The unexpected benefit of being quarantined and not being able to visit tap rooms is that breweries are empowered, by desperation and by the relaxing of strict rules against it, to deliver and ship beer. Even as some states have relaxed guidelines to allow us to visit and drink in certain situations, the ever-persistent pandemic has us drinking most of our beer at home.
Early on I ordered either pick-up, delivery, or whatever I could get from local breweries to try to support them as they struggled. My locals make great beer, so this is not particularly onerous. Most recently I picked up two very interesting beers from the Alementary in Hackensack, NJ called Sweet Summa’ Child, and #Staycation. Sweet Summa’ is a ‘hot, honey wheat ale’. Honey, Cayenne, citrus, meant as an ode to summer cuisine. Amazing. #Staycation is a gose, slightly tart, with pineapple, coconut and ginger. The ginger really makes this next level, as it lends some spiciness but also a warming sweetness too. Couple that with the tart, and the fruit, and I’m starting to wonder if eight was enough.
There are other breweries out there of course, ones in a larger radius from my home that I either like to visit, or would like to visit when I have the time. Now that it’s somewhat irresponsible to just hang out in public with others, I’ve been taking advantage of delivery or shipping options. Most recently, Magnify Brewing in Fairfield, NJ. Fairfield is not far from me, in fact I used to work there, but it’s outside my usual routine and requires a special trip, but you better believe that when they started offering beers for delivery, I jumped. I’ve been a fan of Magnify since inception, I visited their brewery within a few weeks of opening, met the owner and both his parents, and enjoyed the first beers they produced.
Magnify makes a lot of beer, especially a lot of New England IPA, and they do a good job of it. Specifically, they’re one of the breweries that are, and this is as of yet unverified by me, nailing the ‘fruited gose’ style. Fruited beers, due to the unfermented sugar in the can and therefore the potential for that can to ferment, create CO2, and explode, are the latest hot button issue in the craft beer world, if you don’t count the ongoing failure of the Brewers Association to adequately address racism, which is absolutely a thing that is happening, but also one I don’t feel fully versed in discussing, but still wanted to mention.
Fruited Gose. Is it a good idea for breweries to sell a product that you HAVE to keep refrigerated or it will explode? That’s the debate. A lot of it comes down to how you think about beer–is it a fresh produce type thing, like milk, where the consumer is expected to keep it cold, be aware of it’s expiration, and take responsibility for that? Or is this a beer too far, and breweries should absolutely not be selling dangerous exploding cans to potentially un-aware consumers? I have some thoughts, but I’d like to taste one of these beers first, which brings me back to Magnify.
Coming today, to my house, is a shipment of Magnify beers that includes Pastry Proof, a variation of their Trade Proof series, because you can’t trade a beer that’s going to explode in an unrefrigerated USPS truck. Pastry Proof is a heavily fruited smoothie style Gose inspired by berry pancakes. Conditioned on blueberry, blackberry, boysenberry and maple syrup. Thick and fruit forward. Roll the can before cracking! Interesting. I mean, who can argue with that? That sounds delicious. I’ll let you know.
New York is much better than New Jersey with the ordering beer for shipping. Luckily, my parents still live in New York and will happily, though I can’t say I gave them a choice, accept beer deliveries for me, as I did with a shipment from Plan Bee earlier this year. Recently, I was alerted to the fact that Threes Brewing, a great brewery in Brooklyn that typically has other locals on tap when you visit and was the host for at least one BeerGraphs meetup, would also ship other brewery beers along with theirs on their site. This was all I needed to hear, and I quickly ordered their Short Fuse, and Oak Aged Smoked Helles, their Thought Experiment, their Dare to Know, and then Greenpoint’s Please Stand By, Folksbier, who I’d never tried but wanted to, Cucumber Lime Glow Up (this is a pickle beer. I repeat, this beer tastes like pickles), and Wild East’s Temperance.
Thanks to quarantine I’ve gotten to try a lot of breweries and beers that I would’ve had to put extra effort into getting to otherwise, so I guess you could call this a silver lining. Hopefully testing ramps up, vaccines and treatments emerge, and we can all hoist a pint in person with our favorite breweries and people soon, but until then, appreciate the less-local breweries that will ship you amazing beer, and encourage them to keep doing it.
Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s finishing off a bottle of Japanese whiskey. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.