Fresno is a weird place. It is a sprawling city of over 600,000 souls with no real public transit system, unchecked by local governance, and carved up by freeways to reinforce the haves from the have-nots. People are relegated to their economic districts like central valley Hunger Games. But beer is a universal unifier.
The downtown Fresno area looks like something out of Fallout 4 with slightly less debris. Always eerily silent, even when a plague isn’t present. This raygun nostalgia is maintained by nonuse. This is where you find Tioga Sequoia Brewing. They are the best brewery for a hundred miles and they unite this diverse population with amazing beers across their entire catalog. Good beer doesn’t care where you drove in from.
Mint stouts don’t have a great track record. Perennial BA 17 is the high water mark, and you get into Aquadent and Tootsie Rolls from there out. The absolute best you can hope for, in merging these two flavor profiles is either 1. Andes mints or 2. Girl Scout Cookie thin mints. Both sound like weed strains. This beer manages to hit both, but lamentably, no weed.
Not unlike Megaman’s Dr. Light, the RUSH program is highly overlooked. This beer is agile enough to remain beer beer (cf. not a lactose tank) but substantial enough to support the ambitious FIVE GUM aspirations. The breakfast stout base provides roast and acidity from the coffee to reign in the alkaline aspects of the mint. Like a libertarian with an empathetic wife, one keeps the other in check.
The vanilla is lost in the chaos and the rum barrel lends a unifying caramel aspect, but, it lacks focus due to all the ensemble plot threads. The unified product tastes like flourless cake and after dinner mint. The black forest frosting still on your gum line as you swagger and grab a complimentary mint on the way out, nodding to the underage hostess to confirm YOU STILL GOT IT, swinging a chocolate stained khaki pant leg into your GMC Acadia. Crisp, clean, decadent, smooth, mildly unsettling but harmless: This is mocha mint.
In a city lousy with inequality, beer brings everyone to the same outdoor picnic tables. Tioga sequoia is doing the Lord’s work in the 559.