitty corporations. I care about sugar water, not vicariously living through people in better shape than I am playing professional versions of elementary school recess diversions.. Just so we are on the same page.
Let’s review some shelfies today, for a change of pace:
St. Archer pale ale:
Ok get ready for your nutsack to detonate with a de novo beer of complete first impression. No way, a California ale strain with two row, cascade, simcoe and citra. I guess I can’t really fault a simple design since that is the archetype for a million pale ale iterations in closet carboys as we speak. The beer is admittedly pretty if not a touch dark in hue to my sensibilities, but maybe this is one of those beers that craves a can format. The nose is more aserose, chive, a bit of melon, and a waft of ride on lawn mower. Pretty standard affair with nothing discernibly bad or noteworthy either.
The taste is watery, a bit of sap and pine, some shallot and a chard finish. Nothing that will give you pause one way or another. At a certain point what the fuck do you really want? Should every pale be zombie dust and edward? Can’t we just stop arguing over finances and agree that your mother in law cannot stay with us? This beer is fine, you could do worse, or you could pay less and buy Lagunitas and be in materially unchanged position. Who gives a shit.
Regular Ass IPA
WELP, if you loved the pale ale, you will really love the slightly larger version with more rear passenger legroom. This is better than the pale because of the finish having a touch more malt to balance out the vegetal pale ale aspects and the mouthfeel isn’t a water park affair replete with splish, splash attendant thereto. In the most crowded craft beer segment, this offers up an offering safer than a Latter Day Saint using two condoms.
In a blind IPA tasting this will hit the dead median by courting palates with accessibility over originality. It is world’s better than Sam Adams ipas or New Belgium’s Ranger, but from a smaller craft segment it has a tough time actively competing against Pizza Port or Three Floyds’ comparable offerings. Again, nothing to avoid and a solid grocery store pick. Price point is there, product is there, what more do you want from DDb? We live in a world awash with choices, so why are you making out with your second cousin? SHE IS CLEARLY ON MOLLY.
One thing that you begin to notice while working through the St Archer lineup in reverse ethanol content, lowest to highest, is that you see that they maintain that Three Floyd’s sort of existence where they shine the most in the upper registry. Their marketing and branding seems wholly focused on some fresh fun San Diegan experience but I don’t buy it. Like those gems Arctic Panzer Wolf, Deadnaught, and Space Station Middle Finger, their Dipas are where the tires meet the asphalt. The St. Archer double ipa takes the muted aspects from the regular ipa and ramps them up beautifully. The malts are still restrained and provide just enough volume for that hoppy internal combustion to occur. It is sappy, pithy, a nice sweetness to the middle body that underscores the pine and baby kale. The tropical fruits sit idly in the backseat asking how much longer, kicking the alpha acid seat making you wish you opted for those coney flip down monitors in your India pale Aledyssey. It almost seems massively out of place relative to the rest of their gentle catalog and its a shame you don’t see it being pushed nearly as hard as the sessionable offerings. Typical. Hide the best shit, pump the forgettable offerings aka that Fremont Brewing strategy.
Alright now to the logical conclusion of this “saint bigger is saint better” archetype. The mosaic ipa is a massive 9% Abv arsenal of cut grass, wheatgrass, lemon zest, cantaloupe, and cut firewood cords. This one is not just phenomenal within the subset of the St Archer catalog, it is great in the global sense relative to all other Dipas, mosaic or otherwise. I know you will do a spit take but hear me out. This is seriously awesome.
Part of me feels like they dropped the marketing ball once again in a major way. At first glance this looks like a mild riff on the existing ipa, but no, this is an altogether different beast. The mouthfeel coats substantially and burns off under the press of its own oily disposition. They really should have done a better job establishing that this is damn near on the rails to bring a triple ipa, not just some standard ipa. It feels weird lambasting a brewery for not doing a better job explaining why their shit is amazing, since most self aggrandizing marketing is laughably bad. But seriously, the average consumer has no idea what they are passing over, and how could they? This is a hulking giant of alpha acid firepower that craves your oral embrace.
In sum, St Archer is silently creating some awesome beers and their marketing team needs to direct consumer attention to these very relevant developments. No one gives a shirtless uncle fuck about the blonde, or the innumerable predictable riffs on a california ale strain. If they are gonna make massive delicious beers like this mosaic (d)ipa, then sign me up for that and leave baseball and the low abv bullshit off my radar.
Tl;dr the mosaic is awesome so buy it, baseball isnt srs bznss.