If a brewery has the audacity to have an “experimental series” release, you can be damn sure I want it. I have no idea why – maybe they are experimenting with the relatively simple advertising strategies that appeal to craft beer fans. And it works. But also having the word “session” in the title can get my attention too as I’m often looking for a ranch beer that won’t knock me off my tractor. So this gem from 4 Mile Brewing got packed along for our Thanksgiving trip.
It’s a hoppy little number and the IBU comes in at 50, which feels like a nice number. Half of 100. On a scale none of us really understand (because it doesn’t factor in other flavour elements that can add to bitterness, for instance). But none of that matters when it’s all about me and my beer in the Cariboo. And me being the first to drink a specific beer – this specific beer, in the Cariboo, if I didn’t say that already.
Although our wild hops that grows around the old outhouse was all dried on the vine by Thanksgiving, I find it remarkably satisfying to look at it with a pint in hand and dreaming of the day I’ll open Outhouse Brewing (photo below is from this Summer). But until then, It’s me bringing great beer on my Cariboo excursions made by great brewers.
Around the Thanksgiving celebration we hold at the ranch, we usually Winterize the garden and dig up the root vegetables. It’s also a time to stack firewood (which we didn’t get around to), and occasionally drink the odd can of beer. It turned out that we had many types of potatoes in the ground, and I’ve decided that one of them must be Andean in origin…I mean some are purple!
So it was with all that extra logic applied that I chose Andina Brewing Company‘s Monita Blonde IPA to pair with the potato acquisition experience. Now I wouldn’t exactly call myself an expert potato farmer. In fact I had to shift from using a shovel to a pitchfork because I was routinely cleaving perfectly good potatoes in 2 with every shovel load. But switching to a pitchfork wasn’t exactly a flawless exercise either – see below:
But the beer – let’s not forget what this blog is all about and, while I prefer to carry tallboys, I was excited that Andina had begun canning at all and I was happy to get a 6-pack of this one to bring up. I actually made it to Andina for a tasting flight and remember calling out the Monita as the star of the show. But that was there…and this is here. In the Cariboo. Where beer can taste different. And even better.
And this is a great IPA. Does it need to taste clean while I’m digging potatoes? Nope. Are the citrus notes pleasing while washing the mud from a basket of potatoes? Yep. Is it a crisp beer on a crisp day? Yep. And is it more than just entirely possible that I’m the first – the very first person in all the Cariboo to quaff this 6.5% hoppy nugget of liquid joy? Most definitely.
So while I support you stopping by Andina to grab a 6-pack of this liquid pleasure, I strongly advise you to consider packing it somewhere special to enjoy. And maybe even share. One.
My Kölsch awakening moment came years ago at the mighty Black Frog in Gastown where they were pouring Mount Begbie‘s offering. Amazingly I’d never had an authentic German version first, so my understanding of how this beer should be was determined by that BC craft beer. And it was amazing – my gold standard. I learned that it’s a hybrid beer that uses a lager technique with ale yeast. And that can taste really good, or also really bad. When I found Begbie’s Kölsch, there weren’t many others on the market from B.C. In the last 24 months there have been many new arrivals, with mixed results. So when I found Red Arrow Brewing‘s offering on Vancouver Island, I figured it deserved a chance to be test driven in the Cariboo.
Being that my first experience with a Kölsch was on a Summer day in Vancouver, I figured it best to try it on a hot day to give it a real chance. And add in that feeling when there is no way anyone within 500 km has access to one of these bad boys and I was standing there holding the only bottle of this quaffable quart, a gentle feeling came over me. That sensation that no one has yet had this experience up here, and that as the first one to do so I am incredibly privileged. If it doesn’t suck.
And fortunately on many levels, it doesn’t suck. It was a little sweet, but still Cariboo-thirst quenching and went down easy. It had a slight maltiness that wasn’t familiar with this style in my experience, but it was interesting.
My only dislike was the name, using a K in place of a C on a word felt very American, or maybe it hearkens to Chopper culture of which I know nothing. But other than that, I kant komplain about it at all.